Steve Bishop submitted this article about the medals of Kauko Räsänen and Heikki Haivaoja. Thanks! -Editor
I brought several Finnish Medals to the Nummis Nova dinner April 12, 2016. I got interested in these medals after Jon Radel brought some
the previous month. He regrets that now, because now I compete with him for them on eBay.
Three were by Kauko Räsänen, probably the most well-known Finnish medalist. He won the American Numismatic Society’s J.
Sanford Saltus Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Art of the Medal in 1986, and had a comprehensive retrospective exhibition at the
State Coin Collection in Munich in 2010. The exhibition resulted in a comprehensive catalog of Rasanen’s work in 2011, Kauko
Räsänen: Neue Wege in der Medaillenkunst (Kauko Räsänen: New Directions in Medallic Art).
The earliest Räsänen medal I have is one issued to the Finnish forestry products company Kymmene Aktiebolag in 1972. It
depicts a gold mining pan with logs as the gold nuggets, symbolizing the financial significance of forest products in Finland.
1972 Kymmene Aktiebolag Centennial Medal by Kauko Räsänen
Another medal by Räsänen was issued in 1981 to honor the Polish Solidarity leader who served as President of Poland from 1990
1981 Lech Walesa Medal by Kauko Räsänen
Finally, I had a two-part nesting medal issued for the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment. Räsänen became known for
these multi-part medals, and produced some with three separate pieces all nesting snugly together.
Two Part 1972 UN Environmental Conference Medal by Kauko Räsänen
Two other Finnish medals were by Heikki Haivaoja, who also designed some coins issued by Finland. The first was issued in 1967 to honor
the 50th anniversary of Finnish independence.
1967 Finland 50th Anniversary Medal by Heikki Haivaoja
The other medal by Haivaoja was issued to honor Rafael Paasio, the Finnish politician. Paasio served as the prime minister of Finland
twice, from 1966-1968 and in 1972, and was also twice the Speaker of the Parliament. This medal is especially thick and heavy, and shows
how a medal can really be an impressive piece of high-relief miniature sculpture.
High-Relief Rafael Paasio Medal by Heikki Haivaoja
The last Finnish medal was designed by Toivo Jaatinen and was issued in 1982 for the 35th anniversary of the oil company Neste. It too
is very thick and high-relief.
1982 Neste Oil Corporation 35th Anniversary Medal by Toivo Jaatinen
... and one great non-Finnish medal. -Editor
The final medal was an addition to my large collection of medals issued to honor Charles Lindbergh. Minted by the Paris Mint in 1977, it
was designed by P. Peltier. I especially like how the reverse design depicts the curvature of the earth.
1977 Charles Lindbergh Medal by Peltier
These are all excellent medals. Thanks for sharing! -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
WAYNE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY: MARCH 13, 2016
Wayne Homren, Editor
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