Two silver coin from the South African Mint commemorate the 50th
anniversary of the world’s first heart transplant in 1967. The pair of
Proof .925 fine silver coins help visualize the complex nature of the
operation, with a 2.5-cent tickey coin, depicting a good heart,
fitting on top of a 2-rand coin depicting a heart that needs replacement.
South African Mint designer Richard Stone cooperated with artist
Carl Jeppe to design the coin, which was engraved by Paul Botes of the
South African Mint.
The reverse of the 2.5-cent tickey depicts a healthy heart with the
healthy aorta coming out of the top, blood vessels and textured heart
wall. The frosting of the relief of the healthy heart is light and
white to indicate the heart’s good health. The Proof finish on the
mirrored background focuses attention on the healthy heart. Also on
this side are the face value, metal fineness, and the initials CNB of
the chief surgeon from 1967, Dr. Christian Neethling Barnard.
Gold coin resistance at U.S. Mint and a
deceptive but detectable counterfeit Indian Head cent:
Another column in the June 12 Coin World details the discovery of
what seemed to be a rare 1917 French Indo-China 10-cent piece.
The reverse of the larger 2-rand coin depicts the skeleton,
epidermis, veins and organs of the torso of a human body in detail,
including those connecting the heart and the liver, and even the puffy
pillowlike tubing of the large and small intestines.
Also visible are the texture of the outer wall of its diseased heart
including fat deposits, dying muscle and an area of blocked blood
flow, noted in the central area where the frosted and polished surface
appears darker. A prominent circle indicates the position of the heart
and serves as placeholder for the small tickey coin in the imagined
cavity of the human chest.
The anniversary date of the procedure (Dec. 3, 1967) appears on the
reverse, with inscriptions denoting the face value and FIRST HEART
The obverse of the 2.5-cent tickey has the standard
depiction of the king protea, South Africa’s national flower, as
designed by Kruger Gray.
The obverse of the 2-rand coin, designed by Arthur Sutherland, bears
the standard coat of arms of the Republic of South Africa with the
name of South Africa in the eleven official languages of the country,
(both Ndebele and Zulu languages have the same spelling).
The 2.5-cent tickey contains 1.3 grams of pure silver and the 2-rand
coin contains a full ounce of pure silver (the coins’ total weights
are heavier because the fineness of each is .925 fine).
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The coins may be purchased separately or as a pair housed in a
hand-crafted wooden box made of walnut with a glossy, piano finish
varnish. In total, 1,000 coins of each denomination are available for
individual sales. A maximum of 700 sets are available.
The coins are available through two American distributors American
Precious Metals Exchange, www.apmex.com, and GovMint.com.