South African Mint Wins 2017 Dated ‘Best Contemporary Event’ COTY
The South African Mint won the “Best Contemporary Event Coin” category for the 2017 Heart Transplant (KM-619) 2 Rand coin. The coin marks the 50th anniversary of the first successful human-to-human heart transplant. It was performed on December 3, 1967, by a team of approximately 30 surgeons led by Dr Christiaan Neethling Barnard in the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town.
The surgery began around 1 am and was completed when the 25-year-old female donor heart was electrically shocked into action some six hours later in the 53-year-old male recipient’s body. The recipient was Louis Washkansky who lived for 18 days, at which time he succumbed to pneumonia because of his weakened immune system.
The award-winning coin, dated 2017, is part of the South African Inventions coin series. It was designed by the South African Mint’s Richard Stone, along with renowned artist Carl Jeppe of the Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria. The heart transplant coin was engraved by Paul Botes of the South African Mint.
The reverse of the R2 crown depicts a human torso, including the intricate details of the skeleton, epidermis, veins and organs. A large circle indicates the position of the heart. The denomination, the words “First heart transplant,” and the year “1967” are also included on the reverse.
The obverse features the coat of arms of the Republic of South Africa. It is centered on the coin, with the year of issue (2017) on either side. Surrounding the coat of arms is the name of South Africa in the 11 official languages of the country. The design was created by Arthur Sutherland, who served as the former Master Engraver of the Mint and retired in 2002.
The coin is available for purchase via the South African Mint.