World of Coins

Design and designing => Coin design => Topic started by: <k> on October 15, 2017, 07:03:42 PM

Title: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
Post by: <k> on October 15, 2017, 07:03:42 PM
In the 1960s and 1970s, several countries made the transition from pounds, shillings and pence to a decimal currency. These countries included the UK and its Crown Dependencies, Ireland, former Dominions such as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, and former colonies such as Nigeria and the Gambia. Here I am concentrating on those countries who had their own national coinage that was denominated in pounds, shillings and pence but then graduated to their own decimal currency.

In terms of design, these countries fall into two groups. One group kept some of the old predecimal 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.
Title: Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
Post by: <k> on October 15, 2017, 07:10:44 PM
(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=20641.0;attach=62581;image)

UK predecimal penny, 1967.



(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=20641.0;attach=62579;image)

UK 50 pence, 1971.



In the UK, after decimalisation Britannia moved from the lowly penny to the 50 pence. The two designs were by different artists.

When the UK's new design series was introduced in 2008, Britannia disappeared from the 50 pence. In 2015 she was reintroduced, in a new design,  on the 2 pound coin. However, the public appears to  be largely indifferent to the new design, and many claim to be nostalgic for the old designs.
Title: Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
Post by: <k> on October 15, 2017, 07:14:37 PM
(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=16223.0;attach=62620;image)

UK threepence, 1953.



(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=16223.0;attach=62618;image)

UK decimal penny, 1971.



On both the coins above, a crowned portcullis represents the House of Commons.

A decimal penny is the equivalent of 2.4 predecimal pence, so the two coins were actually pretty close in value.
Title: Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
Post by: <k> on October 15, 2017, 07:18:38 PM
(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=13166.0;attach=72227;image)

(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=10347.0;attach=72192;image)

Guernsey's final pre-decimal coin series was issued in 1956.



(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=13166.0;attach=62517;image)

The reverse of Guernsey's first decimal 5 pence coin featured a Guernsey lily.



(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=10347.0;attach=62519;image)

The decimal 10 pence coin featured a Guernsey cow.
Title: Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
Post by: <k> on October 15, 2017, 07:21:25 PM
(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=18887.0;attach=62473;image)

Jersey: 1/12 of one shilling, 1964.



(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=18887.0;attach=62471;image)

Jersey, decimal 5 pence coin, 1968.



Jersey retained its coat of arms on the reverse of all its coins.
Title: Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
Post by: <k> on October 15, 2017, 07:27:43 PM
(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=40458.0;attach=76714;image)

Australian florin.



(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=32540.0;attach=76683;image)

Australian 50 cents, 1966.



(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=32540.0;attach=76682;image)

The 50 cents became 12-sided in 1969, because the Australians had trouble distinguishing it from a 20 cents coin.



In all other respects, the Australian decimal designs were completely different from those of their predecimal coins.

 
Title: Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
Post by: <k> on October 15, 2017, 07:33:51 PM
(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=26954.0;attach=72283;image)

Fiji, shilling, 1941.  Outrigger.



(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=26954.0;attach=44493;image)

Fiji, 50 cents, 1975.  Outrigger.



Fiji's first decimal coins, introduced in 1969, featured traditional implements and were entirely different from the predecimal coins. That was until the introduction of the 50 cents in 1975.
Title: Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
Post by: <k> on October 15, 2017, 07:39:02 PM
(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=12529.0;attach=72950;image)

The Gambia, 6 pence, 1966.



(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=40470.0;attach=76636;image)

The Gambia, 1 butut, 1971.



The case of the Gambia is quite complicated, so I have given it a special topic: Gambia's predecimal to decimal design transition (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,40470.0.html).

Extract:

Where the Gambians could match a predecimal denomination to a corresponding decimal denomination, they did so, and additionally they kept the reverse design. Where the decimal denominations had no predecimal equivalent, the Gambians still gave them a design from the old coinage anyway. For instance, the 6 pence was worth 12½ bututs, yet its yacht design was transferred to the 1 butut coin - that's a vast difference in value.
Title: Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
Post by: <k> on October 15, 2017, 08:02:28 PM
(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=39617.0;attach=89988;image)

Predecimal coinage of Malawi, 1964.

A penny was added in 1967, but it did not include a pictorial design, only country, year and denomination.



(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=39617.0;attach=89989;image)

Decimal coinage of Malawi, 1971.



When Malawi went decimal, the corn cob on the shilling and the elephants on the florin were transferred to the 10 tambala and 20 tambala respectively. This made sense, because a shilling was equal to 10 tambala in value, therefore a florin was equivalent to 20 tambala. Curiously, the cockerel on the six pence was not transferred to its decimal equivalent, the 5 tambala, which was occupied by a  purple heron instead. However, the cockerel ended up on the lowly bronze 1 tambala. Logic would have suggested that the new 1 tambala denomination was given to the new design of the heron, while the cockerel remained on the 5 tambala, but this was not the case.

