News:

Sign up for the monthly zoom events by sending a PM with your email address to Hitesh

Main Menu

Pre-euro to euro design continuity

Started by <k>, September 01, 2018, 11:02:27 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

<k>

Here is the final topic in my series about the design of the national sides of the standard circulation euro coins. I wrote a similar topic about the international series of decimal currencies that succeeded the (British or British-related) predecimal pound: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity.

There is a clear difference between the two situations, of course. The predecimal pound currencies were all separate, even though many were tied to the British pound sterling in value, and the new decimal currencies were and are all separate too. In the case of the euro zone, many different separate national currencies were abandoned and replaced with a single international currency. Though the decimal national currencies of the Commonwealth of Nations all had - and have - their own separate national designs, it was not and is not compulsory for a currency union to include different national designs. After all, the East Caribbean States has a single set of obverse and reverse designs to serve several countries and territories. However, the euro has one side of its coins devoted to national designs, and that side is known as "the national side",  whilst the other side, known as "the common side", has a common (non-national and "euro zone-wide") design for each tier of coins. By tier I mean: 1] 1, 2, 5 cents - red coins; 2] 10, 20 50 cents - yellow coins; 3] 1 and 2 euro - bimetallic coins.

In terms of national design, then, the euro has only one side to play with, while the coins of the non-euro currencies have two sides to play with. Admittedly, a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II appears on the obverse of the coins of several Commonwealth countries and territories, but that is a special case, and even then there are differences between the portraits and the obverse legends.





The common side of the standard circulation euro coins.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

#1
As I already mentioned, the euro zone countries have only one side of the coins where they can display their national designs, and that is known as the national side.

In terms of design, these countries fall into two groups. One group kept some of their old designs where possible and transferred them to the decimal coins. The other group kept at least some of the same design themes, though in a different form, on their decimal coins. Perhaps there is a third group that mixed these strategies. There may also even be a fourth group - though that is something you will have to help me with - that did not keep any old designs or themes. At this moment, I do not know whether these potential third and fourth groups exist, because I have not investigated the matter.

Then comes another complication: these euro national sides themselves fall into various groups, according to how the designs are spread across the different tiers of denominations. I have examined this issue in another topic: Design structure of the euro sets. I shall briefly explain the different design structure types:

Type 1] Every coin of the set has a common design on the national side. So, there are 8 coins but only one design.

Type 2a] The first two tiers of the set (1 cent to 50 cents, i.e. 6 coins) share a common national design, while the 1 and 2 euro coins share a separate design. So, there are 8 coins sharing only two national designs.

Type 2b] As Type 2a, except that the 1 and 2 euro coins each have a separate national design, which is not shared with any other coin.

Type 3a] Each tier of coins has a common design on the national side, therefore a maximum of three coins shares a common national design in such sets.

Type 3b] As Type 3a, except that the 1 and 2 euro coins each have a separate national design, which is not shared with any other coin.

Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

So now we are ready to begin our analysis in earnest. Ireland decided that it would have only one design for its national side. It is therefore a Type 1 set, according to my classification. Ireland chose the harp, which appeared on the obverse of its old decimal and predecimal coins after independence from Britain. Presumably, the Irish authorities felt that the old Metcalfe reverse designs, from the old barnyard set, were no longer appropriate. After all, Ireland was no longer an old-fashioned agricultural economy but had become known as "The Celtic Tiger" because of its successful modern economy.

There are some who like Ireland's retention of the harp. Some find it boring. Some like it but think that Ireland should have used some other designs as well, on the national side. What are your thoughts about this, fellow members? Should Ireland have found some fitting new designs, to go with the harp? If so, how many? On how many coins should the harp have appeared: one, two - more? Or maybe you think the harp should not have been included at all?

Now I will open up the discussion, and at the end of the topic, I will compile a simple list, showing which countries retained all old designs; or only some; and which retained old design themes in new form; which used a mixture of the two; and which countries did not use any old designs or old design themes.

You may wish to discuss the eventual design choices that specific euro zone countries made, with regard to the subjects I have mentioned. Did you approve of the design strategies chosen, or would you have amended them slightly, or even changed them completely? Are you able to imagine a whole new set of design subjects for one or more countries, whose designs you regard as unsatisfactory?
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

Here is the list of current euro countries we need to consider. At the end of the topic, I will list the countries that fall into each design continuity category, as described above. Another factor: were any reused designs or themes taken from commemorative pre-euro coins, or did they all come from circulation designs? The Italian Venus looks somehow familiar to me, though not from a pre-euro circulation coin.

Other factors: how important are portraits of monarchs / popes; and the use of coats of arms? They are probably not as relevant as other themes, though you may disagree.




Andorra
Austria
Belgium
Cyprus
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Ireland
Italy
Latvia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malta
Monaco
Netherlands
Portugal
San Marino
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Vatican City
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

Quote from: trdsf on August 27, 2018, 09:45:59 AM
Germany.  Yeesh.  Not only have those designed been done before, they've been done better before.

