Author Topic: Discarded designs from New Zealand's 1933 coinage  (Read 8343 times)

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Offline <k>

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Discarded designs from New Zealand's 1933 coinage
« on: April 12, 2011, 01:25:42 AM »
Prior to 1933, New Zealand used British and Australian coins, but at the end of 1933 the country issued its first official coinage. The designs on the reverse of the coins were created by the British numismatic artist George Kruger-Gray. However, not all of these were the original designs he had put forward; he had also had to compete with his fellow artist and colleague at the Royal Mint, Percy Metcalfe, twelve years his junior, who had produced designs in a very different style.

The design process was presided over by the Royal Mint Advisory Committee (RMAC), who suggested suitable amendments to the designs. RMAC took advice from the New Zealand government but was quite proactive in finding design subjects for the coins. Eventually, Gordon Coates, the combative New Zealand Minister of Finance, intervened in the design process to insist on subjects that he regarded as more suitable.

The New Zealand halfpenny and penny, designed by L C Mitchell, were not released until 1940, so I do not include those denominations in this topic.

Offline <k>

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Re: Discarded designs from New Zealand's 1933 coinage
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2011, 01:25:59 AM »
The images in this topic are scans of photos from the National Archives, England, that can be found in Dr Mark Stocker’s booklet, “The Numismatic Birth of the Dominion: The 1933 New Zealand Coinage Designs”. They are the copyright of the Royal Numismatic Society of New Zealand.

Offline <k>

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Re: Discarded designs from New Zealand's 1933 coinage
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2011, 01:28:11 AM »
The image below shows Metcalfe’s designs for the threepence.

Dr Stocker: The three vertical motifs can be read as miniature pilasters and they share the same essential qualities of the monumental “Stripped Classical” architecture of the interwar period. Metcalfe cleverly exploited the graphic possibilities of the numerals and capitals, and surely found satisfaction at how the “N” becomes a “Z” when rotated through 90 degrees.

The Royal Mint Advisory Committee (RMAC) rejected it but liked his Maori tiki, and originally proposed that Kruger-Gray should produce a modified version of his design.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 08:18:43 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Discarded designs from New Zealand's 1933 coinage
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2011, 01:29:16 AM »
In his designs for the sixpence, Metcalfe plays with both the numeral and the literal “SIX”. His hammers on the first design were “possibly a variant on the ‘mining hammers in saltire’ of the New Zealand shield quartering”. RMAC predictably rejected that design on the basis of its presumed communist associations.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 08:19:07 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Discarded designs from New Zealand's 1933 coinage
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2011, 01:30:20 AM »
Metcalfe’s Maori shilling shows a godstick superimposed over a ceremonial hafted adze, which unfortunately divides the shilling inscription. His kiwi, “a boldly Art Deco creation, is more clockwork toy than secretive nocturnal flightless bird. For years afterwards, it simply appeared outlandish. Today it looks remarkably timeless, stylish and funky.”  Both designs were, however, rejected without comment by RMAC.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 08:19:40 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Discarded designs from New Zealand's 1933 coinage
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2011, 01:31:20 AM »
Moving now to the florin designs, you can see Metcalfe’s on the left and Kruger-Gray’s on the right. RMAC preferred Metcalfe’s lymphads (galleys) to Kruger-Gray’s overcrowded design of a lion with Maori-inspired spiral motifs.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 08:20:24 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Discarded designs from New Zealand's 1933 coinage
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2011, 01:33:56 AM »
Because throughout the design process RMAC generally preferred Kruger-Gray’s designs, and because they wanted the eventual set to be created by a single designer, on the minority of occasions where they preferred Metcalfe’s design, they would then invite Kruger-Gray to produce a modified version in his own style.

Below you can see Kruger-Gray’s version of the lymphads, first on a two shillings coin, and, below that, alongside his eventually accepted half crown design, on a florin – the same face value of course, just a different way of expressing it.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 08:21:13 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Discarded designs from New Zealand's 1933 coinage
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2011, 01:34:47 AM »
To backtrack a little, let’s have a look now at Kruger-Gray’s other designs for the threepence, sixpence and shilling: his Maori tiki, adapted from Metcalfe’s version; a pair of ferns; and a kiwi. Though RMAC and the New Zealand representatives approved of the kiwi at the time, others who saw it later compared the feather to fish scales and the bird itself to a pine cone.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 08:22:08 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Discarded designs from New Zealand's 1933 coinage
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2011, 01:37:05 AM »
As for the half crown designs, you can see that Metcalfe’s was a starker treatment of the coat of arms, whereas Kruger-Gray successfully combined his with Maori ornamentation. As in the majority of cases, RMAC preferred Kruger-Gray’s design. You will notice that the word “Zealand” was interrupted by the cross on top of the crown, so the legend had to be rearranged for the final design.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 08:22:41 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Discarded designs from New Zealand's 1933 coinage
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2011, 01:38:58 AM »
Gordon Coates, the combative New Zealand Minister of Finance, had intervened to insist that the Maori tiki be removed from the threepence, as it was a Maori fertility symbol that represented a foetus. If the tiki looks familiar, that is because the New Zealand halfpenny, released in 1940, depicts a tiki. Kruger-Gray’s sixpence shows the heads of two crossed taiaha (Maori weapons), while his alternative threepence depicts a kotiake (short-handled club) and crossed tewhatewha (long-handled clubs). RMAC objected that the taiaha were too long to be properly represented on the coin and advised him to create a new design based on the fern frond.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 08:23:05 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Discarded designs from New Zealand's 1933 coinage
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2011, 01:40:46 AM »
Eventually New Zealand Minister of Finance Gordon Coates asserted himself again and decided that he wanted a pair of Maori mere (a type of club) on the threepence instead. Below is Kruger-Gray’s initial draft. For the finished design, however, he ornamented the mere and turned them the other way about.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 08:23:54 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Discarded designs from New Zealand's 1933 coinage
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2011, 01:41:56 AM »
Eventually Kruger-Gray was required by the New Zealanders to make significant amendments to his kiwi design, so that it appeared more realistic. For this he was provided with a book of New Zealand birds. He eventually chose a different species of kiwi, from the North Island, for his design.  Below you can see one of his original sketches (left), and (right) the initial sketch of the design that eventually graced the issued florin.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 08:24:15 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Discarded designs from New Zealand's 1933 coinage
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2011, 01:43:54 AM »


In the eventual issued designs, you see that the ships have disappeared from the florin. Coates had objected that they “did not suggest ships of the type used by Captain Cook, much less those used by early colonists.” He insisted that the kiwi be moved to the florin; that the shilling should portray a Maori warrior; and that the sixpence should portray a huia bird.












 
 
« Last Edit: December 02, 2017, 08:54:11 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Discarded designs from New Zealand's 1933 coinage
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2011, 01:45:14 AM »
Dr Stocker’s story of the designs is a far more involved one than I can do justice to in this topic, but his detailed booklet guides you through it in an entertaining and informative manner, and I can highly recommend it. The A5-sized booklet contains 36 pages and is printed on glossy paper. If you would like to order a copy at a modest price, please send a private message to our forum member translateltd.



Related links:

1] Percy Metcalfe, Coin Designer.

2] George Kruger-Gray, Coin Designer of the British Empire.

« Last Edit: April 20, 2011, 11:47:23 AM by coffeetime »

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Discarded designs from New Zealand's 1933 coinage
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2011, 02:00:32 AM »
Amazingly good stuff, coffeetime. Thanks.

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