 
Title: Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
Post by: <k> on October 15, 2017, 08:09:52 PM
(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=23794.0;attach=73382;image)

New Zealand florin.



(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=40504.0;attach=91455;image)

New Zealand 20 cents.



When New Zealand went decimal, the only design theme that survived was the kiwi, though in a different form. In 1990 the kiwi design was dropped from the 20 cents coin, but a different kiwi design was created for the circulation dollar.

See also: Kiwis on coins (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,23794.0.html).

 
Title: Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
Post by: <k> on October 15, 2017, 08:15:41 PM
(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=23412.0;attach=72803;image)

Nigeria, 6 pence, 1959.  Cocoa beans.



(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=23412.0;attach=50354;image)

Nigeria, 5 kobo, 1973.  Cocoa beans.



Nigeria is another fairly complicated case, in which similar themes, but not the same designs, were used.

I have therefore given Nigeria its own topic: Nigeria: predecimal to decimal design continuity (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,40475.0.html).
Title: Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
Post by: <k> on October 15, 2017, 08:31:07 PM
South Africa is a very interesting case. It adopted a decimal coinage shortly after independence. Its first decimal coin series lasted only from 1961 to 1964. The coins were largely based on the predecimal coins, in terms of physical specifications too, which meant that the coins remained large and heavy. The predecimal coins had in turn been based on British predecimal coins, which were also large and heavy. The South African series was replaced in 1965 with a completely new series of smaller and lighter coins.



(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=39634.0;attach=74119;image)

(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=39951.0;attach=75139;image)

The three pence coin featured three faggots, but when the coin was replaced with a decimal coin (2½ cents) of equivalent value, the faggots were removed.



(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=39634.0;attach=74133;image)

(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=39951.0;attach=75140;image)

The silver 5 cents coin replaced the predecimal sixpence. The newer coin logically shows only five faggots instead of six.



(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=39634.0;attach=74136;image)

(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=39951.0;attach=75141;image)

The silver 10 cents coin replaced the predecimal shilling. For some unknown reason, the Pole Star was removed from the design when it was transferred to the 10 cents coin.



The ½ cent retained the reverse design from the farthing (¼ penny), which depicted two sparrows. A half cent was equivalent to 0.6 predecimal pence.

The only new design was the Voortrekker wagon, which appeared on the 1 cent coin. For more details, see First Coinage of the Republic of South Africa (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,39951.0.html) and also Coinage of the Union of South Africa (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,39634.0.html).



See also: South Africa: design continuity (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,40518.0.html).

 
Title: Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
Post by: <k> on October 15, 2017, 08:46:40 PM
(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=39617.0;attach=92176;image)

Zambia's predecimal coins of 1964.

A penny was added in 1966, but it did not include a pictorial design, only country, year and denomination.



(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=39617.0;attach=89938;image)

Zambia's first decimal coinage.



Zambia went decimal on January 16th 1968. The kwacha replaced the pound and was divided into 100 ngwee. The original three predecimal designs were transferred to their corresponding decimal denominations, and the 1 ngwee coin featured an aardvark, while the 2 ngwee coin depicted a martial eagle.

Not a single predecimal design ended up on a decimal coin that was not of an equivalent value. I believe that this is therefore a unique case among the coinages I am highlighting.

 
Title: Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
Post by: <k> on October 15, 2017, 08:58:04 PM
(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=4018.0;attach=73369;image)

Rhodesia, threepence, 1968. 



(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=4018.0;attach=73375;image)

Rhodesia, 2½ cents, 1970.



(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=39617.0;attach=88866;image)

Rhodesia is a curious case. In 1964 the country issued a series of coins that were dually denominated.

The denominations appeared in both predecimal and decimal values. The 3 pence coin issued in 1968 was however not dually denominated, even though it was the equivalent of 2½ cents.

Because of this, I have created a separate topic that also looks at the earlier coinages and later coinages of Rhodesia: Rhodesia: design continuity (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,40482.0.html).

 
Title: Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
Post by: <k> on October 15, 2017, 09:14:49 PM
(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=38593.0;attach=73028;image)

Ireland's 5, 10 and 50 pence coins.



(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=38593.0;attach=69734;image)

Ireland's ½ penny, 1 penny and 2 pence coins.



Ireland was yet another unusual case. The Irish transferred Metcalfe's bull and fish from the shilling and florin to the 5 pence and 10 pence respectively, because they were equivalent in value (1 shilling = 5 pence; 1 florin = 10 pence). Originally, the Irish had wanted to retain most of the old Metcalfe designs, but they decided that they could only do this if the values of the old and new coins (e.g. shilling and five pence) matched. The decimal ½ penny, penny and 2 pence did not match any predecimal coin, therefore the Irish thought mass confusion would ensue, and they chose some new, non-Metcalfe designs instead. This made for a very awkward set, design-wise, in which three of the designs were in an entirely different style from the other three and were also thematically entirely different.

