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Results of the public competition for the design of a €10 silver collector coin featuring the World Natural Heritage – Caves of Slovak Karst

First prize (the design selected for the coin)
Mária Poldaufová

First prize (the design selected for the coin) First prize (the design selected for the coin)

Second prize
Pavel Károly

Second prize Second prize

Third prize
Michal Gavula

Third prize Third prize

In January 2016 Národná banka Slovenska announced a public competition for the design of a €10 silver collector coin featuring the World Natural Heritage – Caves of Slovak Karst. The coin was to introduce another of the Slovak sites inscribed in the World Heritage List. A total of seventeen designs by the same number of designers were entered in the competition. In April 2016 they were evaluated anonymously by the Committee for the Assessment of Commemorative and Collector Coin Designs, which was assisted in this task by an expert adviser Jana Durkošová, from the Slovak Ministry of Environment, and Ľudovít Gaál and Peter Gažík from the State Nature Conservancy Council of the Slovak Republic – Slovak Caves Administration.

A design by Branislav Ronai was awarded first prize and, on the Committee’s recommendation, the NBS Bank Board approved it for the coin. The Committee praised the outstanding artistry and content of the design and appreciated the balanced composition of the obverse and reverse sides with the deliberate vertical orientation of the motif. The obverse depicts various types of stalagmites from Domica Cave, straw stalactites from Gombasecká Cave and below, to the right, an aragonite formation from Ochtinská Aragonite Cave. The three caves are typical representatives of this world heritage site. The designer artfully employs the metaphor of a church (a Gothic pointed arch) to emphasise the value and mightiness of this natural heritage, which also contributes to our cultural heritage. The reverse side is dominated by one of the largest dripstone formations in Europe, which is situated in Krásnohorská Cave. Below are rare species of animals from the caves (springtail, niphargus and bat).

Second prize was awarded to Kliment Mitura. The expert advisers assessed his design as the most complex and the best reflection of the natural heritage value of the site. On the other hand, its artistic rendition does not match the quality of the winning design. An extraordinary aragonite formation and the most typical pseudoscorpion endemic to the Slovak Karst (Neobisium slovacum) are shown on the obverse. On the reverse side in the left part of the coin field is silhouetted a profile of a speleologist with a dripstone from Krásnohorská Cave. In the upper right part is a Neolithic vessel – a symbol of Domica Cave, and below it, there are straw stalactites from Gombasecká Cave.

Third prize went to Peter Valach. The Committee commended the link between the embossed motif and the coin’s lettering, which unite the overall composition of the design on the both sides of the coin, as well as a link between nature and the archaeological traces of mankind. Valach, as the only designer, depicts Neolithic drawings from Domica Cave, on the right of the coin obverse. Below the main motif of the cave is a bronze-age skull, which was formerly used as a cult mask. The reverse is dominated by typical fauna of the site: a bat and a Duvalius hungaricus – an endemic beetle of the Slovak Karst.

Additional prizes were awarded to Michal Gavula and Roman Lugár in recognition of the high quality of their designs.