Author Topic: Communist themes on coins  (Read 12051 times)

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Galapagos

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Communist themes on coins
« on: May 03, 2009, 12:22:58 AM »
See also:

1] Communist emblems on coins

2] Communists on coins



After the Mozambique 1980s socialist set, I regard this Romanian set as the world's second best thematic set of socialist designs.

The coins below are:-

1956. 50 bani.  Worker at anvil. Factory in background.
1966. 25 bani.  Tractor.
 

Despite the fact that capitalists and communists were enemies, both believe(d) industry to be the key to prosperity. As Lenin once said, "Electricity plus the Soviets (councils) = Communism!"

Certainly the East European communists didn't seem to mind how dirty and polluting their industry was. Agriculture is represented here by the tractor. In the West we had pin-up girls - in the East they had tractors! In practice, Stalinist and neo-Stalinist communists of Eastern Europe favoured industry above agriculture. As we know, Stalin himself initiated a famine in the 1930s among the Ukrainian and Russian peasants who failed to fall into line with his wishes. Ceaucescu of Romania adopted a "cult of personality" that was closely modelled after Stalinism, yet so naked was his love of power for its own sake that he was despised by the other leaders of the Warsaw Pact.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2019, 03:46:05 PM by <k> »

Galapagos

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Re: Communist themes on coins
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2009, 12:24:18 AM »


The Romanian coins are:-

1966. 1  leu.  Tractor against landscape with rising sun.  (Image above).
1966. 3  lei.   Chemical factory.
1978. 5  lei.   Stylised representation of industry and agriculture.

Tractors again! And a nice dirty old factory so that the workers could die of all sorts of horrible diseases. That's how much the communists cared for them. Of course, the Romanians got even by shooting President Ceaucescu and his wife Elena on Xmas day, 1989. Ah, 1989 - what a year, with communist regimes collapsing all over Europe.

Despicable regime, but a reasonably interesting and attractive coin set. Not all communists favour industry, of course. In China and IndoChina, the focus was on agriculture and the peasants. You have to walk before you can run, of course. Usually the industrial revolution will take off eventually, as we have certainly seen in China.

Pol Pot of Cambodia, or Kampuchea, as it was known, is described as a communist, yet he strikes me as being a radical green. He drove everyone out of the cities and onto the land in an effort to destroy capitalism and create Year Zero. He abolished money itself (how green and/or anarchist is that?!), so, for better or worse, we have no socialist set of designs to look at from that era.

« Last Edit: March 10, 2019, 12:23:16 PM by <k> »

Galapagos

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Re: Communist themes on coins
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2009, 01:32:51 AM »
I'm no fan of far-left politics, but I regard this as the best designed socialist set ever issued. The set has a rather raw but powerful style. I've not seen another set like it. It was minted  in the German Democratic Republic, a.k.a. East Germany.

These are circulation coins, but to what extent they circulated, as opposed to notes, I don't know.

The tank is my favourite design of this set. I've not seen another like it on a coin. How many tanks have been depicted on circulation coins? Perhaps this is the only one - nobody has yet shown me another. And how many transport designs are as original in style as this?



 
« Last Edit: April 02, 2018, 05:09:42 PM by <k> »

Offline chrisild

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Re: Communist themes on coins
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2009, 12:10:35 PM »
How, umm, appealing. :)  That tank is, according to my source of wisdom (Schön), a "BTR-60 PB" - something like the image below.

By the way, the GDR itself had a tank (and aircraft and some ship) on a commem in 1981. Right, not a circulation coin, but its mintage was significantly higher than that of the pieces that were made for collectors who would pay hard currency ...

Christian
« Last Edit: March 29, 2011, 02:26:03 PM by coffeetime »

Offline chrisild

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Re: Communist themes on coins
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2009, 12:32:02 PM »
Will try and leave politics out, but some of those "socialist coins" are nicer than what Romania uses these days.
http://www.bnro.ro/Coins-and-notes-in-circulation-1331.aspx

As for the older pieces, there are two interesting aspects, I think. First, that 15 bani coin used between the early 1960s and early 80s. Fifteen? (They also had a 25 bani coin but not a 50 bani.) Another thing is the name of the country: First it was "Republica Populara Romana", Romanian People's Republic. Then, in 1955, that was changed to "Republica Populara Romina" under Soviet/Russian influence. Ten years later, it became "Republica Socialista Romania", ie. the country name was no longer an adjective ...

Christian

translateltd

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Re: Communist themes on coins
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2009, 12:34:52 PM »
I've long been a fan of Romania's post-war (and pre-1989) coinage, though I was never quite able to pin down why.  Interesting that they really do appeal to others too!


Galapagos

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Re: Communist themes on coins
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2009, 03:45:26 PM »
Will try and leave politics out, but some of those "socialist coins" are nicer than what Romania uses these days.

Christian
I've long been a fan of Romania's post-war (and pre-1989) coinage, though I was never quite able to pin down why.  Interesting that they really do appeal to others too!

Martin

Agreed that Romania's current set is very bland and boring.

Romania's 1992 to 2002 coins are very varied and spirited in design:-

1992. 10   lei.  "22 Decembrie, 1989".  Flag, olive branch.
1993. 20   lei.  Stefan Cel Mare.
1991. 50   lei.  Alexandru Ioan Cuza.
1992. 100  lei.  Mihai Viteazul.
1999. 500  lei.  Coat of arms.
2000. 1000 lei.  Constantin Brancoveanu, 1688-1714.
2002. 5000 lei.  Coat of arms.