The Irish, meanwhile, had no qualms about moving the woodcock from the lowly farthing to the heptagonal 50 pence (the highest decimal denomination), because the two were very different in size and metal (and also shape), but more importantly the farthing had been defunct for about a decade by the time the 50p was issued.

So, Ireland was yet another case where a design, in this case the woodcock from the farthing, ended up on a decimal coin whose value was not the equivalent of the predecimal coin from which it originated. Like Britannia, the woodcock had migrated from a low value coin to the highest denomination.

See also:

1] Ireland's hybrid decimal design series (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,38593.0.html).

2] The coinage of the Irish Free State (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,26199.0.html).
Title: Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
Post by: <k> on October 15, 2017, 09:45:00 PM
So let's draw some conclusions now.

The countries that kept some or all of the old predecimal designs were:

1] The Gambia

2] Guernsey

3] Ireland

4] Jersey

5] Malawi

6] Rhodesia

7] South Africa

8] Zambia


Of these, Jersey used only a single design in both cases - its coat of arms - so that wasn't difficult.

The Gambia was the only country that reused all its old predecimal designs and did not add any new designs.

Malawi and Zambia reused all their old designs (non-pictorial pennies apart). Note, however, that Malawi reversed its cockerel design.

Rhodesia (predecimal: 1964/8; decimal: 1970s) reused all its old predecimal designs, but these were already dually denominated (apart from the 1968 3 pence), so maybe this is not a clear cut case.

Guernsey, Ireland and South Africa reused some of their old designs. 

Some countries moved a design to a denomination that was not equivalent in value to the predecimal denomination with the same design: Ireland (farthing to 50p); The Gambia (three designs);  Malawi (sixpence to 1 tambala); and South Africa (farthing to ½ cent). Have I missed any?



The following countries reused design themes but not the same designs. Examples: Australia; Fiji; the UK (portcullis; Britannia); New Zealand; and Nigeria.

Do you have anything to add?
Title: Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
Post by: Alan71 on October 16, 2017, 12:10:50 AM
Is Guernsey unique in (eventually) doing both?  For the 1985 re-designs, it retained both the lily and cow as themes but in both cases they were completely new designs and moved to different denominations.  The new design for the cow theme was moved to the 2p, fairly close to where the old design had started on the 3d.  The lily was moved from the Four Doubles (and a different design on the Eight Doubles) to the 5p and a completely new design on the 1985 50p.

The cow has effectively moved from the highest regular Guernsey denomination of the time (3d) to the second lowest of current times (2p).  The lily has moved from the lowest denominations of the time (Four and Eight Doubles) to the highest regularly-seen Guernsey coin denomination.  Not sure if this reflects how important the lily has become to Guernsey’s economy, and the reduction in the cow/milk’s importance, or whether it was just a random choice!
Title: Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
Post by: <k> on October 16, 2017, 12:18:33 AM
Is Guernsey unique in (eventually) doing both? 

I'm not sure. I restricted myself to the first decimal sets, though Rhodesia was a bit of a grey area. It would be an interesting exercise to look at later sets, but also very time-consuming. South Africa, for instance, has had three or four decimal sets. For the Isle of Man, I've lost count, though of course it didn't issue a modern predecimal set.
Title: Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
Post by: <k> on October 16, 2017, 12:21:53 AM
Not sure if this reflects how important the lily has become to Guernsey’s economy, and the reduction in the cow/milk’s importance, or whether it was just a random choice!

It's another task among the many, isn't it - which design to place on which coin. Apparently, for the Irish predecimal coins, they placed the "nobler" animals on the higher denominations, while the pig got the halfpenny! Not sure why the original woodcock deserved to be on the farthing, though. It was promoted eventually, however.
Title: Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
Post by: Figleaf on October 17, 2017, 11:27:18 AM
Why have you excluded India/Pakistan? This thread is skewed because you consider only very late conversions to the decimal system. While Britain and much of its empire ex North America and the Straits held out until the period 1960-1975, the rest of the world (with some exceptions, like Russia) changed over around the period 1790-1840. In the earlier period, the major pre-occupation was weight. In the period you deal with it was design. Had you included the rest of the world, you would have found that most countries came up with radically different designs.

I suppose that what you have described in this interesting thread is the outcome of a process with multiple variables, working in both directions. Some variables working for retention of design in Britain and former British colonies:
Some variables working for change:
Apart from the first variable, all the variables I can think of are emotional, therefore relatively unpredictable.

Peter
Title: Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
Post by: <k> on October 17, 2017, 11:31:18 AM
This thread is skewed because you consider only very late conversions to the decimal system.

You are quite right, of course. Being English, I deliberately focused on those coinages that I know well, namely those of the UK, Ireland and the former British Empire. At the very least I should consider making the title of the thread more specific.
Title: Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
Post by: <k> on October 17, 2017, 03:14:08 PM
See also: British Empire & C/W: a parade of pre-decimal denominations (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,12529.0.html).