Author Topic: UK Royal Animals: Rejected Designs of 1936  (Read 4219 times)

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Galapagos

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UK Royal Animals: Rejected Designs of 1936
« on: May 17, 2009, 03:33:23 PM »
In 1936 King Edward VIII ascended the throne. He asked the Royal Mint to come up with some modern designs for the reverse of his coinage. Harold Wilson-Parker (no relation to the Labour Prime Minister of the 1960s and 1970s, Harold Wilson) developed some designs that came to be known as the Royal Animals set.

Here you see the dove that he designed for the half crown. The Royal Mint thought that the dove was not strictly a Royal bird and might be objected to as a pacifist symbol!

Next you can see the eagle that Mr Wilson-Parker designed for the reverse of the crown. The Royal Mint thought that an eagle was undesirable, as it was already associated on the one hand with the United States, and on the other hand with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

Then there follows Mr Wilson-Parker's stag design, intended for the two shillings.

Next is his swan design, intended for the sixpence. The Royal Mint criticised the design as looking more like a goose.

Second to last, you can see Mr Wilson-Parker's wren design, originally intended for the threepence. Finally, we have the sturgeon, the only fish of the series.

The King was shown the full set of Royal Animal designs and found them very pleasing. However, he was apprehensive about how such a complete departure from tradition would be received by the British public, so after some hesitation he came down in favour of the heraldic designs by George Kruger-Gray that were eventually adopted.

Originally the intention was that the halfpenny and farthing should carry a portrait of Britannia. Ultimately, however, it was decided to rescue Mr Wilson-Parker's wren for use on the farthing, whilst the ship design by Humphrey Paget, based on Sir Francis Drake's Golden Hind and originally intended for the half crown, now appeared on the halfpenny. So we ended up with a mixture of modernity and heraldry - not a satisfactory outcome, in my opinion.

I have scanned these designs from an essay that appeared in the Royal Mint's year book of 1972.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2017, 10:47:01 AM by <k> »

Galapagos

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Re: UK Royal Animals: Rejected Designs of 1936
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2009, 04:06:49 PM »
In 2004 the Royal Mint produced some of the rejected designs and incorporated them as part of some special ornaments. I considered buying these ornaments and then smashing them, in order to extract the replicas, but I decided that this plan might not be too successful! In fact, I am told that the designs were simply replicated in china or plaster, like the rest of the ornament, and were not made of metal.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2017, 09:48:12 PM by <k> »

Offline Figleaf

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Re: UK Royal Animals: Rejected Designs of 1936
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2009, 08:43:01 PM »
Wilson-Parker's big problem was stick-in-the-mud conservatism. I am sure the king, the prime minister and the chancellor of the exchequer underestimated the capacity of the British public to accept slightly different looking coins. In fact, those who didn't know already have learned from the euro coins that the public is hardly aware of the design on its coins.

People look at colour and size before they decide to accept a coin in change and seldom go beyond that. The cases of new coins that failed I remember, are all about the new coins having the wrong colour and/or size, not the design. Cases in point are the Susan Anthony dollar, that was found too close to the US quarter and the French white metal 10 francs piece that resembled the 50 centimes too much in the public's eye.

Kruger Gray's competing designs were boring. Even more so because his one innovation, the interlocking St. Edward's rings on the threepence and sixpence, was dropped after Edward VIII's abdication.

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

Galapagos

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Re: UK Royal Animals: Rejected Designs of 1936
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2009, 09:11:29 PM »
Kruger Gray's UK designs certainly were boring, and in the 1960s I only had eyes for the ship ha'penny, and those demonetised wren farthings I could get my hands on. Nevertheless, KG did produce some stirring designs for Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Southern Rhodesia and New Guinea. Of his Mauritius designs, the only one of note is his red deer on the half rupee.

Offline <k>

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Re: UK Royal Animals: Rejected Designs of 1936
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2016, 02:10:32 PM »


Plaster for the shilling, by Harold Wilson-Parker, made during the review of the coinage during the reign of Edward VIII. Image copyright: Royal Mint Museum. The design was not adopted.

Offline Alan71

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Re: UK Royal Animals: Rejected Designs of 1936
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2016, 09:18:20 PM »
Perhaps a few too many birds and I'm not keen on fish being used as designs for coins, but I like the idea of having animals on coins.  Even 70 years after this, the Royal Mint still went with a very boring jigsaw heraldic design for coins, so sadly the conservatism that Figleaf mentioned is still there.