This is what trdsf said in an earlier topic. Apparently he does not like reuse of designs or design themes. And he comes from a powerful country. I bet he could sell Germany on ebay if he felt like it, and that would be the end of that nation.  :-X

However, Germany reused a couple of themes, but did not reuse any exact themes.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Figleaf

I don't think heads and arms and maps are very relevant for the questions you ask, as they are more or less obligatory. The worst case is Luxembourg, whose law stipulates that the bleeping grand duke must have his face on all coins, even the common commemoratives.

That said, the style of execution of heads and arms and maps ought to count. Abstracted portraits may not be generally approved of, they sure draw attention and make people talk and think. Compare the Belgian with the Dutch heads. Arms can be stylised to get to the most striking symbolism, or some symbol can be made more prominent. Nobody is waiting for yet another heraldic lion/eagle/crown I would hope, but the UK "royal animals" trial series could inspire even a starch-conservative. Why do maps have to be flat? Slant them and make them slightly 3D for a 'view from space effect'.

At least anchor the map with some water effect or neighbouring countries, so it doesn't just float there. Wouldn't you love a map of a Baltic country with all Russian rocket bases around it marked with a rocket aimed at it? >:D

As for the other devices, I would like more and better attempts to create a third dimension and to make a careful observer forget the mathematical roundness of the coin. Easier said than done on a small coin. I know.

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

<k>

So you are arguing for intelligent and innovative adaptation of existing design themes, rather than slavish reproduction. Yes, I'd go for that, even if some results are not to my taste, such as the minimalist portrait of Queen Beatrix. But then, it's in the nature of an experiment that it might fail, and what is failure for one person is success for another - you can't please all the people all the time.

"Wouldn't you love a map of a Baltic country with all Russian rocket bases around it marked with a rocket aimed at it?"

I well remember your use of the phrases "micro-state" and,  ahem, "fly-specks". In the fight between David and Goliath, you'd choose Goliath, every time. I suspect that deep down, you believe that the whole world should be forced to join the EU. Then the rest of the solar system, the Milky Way, the universe, and finally: the multiverse.  >:D  Well, you were born in a small country, which had been briefly conquered by its more powerful and much larger neighbour. Perhaps that knowledge has helped determine your attitudes. But now you have moved to a bigger country.  :)
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

So, let's go through the list of countries, in alphabetical order. You may join in at any point, especially if it is your country.

Andorra used French and Spanish currency, prior to joining the euro. Therefore we must look to its pre-euro and non-euro collector issues for design precedents. The chamois and the eagle were present. I shall leave the architecture to others, as I am not acquainted with it.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

Here is a reminder of the design found on the first tier of the Andorran euro coins. A very strong design, and in the post above you can also see the thematic precedents on those old collector coins.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

On to Austria now. I see no precedent for this design. I'm very suspicious of that lady, though. That's the way vampires dress. Disgraceful! Here you see actress Martita Hunt, in the British film "Brides of Dracula" (1960).
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

Austria now, and the edelweiss. Yes, we all remember that song from "The Sound of Music":

Edelweiss,
It's quite nice!
May we have some
For dinner?


Sing, everybody! What - I got the words wrong?  :-[
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>


Austria.




Here is the full Austrian set. Can anybody else spot any design precedents? If so, they surely come from commemorative designs?

The national sides include the denominations. They are already to be seen on the common side. I believe that Austria has been asked to remove them from the national side.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Figleaf

Quote from: <k> on September 02, 2018, 11:53:41 AM
On to Austria now. I see no precedent for this design. I'm very suspicious of that lady, though. That's the way vampires dress. Disgraceful! Here you see actress Martita Hunt, in the British film "Brides of Dracula" (1960).

No, that's the way women in the time of Bram Stoker's novel dressed. Dracula was published only seven years before Bertha von Suttner got her Nobel prize. The prostitutes Jack the Ripper murdered may have worn similar clothes, but that need not worry Ms. Hunt either. ;)

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

chrisild

Quote from: <k> on September 02, 2018, 02:00:32 PM
Here is the full Austrian set. Can anybody else spot any design precedents? If so, they surely come from commemorative designs?

The two people come from the earlier paper money. Here is Mozart on the 5000 Schilling note issued/used in the 1990s. And here we have Bertha von Suttner on a 1000 Schilling note from the 70s and early 80s.

(Side note: Germany commemorated the nobel prize for Bertha von Suttner with this collector coin. A better portrait? Well, the portrait of a younger BvS. ;) )

QuoteThe national sides include the denominations. They are already to be seen on the common side. I believe that Austria has been asked to remove them from the national side.

When these coins were first made and issued, they complied with European law. That was modified later, so the Austrians (and their German neighbors) will have to change the designs - either when they issue newly designed circulation coins anyway, or within the next 43 years. :) That 20 June 2062 deadline is based on the average lifetime of a coin, I think.

Christian

<k>

Quote from: Figleaf on September 02, 2018, 02:28:55 PM
No, that's the way women in the time of Bram Stoker's novel dressed. Dracula was published only seven years before Bertha von Suttner got her Nobel prize. The prostitutes Jack the Ripper murdered may have worn similar clothes, but that need not worry Ms. Hunt either. ;)

Peter

Wow, you do seem to know this era well. I'm beginning to wonder if you're older than you look.  :-\
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.