The Mint of Finland has produced two special edition coins to celebrate Helsinki as the World Design Capital® (WDC) 2012. One is minted as a gold and silver version with a value of €50 and the second a base-metal version with a value of €5. These collectibles were launched on 3 February 2012 at the World Money Fair in Berlin (Germany) and have been well received by the numismatic community, already being named the most technically advanced coin at the 2012 Mint Directors Conference in Vienna (Austria).

Icsid spent a few minutes with the Mint of Finland to find out more about the commemorative coin and what World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 means to them.

1. What is the concept behind the design?

The name of the design is “Inspiration”. Henna Lamberg, the industrial designer who has also worked for famed Finnish design companies such as Arabia and Iittala, said that she wanted to capture the predominant mood that occurs when being inspired. Lamberg wanted to create a coin that was stylish, three-dimensional and included a sculptural element. The coin is made more interesting by the fact that it is not just different because of the way it looks, but also the way it feels.

2. What makes this commemorative coin different for other collectors’ items?

What makes the WDC coin special is its wavelike design in the center of the coin. The deeper segments of the wave pattern mirror each other on both sides, like the trough of the wave dipping away from the rest of the coin. Another technical challenge in manufacturing the coin was related to the gold-coloured centre of the coin. It isn’t situated at the centre, but rather towards the edge resulting in a coin design that is less traditional and more modern.

3. This coin was named the most technically advanced coin at the 2012 Mint Directors Conference in Vienna (Austria) in May. What makes it deserving of this award?

The €5 WDC coin was manufactured in the same manner as all circulation coins, meaning, in series, using the Schuler marking machine. The €50 silver and gold pieces were manufactured as proof-quality coins, one at a time. Each blank is checked superficially before the marking process and then checked again after the each has been marked. The coins go through a final verification stage before they are packaged.

4. What were the materials used in the production of this coin?

The €5 coin is made from Nordic gold (CuAl5Zn5Sn1). It contains copper 89%, aluminum 5%, zinc 5% and tin 1%.

5. What does Helsinki being named World Design Capital 2012 mean to the Mint of Finland?

“The award is a fine recognition for us, because technical know-how is important in the operations of the Mint of Finland,” notes Paul Gustafsson, the CEO of the Mint of Finland. “Seamless co-operation between the designer and tool manufacturer is highly important when it comes to designs wherein the artist has a strong vision regarding his or her work. In this money, we can see the fruits of those investments that have been made for this process.”

Gustafsson concluded by stating, “the coin was a wonderful start for the year. A design coin expresses the need for practical comfort ‒ they bring together a touch of luxury with a portion of Nordic practicality, augmenting Finnish quality of life.

For more information please contact:
Henna Karjalainen
Communications Director
Mint of Finland
t: + 358 50 575 9197


About the Mint of Finland
Mint of Finland Ltd. is the leading mint in the Eurozone. It is the sole owner of the German Saxonia EuroCoin GmbH, and holds a 50 percent share in the Norwegian Det Norske Myntverket. Mint of Finland is dedicated to designing, marketing and minting coins. Mint of Finland is owned by the Republic of Finland. Mint of Finland produces metallic currency, commemorative and collector coins, as well as coin sets. In 2012, Mint of Finland will issue six new collector coins, two commemorative coins and seven coin series. To see how coins are produced, visit the ‘About a Coin’ exhibition at Heureka, the Finnish Science Centre. For further information about the 2012 events, go to:


About World Design Capital® (WDC)
While there are many awards that recognise individual accomplishments in design, the World Design Capital designation is unique as it aims to focus on the broader essence of design’s impact on urban spaces, economies and citizens. The designation provides a distinctive opportunity for cities to feature their accomplishments in attracting and promoting innovative design, as well as highlight their successes in urban revitalisation strategies.

The World Design Capital is an initiative established and managed by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design. Past cities to hold the title include Torino (Italy) in 2008 and Seoul (South Korea) in 2010. The City of Helsinki (Finland) is currently implementing its programme for 2012 under the theme of Open Helsinki: Embedding Design in Life, whilst preparations for Cape Town (South Africa) are underway for 2014.

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