« Last Edit: May 03, 2009, 03:48:13 PM by Meridian Viridian »

Offline chrisild

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Re: Communist themes on coins
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2009, 03:54:09 PM »
"Republica Populara Romana" - "Republica Populara Romina" - can you explain the difference here, Christian?

Barely, sorry. Both are adjectives, but all I know is that "Romana" was originally used while "Romina" was the result of a spelling reform under the Russian influence. Here is some info http://ro.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ortografia_limbii_romāne#1953 but in Romanian only. (Heck, easier to read for me than Hungarian. ;D )

Christian

Offline chrisild

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Re: Communist themes on coins
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2009, 07:15:19 PM »
Enforcing the use of Cyrillic in Romania may have been a little too much. The Soviet Union actually did that in Bessarabia when they occupied the area and merged it with Moldova, but then that was part of the USSR. Interestingly, today Romania and Moldova use Latin characters while Transnistria uses Cyrillic. Oh well, Transnistria also has a CoA with a hammer, a sickle and a star. ;)

Christian

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Communist themes on coins
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2009, 12:28:40 AM »
Looks like a match and that makes it an armoured personnel carrier (APC), not a tank (KM description of panzer tank is a mini-study in nonsense). There are plenty of tanks on second world war commemoratives, mostly British and Commonwealth issues, but also a few Liberians, plus a handful of Russian pieces and Christian's GDR piece (none circulating), but I haven't found any other armoured personnel carriers.

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

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Communist themes on coins
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2009, 01:18:43 AM »
Denominations of 3, 15, 30 etc. make some sense from a mathematical pont of view. If your purpose is to use the optimal number of coins in transactions (taking cost into account), a 1-2-5 series is optimal (multiply by 10, 100, 1000 etc. to obtain other denominations). Examples of perfect 1-2-5 series are France before the introduction of the euro and the euro (no coincidence, I think).

If you want to minimize the number of coins for each individual transactions without regard to cost, you will need a 1-1.5-2-3-5 series. However, you will soon find that the 1.5-3 denominations are not much used, because they are the least needed to complete a whole gamut of transactions.

Bulgaria was liberated from the Turkish empire by the Russians, but even before, it was much oriented towards Russia. Bulgarian is not too far removed from Russian. Romania saw Russia as a constant threat and sought allies elsewhere, notably France. In theory, French and Romanian are closely connected.

Stalin saw agriculture as backward and promoted mechanization (tractors!) and collectivization (Sovkhozy and Kolkhozy), but he saw giant heavy industry as the pillar of political and economic development. Russian coins always show the hammer (industry) and sickle (agriculture). Mao preferred agriculture and small scale heavy industry. Consequently, Chinese regular coins don't have the hammer and sickle motif, but use the military red star. That was one of the points on which the two collided. The difference just reflected the state of the Russian and Chinese economy, but neither dictator had the flexibility to see the other's point of view, all the more since communism was thought of as one world movement, not different from country to country. In view of this difference, I tend of think of Pol Pot as a radical Maoist (shudder), while Ceausescu looks more like a somewhat moderate Stalinist to me.

The reliance on heavy industry was in my opinion one of the decisive mistakes of communism: it makes for fast, extensive growth in the first years at the cost of gross waste of resources, but it drags down growth in later years, when the economy must turn from extensive to intensive growth. Small scale heavy industry is at least as disastrous as large scale intensive agriculture.

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

translateltd

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Re: Communist themes on coins
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2009, 01:54:34 AM »
Barely, sorry. Both are adjectives, but all I know is that "Romana" was originally used while "Romina" was the result of a spelling reform under the Russian influence. Here is some info http://ro.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ortografia_limbii_romāne#1953 but in Romanian only. (Heck, easier to read for me than Hungarian. ;D )


I'm tickled by the result of the "re-reform" in 1964 that led to the first two volumes of the "Encyclopaedic dictionary" using the Romīn spelling on the spine and the last two volumes the Romān spelling!


Offline Harald

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Re: Communist themes on coins
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2009, 06:16:38 PM »
The spellings "Romāna" and "Romīna" are the result of two orthography reforms in 1953 and 1965. In Romanian the two letters "ā" and "ī" are (apparently) phonetically identical. So in 1953 the orthography was simplified in favor of "ī" everywhere. In 1965 the reform was partly reverted such that the only country name and all derivatives were changed back to the old form (my guess: due to lack of acceptance, a problem which is faced by any spelling reform). [reference: Compendium of the World's Languages]

The myth that this spelling reform was enforced by the Soviets is probably a remainder of cold war propaganda. What would have been the political benefit of simplifying the Romanian spelling, anyway...

BTW, until the mid 19th century Romanian was indeed written with the Cyrillic alphabet until the modern country was formed. The parts which remained Russian (today's Moldova) did not change. During Soviet times Latin script was introduced, but the two scripts continued to be concurrent.


cheers
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Harald
http://www.liganda.ch (monetary history & numismatic linguistics)

Galapagos

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Re: Communist themes on coins
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2009, 07:51:21 PM »
Here is the only 1980s Mozambique "socialist" design that I don't possess. It looks attractive enough (yes, soldiers are really friendly, aren't they?), but I don't know which mint produced it - probably a different one from that which produced the circulation(?) set that I posted prior to this.



 
« Last Edit: April 02, 2018, 05:08:42 PM by <k> »

Offline chrisild

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Re: Communist themes on coins
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2009, 11:16:36 PM »
Nope, also minted in the GDR according to Schön. The 1994 and 2006 sets were minted in the UK though ...

Christian