Author Topic: George Kruger-Gray, Coin Designer of the British Empire  (Read 6632 times)

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George Kruger-Gray, Coin Designer of the British Empire
« on: February 21, 2011, 09:36:27 PM »



George Edward Kruger was born in 1880, in St. Helier, the capital of Jersey, one of the Channel Islands. When he was five years old he and his family moved to Liverpool in England. As a young man he studied at the Royal College of Art, London. During the First World War he served as a soldier, and in 1918 he married Audrey Gray, adding her surname to his own.

Kruger-Gray provided many of the mostly heraldic reverse designs that appeared on British coinage between 1927 and 1952, but in this topic I want to concentrate on his designs for the Dominions and other realms of the British Empire.
 
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Re: George Kruger-Gray, Coin Designer of the British Empire
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2011, 09:38:37 PM »
As a “preferred contractor” of the Royal Mint, London, Kruger-Gray designed the reverses for the first coinage of the Union of South Africa, which was released in 1923. The farthing depicts sparrows, while both the halfpenny and the penny show a ship. The 3d and 6d coins originally carried a simple design, but this was changed in 1925 to depict a protea, the national flower.  The Allegory of Hope appears on the shilling. The state coat of arms is shown on the florin, with a crowned coat of arms on the half crown.









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Re: George Kruger-Gray, Coin Designer of the British Empire
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2011, 09:39:55 PM »
In 1929 he designed a penny and halfpenny for New Guinea, and in 1935 he added a threepence, sixpence and shilling to the set.












 
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Re: George Kruger-Gray, Coin Designer of the British Empire
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2011, 09:42:54 PM »


Obverse of the Southern Rhodesian coinage: Percy Metcalfe's crowned effigy of George VI/





Three pence.  Spear tips.





Six pence.  Crossed axes.





One shilling.  The Zimbabwe soapstone bird.





Two shillings.  The sable antelope.





Half crown.  Crowned coat of arms.



In 1932 he designed the reverses of Southern Rhodesia’s new coinage. The threepence showed three spear tips, crossed axes appeared on the sixpence, while the famous Zimbabwe soapstone bird graced the shilling. A magnificent design of a sable antelope appeared on the two shilling coin, while the half crown carried the coat of arms. (A penny and halfpenny, both showing a crowned rose, were added to the set in 1934, but those designs were by Derwent Wood).

 
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Re: George Kruger-Gray, Coin Designer of the British Empire
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2011, 09:48:33 PM »
In 1933 he designed the reverses of the first New Zealand coinage. The threepence showed Maori war clubs and the sixpence a huia bird, while a Maori warrior was portrayed on the shilling. The florin, meanwhile, depicted a kiwi, and the national coat of arms appeared on the half crown. A penny and halfpenny, designed by L C Mitchell and not Kruger-Gray, were not added to the set until 1940.
















 
 
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Re: George Kruger-Gray, Coin Designer of the British Empire
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2011, 09:50:53 PM »








In 1934 he provided the reverse designs for the new quarter rupee, half rupee and one rupee coins of Mauritius. These were added to its existing set of one, two and five cents, which had not been designed by Kruger-Gray.  A red deer appeared on the half rupee and the coat of arms on the rupee, while the quarter rupee depicted royal emblems.

A new five cents design, by Kruger-Gray but closely modelled on the prior design, was issued in 1942. New one and two cents designs, using a similar design to that of the five cents ,were issued in 1943, while in 1947 a ten cents coin was issued for the first time. These were all designed by Kruger-Gray, but they are very simple designs, modelled on what went before. It is a pity that Kruger-Gray did not provide some more interesting designs, but perhaps he was only following the requirements of the Royal Mint.



N.B. Several of these original designs still appear on the coins of Mauritius to this day. Talks were held in the early 1970s about possible alternative designs for Mauritius, but unfortunately these were never adopted. To see which exotic species were considered for these designs, click on the link below:

Mauritius: 1970s proposal for new circulation coin designs
 
 
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Re: George Kruger-Gray, Coin Designer of the British Empire
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2011, 09:54:58 PM »
In the mid-1930s, Canada decided to update its coinage, and Kruger-Gray, along with Canadian artist Emmanuel Hahn, was invited to provide the designs. Kruger-Gray was responsible for the maple leaf design on the reverse of the one cent, the beaver design on the five cents coin, and the coat of arms on the fifty cents. The new designs were issued in 1937. His designs still circulate on Canadian coins to this day.






 
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Re: George Kruger-Gray, Coin Designer of the British Empire
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2011, 09:58:33 PM »


Douglas Annand.



