Author Topic: Icelandic marine series, 1981 to date  (Read 11276 times)

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Offline <k>

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Icelandic marine series, 1981 to date
« on: March 12, 2012, 01:09:41 AM »
Although it is - or was - a relatively prosperous country, in the 1970s Iceland suffered from very high inflation: never lower than 30% per annum and at one point reaching almost 160%. As a result, the Icelandic krona was revalued in 1981, with 100 old kronur being worth 1 new krona.

Iceland took the opportunity of the revaluation to release a new design series in 1981, consisting of 5, 10 and 50 aurar, plus 1 krona and 5 kronur coins. Previously the coinage had carried the coat of arms as a common obverse. Now however, each of the four ancient mythological spirits, which were said to have guarded over the four quarters of Iceland, was portrayed individually on an obverse of its own. The four spirits were depicted together only on the obverse of the highest denomination of the set. This meant that Iceland became one of the few countries whose circulation coins carried a different design on each obverse and reverse. See also: Circulation sets where each obverse and reverse design is different.

The reverse designs portrayed marine wildlife. This was the first time that Iceland's modern circulation coinage carried thematic designs. Tuvalu had also released a set of circulation coins in 1976 that depicted marine wildlife, though its waters were of course far warmer than Iceland's. Tuvalu has since reverted to using Australian coinage. The British Virgin Islands released a one-off "circulation-like" set in 1985, also featuring marine life, but this was for collectors only and did not circulate, since the BVI use the US dollar. Various other territories, including Danzig and Singapore, have had circulation sets which included some marine life designs, but Iceland is now the only country where each denomination carries such a design.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2013, 06:07:29 PM by <k> »
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Offline <k>

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Re: Icelandic marine series, 1981 to date
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2012, 01:10:15 AM »


The lowest denomination of the series, the 5 aurar, depicts a common skate on the reverse, while Iceland's ancient mythological eagle spirit graces the obverse.

 
« Last Edit: July 02, 2017, 08:22:03 PM by <k> »
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Re: Icelandic marine series, 1981 to date
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2012, 01:10:55 AM »


The 10 aurar portrays the ancient Icelandic guardian spirit of the bull on the obverse, whilst a flying squid adorns the reverse.

 
« Last Edit: July 02, 2017, 08:54:07 PM by <k> »
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Re: Icelandic marine series, 1981 to date
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2012, 01:12:13 AM »


The 50 aurar depicts a deep-sea prawn on the reverse, whilst Iceland's ancient mythological dragon spirit graces the obverse.

 
« Last Edit: July 02, 2017, 08:52:22 PM by <k> »
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Re: Icelandic marine series, 1981 to date
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2012, 01:12:41 AM »
A cod appears on the reverse of the 1 krona coin, whilst Iceland's guardian spirit, the giant, graces the obverse.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2017, 08:26:14 PM by <k> »
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Re: Icelandic marine series, 1981 to date
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2012, 01:13:02 AM »






Two dolphins are featured on the reverse of the 5 kronur coin, while all the four national guardian spirits now appear together on the obverse.

 
« Last Edit: July 02, 2017, 08:32:10 PM by <k> »
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Re: Icelandic marine series, 1981 to date
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2012, 01:13:29 AM »








In 1984, due to Iceland's continuing high inflation, a 10 kronur coin was put into circulation. The reverse depicts a shoal of capelin fish (Mallotus villosus). From this point onwards, all new additions to Iceland's circulation coinage showed all the guardian spirits on the obverse.
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Re: Icelandic marine series, 1981 to date
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2012, 01:13:58 AM »






In 1987 Iceland issued a new denomination, the nickel-brass 50 kronur coin, which depicts a shore crab on the obverse. It has an edge thickness of 2.6 mm and is quite a chunky coin.

 
« Last Edit: July 02, 2017, 09:00:52 PM by <k> »
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Re: Icelandic marine series, 1981 to date
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2012, 01:14:35 AM »






Iceland's highest current denomination of coin, the 100 kronur, was issued in 1995. It is another thick nickel-brass coin, which portrays a lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus) on the obverse.

 
« Last Edit: July 02, 2017, 08:23:58 PM by <k> »
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Re: Icelandic marine series, 1981 to date
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2012, 01:19:34 AM »
The 5, 10 and 50 aurar coins have long since been demonetised, and the 1 krona coin is now the lowest denomination in circulation. The euro is currently worth around 166 kronur.

As a result of its recent financial crisis, the focus is now on Iceland's currency. Recent opinion polls suggest that around 70% of Icelanders would like to ditch the krona for a stronger currency, with the majority of them favouring the Canadian dollar. The current series of Icelandic coins sports some superbly attractive designs, and I think it would be a pity to see it disappear.
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Re: Icelandic marine series, 1981 to date
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2012, 01:25:44 AM »
The Cayman Islands 5 cents coin depicts a prawn, so Iceland is not the only country to have issued such a design. I believe the skate appears on no other coins, but the flounder on the old Danzig 5 Pfennig of 1932 looks somewhat similar.

The Icelandic squid design is probably unique as a subject for a coin. The cod design on the 1 krona coin reminds me of the Irish ten pence design, but that coin depicted a salmon, not a cod. Prior to Iceland, Danzig had also portrayed a cod on its 10 Pfennig coin of 1932.
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Re: Icelandic marine series, 1981 to date
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2012, 02:17:56 AM »
Here is an off-metal strike of the 1 krona coin of 1984. A Royal Mint misbirth, presumably.
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Re: Icelandic marine series, 1981 to date
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2012, 06:29:34 PM »
Interestingly, the Icelanders do not have a coin denomination with a "2" - there is no 20 or 25 aurar coin, and no 2 kronur coin. Iceland had previously issued a 2 kronur coin until 1966 and a 25 aurar coin until 1967.

Denmark, who formerly ruled Iceland, had a 25 øre coin and currently has a 2 kroner coin. Of the other Scandinavian countries, Norway had a 25 øre coin but currently has no 2 kroner coin. Sweden had a 25 öre coin and is due to reintroduce a 2 kronor coin this year. The lowest subunit denomination in any Scandinavian country is now the 50 øre/öre coin in Denmark and Norway; the 1 krona coin is the lowest denomination now circulating in Sweden and Iceland.
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Re: Icelandic marine series, 1981 to date
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2012, 07:15:14 PM »
The designer of the obverses and reverses of the Icelandic marine series was the Icelander, Throstur Magnusson.

The reverse designs are interesting, in that they all seem to convey a sense of motion, or else, in the case of the lumpfish, the crab and the shoal of capelin, they capture that brief moment of stillness before the creatures move off again.

I was checking, and apparently skates and rays are related, so the stingray on the Tuvalu 2 cents coin and the skate on the 5 aurar coin are cousins. The tail of the skate has been made to curl along the curve of the coin: an artful touch; if the tail had been straight, the skate would have been more or less symmetrical, and symmetrical designs look static and not particularly lifelike. The numeral "5" fits nicely within the space of the skate's back - unless of course it was branded into the creature's skin, to make it easier for the artist to draw.





 
« Last Edit: June 11, 2019, 11:28:11 AM by <k> »
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Re: Icelandic marine series, 1981 to date
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2012, 07:19:14 PM »
Here you see the prawn on the Cayman Islands 5 cents alongside the Icelandic prawn on the 50 aurar. The two styles of design are very different, but both are highly sophisticated and individual, and both convey a strong sense of movement, fitting the circle of the coin perfectly.

« Last Edit: June 04, 2019, 03:35:50 PM by <k> »
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