The Japan Mint announces the winners of its International Design Competition for 2016

For the past few years, the Japan Mint has been hosting an International Coin Design Competition in which designers, both current and budding, are encouraged to enter their coin designs to win an award. There are two categories, a general one and a student one. The general category is by far the toughest as one of the primary requirements is that the entrant can produce a plaster sculpt of their design. Obviously, the ability to do this is far more niche than being able to draw, so it tends to attract existing designers as well as experienced artists. The entries for the 2016 competition highlight this point with just 91 works from 22 countries in the tougher category and 202 works from 6 countries in the student one.

The general category and the winner of the biggest prize is a Chinese national called Zhong Chengxin and it’s a beautiful piece of work, one we’d like to see issued with some subtle high relief. Called Lost Home, it’s an interesting mix of nature and geometrical shapes rarely seen in numismatics. The prize of 500,000 yen, a plaque, and a medal featuring the winning design is heading their way. Two Indian and two European designs round out the five winners, with Prasad Subhash Talekar’s Khajuraho the Temple of Love picking the runner-up spot prize of 200,000 yen, a plaque, and a medal featuring their design. The other three, including Austrian Mint regular Mag. Helmut Andexlinger, all take home 100,000 Yen. Interestingly, Andexlinger co-designed a Magic Flute coin for the Austrian Mint so perhaps this one was one not chosen for that.

The student category, open only to those born on or after 31 August 1986, had well over double the entries but from only six countries, many we would suspect from Japan itself. The top prize, which the Japan Mint calls the Future Designer award, went to a Japanese student with an unusual design that would perhaps have a difficult transition to a physical coin. The reverse is actually quite reminiscent of the Helvetic Mint series, Swiss Wildlife which is antique finished and high relief. Natsumi Nakaminato wins 50,000 Yen and a plaque. All three of the runners-up have great potential, the Rodin coin we think would make a superb finished article. Each of the three also gets 50,000 Yen.

Designs were accepted between the start of June and the end of August (two weeks later for the students), so budding designers might want to watch out for the 2017 competition. Initial designs will be on a sheet of A4 paper and be for a coin of 30mm diameter. Interesting and impressive stuff.


DESIGNER: Zhong Chengxin (CHINA)

TITLE: Lost Home


DESIGNER: Prasad Subhash Talekar (INDIA)

TITLE: Khajuraho the temple of love


DESIGNER: Atish Prabhakar Manchekar (INDIA)

TITLE: Indian Classical Dance

DESIGNER: Helmut Andexlinger (AUSTRIA)

TITLE: The Magic Flute

DESIGNER: Daniela Fusco (ITALY)

TITLE: The String of Fantasy


DESIGNER: Natsumi Nakaminato (JAPAN)

TITLE: Arrival


DESIGNER: Mária Poldaufová (SLOVAKIA)

TITLE: Auguste Rodin

DESIGNER: Cristina De Giorgi (ITALY)

TITLE: Memorial Coin for 150th Birth Anniversary of Vassily Kandinsky

DESIGNER: Kuts Maryna Vasylivna (UKRAINE)

TITLE: Alice in Wonderland