Modern medicine relies heavily on tools for medical diagnosis and imaging methods have proven to be crucial in evaluating the extent of the disease. Launched in 2016, the South African’s Mint’s South African Inventions coin series celebrates yet another such medical innovation by a South African, with its sterling-silver ‘crown and tickey’ collectable coins.
The 2018 coins celebrate the Computed Tomography scan, or CT (CAT) scan, a medical technology developed by South African-born Allan McLeod Cormack.
Whist working at the famous Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University in England, Cormack developed algorithms that used information from x-ray ‘slices’ of a patient’s body to create a tomographic (or 3D) image of the whole body. Today, the CT scan is one of best medical imaging tools used to show a person’s organs, bones and other tissues.
The utility of X-ray imaging and the power of modern computing systems has meant that medical professionals are now able to generate three dimensional images of organs in a non-invasive manner. Used to examine major parts of the body including the abdomen, chest, heart, and head, the CT scan is today the best technology available for diagnosing many cancers, such as liver, lung and pancreatic as well as injuries to the brain. Advancements in tomography allow doctors to confirm the presence and location of a tumour and pin point areas of concern with precision.
The South African Mint’s South African Innovations coins have in the past featured the dolos and the heart transplant. The dolos are large concrete blocks used to break ocean waves at shorelines and were designed by South Africans Eric Merrifield and Aubrey Kruger, in Port Elizabeth. The first successful human-to-human heart transplant was performed by a team led by heart surgeon, Dr. Chris Barnard in Cape Town.
CT scans have become the cornerstone of clinical practice and the technology is regarded as one of the greatest innovations of the 20th century. In the US, healthcare providers performed close to 80 million CAT scans in 2015. Japan and Luxembourg complete the top three countries that perform more CAT scans per 1000 inhabitants than anywhere in the world.*
Cormack’s x-ray algorithm results which were published in the Journal of Applied Physics in 1963 and 1964, caught the eye of Godfrey Hounsfield, an English electrical engineer from EMI Central Research Laboratories and his colleagues who built the first CAT scanner in 1971 practically applying Cormack’s theory. For their independent efforts, Cormack and Hounsfield shared the 1979 Nobel Prize for Medicine.
The South African Mint is delighted to announce the launch of the beautifully designed and minted R2 Crown & 2½ c Tickey coins in sterling silver celebrating the medical breakthrough. The current theme, ‘South African Inventions’, aims to highlight globally relevant inventions and firsts by South Africans.,” says Tumi Tsehlo, MD, South African Mint.
The set contains the R2 crown with the reverse depicting a stylised representation of the human head indicating the area to be scanned, the denomination, the words ‘Computed Tomography’, and the year ‘1956’. The obverse features the coat of arms of South Africa, the year ‘2018’, and the words ‘South Africa’ in all the official languages.
The reverse of the 2½ c tickey shows the different layers and tissue densities that can be distinguished with a CT scan, the denomination, and ‘AMC’ for Allan McLeod Cormack, while the obverse features the words ‘South Africa’, the year ‘2018’ and a King Protea.
The sterling-silver crown and tickey coin series was first issued as a commemorative range in 1997 and has since featured themes ranging from birds of prey and marine life to South Africa’s maritime history and the trains of South Africa.
Only 1000 of the 2018 South African Inventions sterling-silver individual R2 crown coins and 1000 of the single 2½ c sterling-silver Tickey coins will be produced. Only 700 of the 2018 coin sets will be produced and will include the tickey coin and a stunning sterling-silver model of a human brain, packaged in a beautiful piano finish varnish, walnut wood box.
The coins can be purchased from the Mint’s recently renovated retail store in Centurion, as well as Elegance, Melrose Arch. The coins are also available at the True Story stores in OR Tambo International and Cape Town International airports respectively.
For more details on the coins as well as to place an order, visit http://www.samint.co.za/collectable-coins/2017-range/#tab-id-3