Zambia: Kwacha sketches of 1983

Started by <k>, October 14, 2012, 05:27:25 PM

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<k>

Zambia memo.jpg


In February 1983 the Royal Mint asked one of its artists, Robert Elderton, to prepare some sketches for a proposed one kwacha coin for Zambia. Mr Elderton was asked to show alternatives for round and seven-sided coins. The equilateral curved heptagon, to give the seven-sided shape its official technical name, was first developed by the Royal Mint in the late 1960s, for use as a decimal 50 pence coin. The heptagon subsequently became rather fashionable in the 1970s and early 1980s, and several countries adopted heptagonal coins, which were usually produced and supplied by the Royal Mint.
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<k>

#1
Zambia Zambesi sketch.jpg

Sketch 1: This looks like the Victoria Falls on the Zambesi river.
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<k>

#2
Zambia sketch.jpg

Sketch 2.  This looks like a greater kudu.

Alternatively, it could be a giant eland.

No description was given of the subjects of the sketches.





Greater kudu.





Giant eland.
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<k>

#3
Zambia cheetah sketch-.jpg

Sketch 3: Cheetah.
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<k>

#4
Zambia cheetah sketch.jpg

Sketch 4: Cheetah, this time shown on a heptagonal coin.
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<k>

#5
Zambia zebra sketch.jpg

Sketch 5: Zebra - heptagonal coin.
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<k>

#6
Zambia CoA sketch.jpg

Sketch 6: Zambian coat of arms - heptagonal coin.
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<k>

#7




Nothing seems to have come of this initiative.

Zambia did not issue a circulation 1 kwacha coin until 1989.

It featured two fish eagles.


When I asked the Royal Mint who designed this coin, I received the reply:

It has unfortunately been difficult to locate the relevant details for the Zambia one kwacha coin.

However, the Mint kindly sent me the earlier sketches that you see illustrated in this topic.
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<k>

#8



Interestingly, a Malawi 50 tambala coin issued in 2004 is heptagonal and shows zebras.


This coin was apparently designed on a computer and engraved by David Cornell.

However, I do not know who designed it.


Robert Elderton left the Royal Mint to become a freelancer in 1999.

It is therefore unlikely, though not impossible, that it is his design.
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<k>

#9
How well would such designs have fitted into the Zambian circulation set series of 1983?

Here is a list of the reverse designs:

1   ngwee.   Aardvark.
2   ngwee.   Martial eagle.
5   ngwee.   Morning glory flower.
10 ngwee.   Trumpeter hornbill.
20 ngwee.   Bohor reedbuck.
50 ngwee.   Corn cob.

The obverse design portray President Kaunda.


The idea of Victoria Falls as a theme is worthy, but the subject matter and its over-detailed execution make it unsuitable for the set as it then was. The kudu (or eland) is a very fine design, and I like it best of all. However, because there was already a reedbuck on the 20 ngwee, I would go for the cheetah to add more variety to the set. There were no cheetahs on any world circulation coins at the time, another good reason for choosing it.

What about the zebra? I like the way the large numeral "1" fits nicely beneath its chin, but the zebra itself seems too static and docile. Usually zebras are shown in movement on coins. At the time, only Botswana and Tanzania had zebras on their circulation coins, though they have since been joined by Eritrea and Malawi. So I wouldn't choose the zebra. The cheetah design wins, for me, then. And I'd go for the heptagonal format. Being British, I am well used to this format and have always liked it.
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<k>

#10
Out of interest, here are the cheetahs that have appeared on circulations coins.





Mozambique, cheetah, 2006.





Mozambique, cheetah, 1994.

 
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<k>

#11


The head of a greater kudu appears on the South African 2 rand coin.





Giant elands feature on many coins of the Central and West African states.
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<k>

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Figleaf

What surprises me in your fine study is that Mr. Elderton got an explicit assignment to produce a design with  a fish eagle and proposed all kinds of other designs instead. The reaction of an artist, maybe, but the hierarchy had its reason and it was clearly stated in the memo. Elderton had no business second guessing his bosses.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

<k>

Yes, I did wonder what had happened to the fish eagles. Maybe the sketches got lost. Anyway, they ended up on the issued coin, years later. Maybe one day I will discover whether Mr Elderton produced that design too, but the style doesn't resemble any of his other work.
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See: The Royal Mint Museum.