In 1938 it was Australia’s turn to issue coinage with newly created designs. The halfpenny (unlike the other coins, not issued until 1939) depicts a leaping red kangaroo, facing right; the penny shows the same design, but facing left. I find it disappointing that the same design was used on two different coins in this way. The threepence carries a rather simple design of three wheat stalks. Disappointingly, the sixpence retains the coat of arms design that first appeared in 1911. Fortunately, the superb prize ram depicted on the shilling makes up for this. The original design of the ram was modelled on a champion Merino at the annual Sydney Sheep Show in 1932. The florin shows an updated version of the coat of arms, which is surprisingly said to have been depicted with errors, which were not corrected until the coat of arms appeared on the 50 cents coin of 1966. No Australian half crown was ever issued.

Most of these designs can be seen to bear Kruger-Gray’s initials (KG).  But now for the shocker: I quote from a document that can be found online at:

http://www.australianstamp.com/coin-web/aust/cwealth.htm

“Fresh evidence, which only came to light in October, 1982, indicates that Gray only improved on the designs. The evidence comes from a 1937 newspaper report which quoted the Commonwealth treasurer, Mr Casey, as saying 'The originals [of the reverse design] were the work of Mr Douglas S. Annand of Sydney. They have been redrawn and adapted to facilitate die-making for coinage purposes by Mr Kruger-Gray, who does the bulk of coin designing for the Royal Mint'.

It is Gray's initials which appear on the coins and, for this reason, he is quoted in this catalogue as the designer. As it is, Gray would probably not want to be associated with the reverse design of the florin as it contains a number of major flaws.”









 
 
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Re: George Kruger-Gray, Coin Designer of the British Empire
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2011, 09:59:40 PM »




In 1939, Seychelles released the first pieces of its own circulating coinage: the 10 cents, 25 cents, ½ rupee and one rupee coins, all bearing a similar design. In 1948, the cent, 2 cents and 5 cents pieces were issued, again with very similar designs, though different from those of the earlier coins . The reverses of all these coins were designed by Kruger-Gray. Surprisingly, for such exotic islands, the designs are very plain; it was not until 1976, when the Seychelles became an independent republic, that it acquired a set of exotic and interesting designs. 
 
 
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Re: George Kruger-Gray, Coin Designer of the British Empire
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2011, 09:59:58 PM »
George Edward Kruger-Gray was created a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by George VI in 1938. He died of pneumonia in 1943.

See also Discarded designs from New Zealand's first independent coinage of 1933, which includes some interesting designs by Mr Kruger-Gray.
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Re: George Kruger-Gray, Coin Designer of the British Empire
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2011, 12:22:44 AM »
Good stuff, coffeetime. For the sake of completeness, KG als designed coins for Cyprus (1928 4½ piastres, 1938–1940 9 piastres, 18 piastres, 1947–1949 florin), Jersey (1927–1952 1/12th shilling, 1/24th shilling) and South Africa (pre-decimal series 1923–1960, 1961–1941 decimal ½, 2½, 5, 10, and 25 cents.) The gazelle that first appeared on Kruger-Gray's 5 shillings 1947 was re-used for a large number of coins and even ended up on the Kruger rand bullion pieces, that therefore can be said to have a Kruger on both sides. :)

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

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Re: George Kruger-Gray, Coin Designer of the British Empire
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2011, 12:33:16 AM »
The gazelle that first appeared on Kruger-Gray's 5 shillings 1947 was re-used for a large number of coins and even ended up on the Kruger rand bullion pieces, that therefore can be said to have a Kruger on both sides. :)

Peter

The South African springbok design is attributed in my sources to the South African artist Coert Steynberg. Kruger-Gray died in 1943, and while it's not impossible that a design of his could have appeared in 1947, I think the style is markedly different from, and in a way less detailed than, anything Kruger-Gray produced. You can also see more background detail, e.g. vegetation, than appeared in K-G's designs.
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Re: George Kruger-Gray, Coin Designer of the British Empire
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2011, 02:21:01 AM »
So far I have neglected Kruger-Gray's British designs. My favourites are his acorn designs, and his English-themed threepence, all three of which appeal to my English heart.












 
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Re: George Kruger-Gray, Coin Designer of the British Empire
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2011, 01:01:35 PM »


Kruger-Gray also designed the reverse of the Australian 1927 florin commemorating the opening of Parliament House. The design features Parliament House framed in an ornamental panel and resting on crossed maces, with the date also in a heavily ornamented panel.

The Federal Parliament transferred from Melbourne to Canberra in May 1927 and was opened in a grand ceremony by the future George VI, known then as the Duke of York and his wife Elizabeth, who was known much later, in the reign of Elizabeth II, as the Queen Mother.

 
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Re: George Kruger-Gray, Coin Designer of the British Empire
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2011, 01:08:45 PM »








Kruger-Gray also designed the reverse of the 1934-5 Australian Centenary Florin. It commemorated the centenary of the first two permanent settlements in Victoria: Portland Bay in 1834 and Melbourne in 1835. The design featured a horse and rider. Horses represented the major mode of transportation throughout the previous 100 years (1834-1935) and were a major contributor to exploration, settlement, cultivation and industry in Victoria. The torch borne by the rider symbolises progress and enlightenment.

 
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