Coin images courtesy Mint of Finland
Alvar Aalto was a Finnish architect and designer who is featured on Finland’s 2016 Europa Star 10-euro silver coin.
Aalto was born February 3, 1898 in Kuortane, Finland (then part of the Russian Empire). Aalto studied architecture at the Technical Institute of Helsinki. However, his academic pursuits were temporarily sidelined by the Finnish War of Independence in early 1918, a conflict in which the budding architect fought. Soon after graduating in 1921, he started his architectural practice in Jyväskylä, Finland, and in 1927 moved his office to the Finnish city of Turku, where he worked alongside noted architect Erik Bryggman for six years.
By the end of the 1920s, Aalto would receive commissions for three major buildings that would establish his preeminence in the architectural community, including the Turun Sanomat Building in Turku, a tuberculosis sanatorium in the Finnish town of Paimio, and the Viipuri Municipal Library in Vyborg, Russia.
By the end of the 1930s, Aalto would achieve world fame designing the Finnish pavilions for the World’s Fairs in Paris (1937) and New York City (1939-40). He even made name in furniture design during the decade, establishing the Artek Company with Finnish art collector Maire Gullichsen in 1935.
War and the loss of his devoted architectural partner and wife Aino Marsio marked a low point in Aalto’s life during the 1940s, but his career enjoy a revival in the ’50s and ’60s. His commissions during the period included a diverse array of projects, including Säynätsalo Town Hall in Finland, a high-rise apartment complex in Germany, a church in Italy, and a museum in Iran. Aalto received numerous accolades during his career, including the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture from the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1957 and Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects in 1963; he also served as the president of the Academy of Finland from 1963 through 1968. Aalto was active in architectural design up to his last days. He died in Helsinki, Finland, on May 11, 1976.
The Europa Star 10-euro coin honoring his illustrious life was released 40 years later, in May 2016.
The obverse of the Alvar Aalto 10-euro coin carries the common Europa Star programme symbol as seen on all of the coins in the series of European Union coins. In the center of the coin, within a cameo feature, is Finland’s national Lion crest. The words EUROOPAN AIKAKAUDET EUROPEISKA EPOKER is inscribed along the obverse rim (roughly translated to English, this refers to AGES OF EUROPE MODERN 20TH CENTURY, the theme of Europa Star programme) and under that SUOMI FINLAND (“SUOMI” is the Finnish name for Finland) encircle the top half of the lion device.
An abstract drawing of Alvar Aalto superimposed by a pattern reminiscent of the Savoy Vase, an internationally-popular piece of glassware that Aalto designed, anchors the reverse. 10 EURO sits to the center right of the design in two horizontal lines; ALVAR AALTO 1898-1976 are inscribed along the top half of the reverse rim. Designer Aimo Katajamäki’s name is represented by the monogram “K” on the center left of the coin, under the Finnish Mint’s trademark. While 10,000 proof specimens of the 10-euro Aalto coin were minted, 100 coins were packaged in special glass cases and individually numbered.
|Year Of Issue:||2016|
|Mintage:||10,000; 100 individually numbered in glass cases|
|Alloy:||.925 Fine Silver|
|OBV Designer||Aimo Katajamäki|
|REV Designer||Aimo Katajamäki|
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