The Mint of Finland has issued 2016 collector coins featuring Uno Cygnaeus, father of the Finnish public school system, and the Baltic Herring, the first fish to be highlighted as part of the Mint’s new “Fish of the Baltic Sea” series.
Uno Cygnaeus (1810-1888) was a clergyman and Master of Science who gave his life to the improvement of public schooling, or “folk” schooling, according to a press release. His research and advocacy eventually led to the passing of the Folk School Decree in 1866, an achievement that will have its 150th anniversary this year.
The reverse design features elements associated with Finnish folk schooling, such as the “ABC rooster,” which has been used to teach children to read for generations in Finland.
The obverse features children in a classroom window with the numbers 1,8,6, and 6, which refer to the anniversary of the passing of the Folk School Decree in 1866. Inscribed on this side of the coin are 2016, FINLAND, SUOMI (“Finland”), and 10 EURO.
The folk schooling collector coin was designed by Petri Neuvonen and is available in two versions. The first is a 10-euro piece composed of 10 grams of 50% silver, which has a mintage limited to 10,000 and is available for €38. The second is a 20-euro coin composed of 25.5 grams of 92.5% silver, which has a mintage limit of 5,000 pieces and is available for €61.
Both issues carry a Proof finish; the Mint’s Web site notes that there will be 100 specially-numbered coins randomly mixed in with the larger mintage of each issue.
The Mint’s new “Fish of the Baltic Sea” series has launched with a circulating coin set featuring the Baltic Herring as its theme. This set is available for €29 and includes 1-cent, 2-cents, 5-cents, 10-cents, 1-euro and 2-euro circulation coins, as well as a Baltic Herring mint medal designed by Erkki Vainio. The mintage limit for this item has been set at 10,000 units.
The Baltic Herring is the only saltwater species found in large quantities in the coastal waters of Finland, and is the country’s most important commercial species. The obverse of the medal (it seems the circulation coins have retained previous designs) features several herrings swimming in the Baltic, with the inscriptions SILAKKA (Finnish for “Baltic Herring”), BALTIC HERRING, and the fish’s Latinate species name, CLUPEA HARENGUS MEMBRAS.
The reverse features a 2016 inscription at its center and MINT OF FINLAND and SUOMEN RAHAPAJA (“Mint of Finland”) curving within the field.
More information on these and other releases from the Mint of Finland can be found on the Mint’s Web site.