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France 2009: A coin does not have to be flat

Started by chrisild, October 05, 2009, 12:19:22 PM

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When it comes to collector coins, many "practical" considerations can be left aside. Coins that we use in everyday life are usually round, flat and made from some metal or alloy that is not too expensive. But a piece that collectors will pay more than face value for, and that will not be used in circulation, can be different. You may remember the "Ultime Franc", designed by Philippe Starck and issued in 2001, which had a "wave" shape. This year, the French mint made another piece that is not flat.

To commemorate the International Year of Astronomy 2009, and the 40th anniversary of the first Moon Landing, the Monnaie de Paris issued several coins with basically the same design. However, the €10 silver piece is what the mint calls a "domed" coin, with the moon relief on a convex reverse. Yes, another gimmick, and one that costs roughly 40 to 50 euro. But at least the theme is interesting (many countries have issued coins on either occasion or both), the design (plus the shape) is attractive, I think. Here are some photos that jore2665, a French collector, made:

Just for the record: The other silver coin (€50) has a "flat" shape as far as I know, and so does the €50 gold piece. These cost between 350 and 400 euro. And then there is a €200 gold coin, with that convex reverse again, and the stars on a blue background. Will cost you about 1,500 euro.



The convex reverse is an interesting idea but rather Pobjoyish. No mint, treasury or finance ministry would dream of putting a coin of that shape into circulation. This has gone beyond the boundaries of what it is to be a coin, and has entered territory usually reserved for the art medal.

In 1965, the Royal Mint produced a commemorative crown of Churchill for the UK. The design was considered a failure by many, and still is. Martin (translateltd) posted a very spirited defence of that coin, but its problem was that the sculpting was overly detailed for a coin, and the legend occupied too little space on the design and was in the wrong format for a coin. As a medal, it would have looked fine and would probably not have attracted the criticism that it did.

Despite this, mints will still want to come up with similar gimmicks for their collector coins. Personally, I will stick to coins with traditional formats and specifications.


Right, it is somewhat gimmicky. Problem is, if we posted news about each and every collector coin that is issued in the euro area, this would become a full but also dull forum very quickly. Full because there are so many pieces - let's compare catalogs for a brief moment here. The Schön catalog that lists and usually depicts the coins from Germany (1871-) and Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland (roughly same period of time) has 635 pages. His euro coin catalog now has 657 pages. ::)

And dull because most of these issues are produced for, and purchased by, collectors. Hardly any of them can be found in everyday life, and many are even issued with mintages in the four digit range (or less). That is why I pick very few pieces and "present" them here - issues that I find interesting or peculiar for some reason. Other members may find other pieces noteworthy. When it comes to euro circulation coins and commemorative €2 coins, we try to list all new issues and interesting bits of information. Not in this collector coins (sub-)forum though ...

Oh, and I agree with Martin as far as the Churchill Crown is concerned. :)



Quote from: chrisild on October 05, 2009, 02:54:34 PM
That is why I pick very few pieces and "present" them here - issues that I find interesting or peculiar for some reason. Other members may find other pieces noteworthy.

I am in no way criticising your choice of the coins that you present to the forum, Christian. Some members will like them, some will not. I was merely explaining why, for me, this coin does not work. Others may disagree with my verdict that it looks more like an art medal than a coin, but it would be interesting to hear their views. And of course, not all innovations work, but it is still interesting to see the results when mints do innovate - whether I like those results or not. And I can still admire the mints in question for the fact that they do innovate, whether or not I like the results.


Good discussion!

If they would have left off the denomination and year I would have considered this a good medal. Too bad they had to waste the design on a pseudo coin.

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

BC Numismatics

This is more like the sort of thing that the Franklin Mint would do.



The moon coin looks concave rather than convex to me, or is it a trick of the light/photography?


No, it's rather that obverse-reverse trick. :)  The side that shows the moon, and the footprint, has a convex shape. The other side, with the stars, is concave. Or, as the mint puts it, "la première pièce bombée représentant le relief lunaire sur son revers convexe" ...