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Art to line the pockets of museum visitors
05.10.2012 - 14.10.2012


The first two-euro commemorative coin featuring a person will enter circulation in Finland

The Ministry of Finance will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Helene Schjerfbeck by releasing the artist's self portrait, immortalised on a commemorative two-euro coin. The coin, minted in honour of Helene Schjerfbeck, will be released on 5 October 2012, with a mintage of two million pieces.

Ateneum Art Museum and the Mint of Finland will celebrate the final days of Helene Schjerfbeck's 150th anniversary exhibition in memorable style. Those making purchases from the museum's sales points can ask for a commemorative Helene Schjerfbeck two-euro coin as part of their change. This two-euro coin, popular in collector circles, is valid currency and will serve as an enduring memento of a unique exhibition for admirers of Schjerfbeck's art.

You can get your hands on a freshly minted commemorative two-euro when you make a cash purchase at Ateneum's ticket office, café or museum shop. The coins are available as change for cash purchases on the ten final days of the exhibition, from 5 to 14 October 2012, or until the supply runs out. From the date of its release, the commemorative coin will also be available in various collector's versions and as part of coin sets from the Mint of Finland's Online Store and the Rosebud bookshop's outlet in Ateneum.

The design featured on the commemorative coin is one vision from Schjerfbeck's long series of self-portraits, in which the artist depicts her aging self with honesty and emotion. The obverse of the coin is designed by sculptor Erja Tielinen. Commemorative coins are legal tender in all euro-zone countries.

”The commemorative Helene Schjerfbeck coin is a magnificent way to honour the artist's 150th anniversary. I am particularly glad that the first Finnish commemorative coin to feature a person depicts a female Finnish artist”, says Museum Director Maija Tanninen-Mattila of Ateneum.

Art is a trendy subject for coins

The motifs of coins have traditionally featured rulers and images from nature, but artistic subjects have become popular in coin designs, particularly during the last decade. ”Nowadays, you see artists, writers and musicians on coins, both in the euro zone and elsewhere, much more often than in the previous millennium,” says Petri Virolainen, Editor-in-Chief of Numismaatikko magazine.

During her long career, Helene Schjerfbeck progressed from historical subjects towards a modern expression. Her artistic oeuvre is characterised by emotion, humanity and exquisite technical skill.

”Stimulating emotion is, even in the world of coins, the factor that will make a certain coin stand out from the crowd. Among numismatists, for instance, the favourite coins of some are not at all easy on the eye of other coin enthusiasts”, says Virolainen.