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DE €10 "Franz Kafka" 2008


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In mid-2008 a German €10 collector coin will be issued, honoring the 125th birthday of the writer Franz Kafka. (See http://www.coinpeople.com/index.php?showtopic=10131 for the other 2008/2009 themes.)

 

Franz Kafka was born in Prague in 1883. He spent most of his life in the city, grew up in a German-Jewish environment, and wrote in German. Among his most famous works (novels, short stories, etc.) are Das Urteil (The Judgment), Das Schloss (The Castle) and Der Prozess (The Trial). In 1923 Kafka moved to Berlin, but his tuberculosis soon got worse, and a year later he died at a hospital near Vienna. Quite a few of his works were not completed and edited/published after his death.

 

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Design Competition - Overview

http://www.bbr.bund.de/cln_005/nn_21470/DE...FranzKafka.html

Keep in mind that the "eagle side" of every collector coin has to have the country name (Bundesrepublik Deutschland), the federal eagle, the twelve stars of Europe, the face value, and the year and mint mark. That limits a designer's artistic freedom of course ...

 

Winning Design: Frantisek Chochola

The winning design, depicted above, shows Kafka's face "embedded" in quotes from his works. On the left, St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague. This combination of author/portrait, "his" city and his works is what the jury liked most about this design.

http://www.bbr.bund.de/DE/WettbewerbeAussc...rty=default.jpg

 

Second Prize: Erich Ott

This design shows a portrait of Franz Kafka. The jury emphasized the good "balance" of this one; both sides have the core design in the middle third.

http://www.bbr.bund.de/DE/WettbewerbeAussc...rty=default.jpg

 

Third Prize: Heinz Hoyer

Hoyer's theme was not so much the author but what he conveys in many of his works. He shows a tiny Kafka at a desk in the middle of a maze. In this case the jury argued that the design, although formally interesting, cannot be recognized as honoring Kafka.

http://www.bbr.bund.de/DE/WettbewerbeAussc...rty=default.jpg

 

Fourth Prize: Werner Mebert

Mebert combined a portrait of the young man (modeled after a photo taken in 1906 when Kafka became a Doctor of Law) and his signature. According to the jury, that side is well done but does not correspond well with the eagle side.

http://www.bbr.bund.de/DE/WettbewerbeAussc...rty=default.jpg

 

Christian

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I have to admit not liking the winner's version much. Especially the reverse. The third one would be my favorite. Are the procedures with coin competitions similar to architectural ones? Meaning; could it happen that even though Chochola won, somebody else from the competing designers gets to do the job after all?

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Is the eagle sticking it's tongue out? Something meant by it?

Don't think so. :ninja: The tongue is part of the heraldically correct depiction of the Federal Eagle. "Das Bundeswappen zeigt auf goldgelbem Grund den einköpfigen schwarzen Adler, den Kopf nach rechts gewendet, die Flügel offen, aber mit geschlossenem Gefieder, Schnabel, Zunge und Fänge in roter Farbe." http://www.bundestag.de/wissen/srg/adler/index.html

 

So the eagle is, for official purposes, always depicted with a red tongue (and red claws, etc.) The "monochrome" version looks like this: http://www.cidoc.net/logo_bundesadler_neu.gif

 

Now there are eagles on German coins where the tongue is hardly recognizable. In this case the tongue is very visible; also, the eagle leans forward to some extent. Oh well, at least this eagle actually looks like a bird. On some other coins ... ;)

 

Christian

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Are the procedures with coin competitions similar to architectural ones? Meaning; could it happen that even though Chochola won, somebody else from the competing designers gets to do the job after all?

Could happen, yes. With the emphasis on "could". ;) What is somewhat more common is that the jury does not award a first prize but only a second prize. That usually means that this design has to be modified.

 

The other possibility is that the jury awards a first prize but the administration (Bundeskabinett) decides that, for this or that reason, a different design should be picked for the coin. That happened, for example, in 1955 with the Ludwig Wilhelm ("Türkenlouis") 5 DM coin - at the end a modified version of the third prize was minted because the government was not happy with the portrait. Another case was the Brandenburg Gate 10 DM coin in 1991: Hubert Klinkel won the first prize in the design contest, but the Bundeskabinett then picked Erich Ott's design - which had won one of three fourth prizes ...

 

But such cases ("best" design not picked at the end) are very rare, also due to the composition of the juries. There are seven jurors AFAIK from various "interest groups" - artists, collectors ( :ninja: ), and representatives of: Finance Ministery, BBR, secretary of culture, and institutions "related" to the issue.

 

Christian

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I have always liked the variation in the depiction of the Federal eagle on German coins, it varies, from designs I really like to those I despise. At least it is never really the same, even looked boxy on the infamous television 10 DM commemorative.

These coins are called "collector coins" for one very specific reason - they are made for me (OK, and other collectors ;) ), not for general circulation. And from what I have read, most collectors, myself included, are not really happy with the way the eagle is depicted and "varied" from issue to issue.

 

In my opinion, we should do it the way Austria does it on the €10 and €20 coins: use both sides for an occasion specific design. If necessary, put a very small eagle somewhere. The twelve stars can also be left out - while I like them on the circulation and commemorative (€2) coins, it is silly to have those European symbols on coins that are only "good" in the issuing member state. Why not Kafka's portrait on one side, and the cathedral and/or a book on the other side?

 

The eagle on the €10 television coin is actually not that bad (well, in my opinion) since it has the shape of a TV screen. Funny. :ninja: What I find really bad about that piece, however, was the blank screen on the other side ...

 

Christian

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The eagle on the €10 television coin is actually not that bad (well, in my opinion) since it has the shape of a TV screen. Funny. ;) What I find really bad about that piece, however, was the blank screen on the other side ...

 

Christian

 

 

Yeah, really, you would think Claudia Schiffer would have been on the screen. :ninja:

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I like the orientation of the eagle on the 1st place coin, but the design of the 3rd place coin is my favorite. Although when I saw it was a Kafka coin, I was hoping to see a representation of him changing, like in his story 'Metamorphosis'. HA! - Imagine going through your pocket change and finding a big roach on your coin! :ninja: It "Gimme the Giblies" just thinking about it! <shudder>

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As long as the coin does not suddenly turn into a cockroach ... :ninja:

 

The piece will be minted in Karlsruhe (mintmark G) and have the edge inscription "Ein Käfig ging einen Vogel suchen" (A cage went in search of a bird). That Kafka quote is also an allusion to the author's name - the Czech word kavka means jackdaw.

 

Christian

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