World of Coins

Design and designing => Coin design => Topic started by: <k> on February 11, 2018, 11:07:37 PM

Title: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
Post by: <k> on February 11, 2018, 11:07:37 PM
Some countries or territories seem to issue new design series fairly often. The Isle of Man is probably the best (or worst?) example in modern times. Some countries, such as Mozambique and the Philippines, have issued new design series almost every decade since the 1960s. Malaysia and Singapore have had three since the 1960s.

Some design series are issued all at once: a full new UK design series was issued in 2008; others are issued piecemeal: witness the two Indonesian series of the 1970s and 1990s. Once they are issued, they usually evolve: for instance, the royal shield pound design of the UK 2008 series disappeared in 2017 and has been replaced by a floral design on the new bimetallic pound coin. Over the years, new denominations are typically added and old ones are demonetised.

Sometimes a single design of a series will be replaced: the New Zealand 20 cent coin was introduced in 1967, but its original reverse of a kiwi was removed in 1990, when the new one dollar coin was issued with a different kiwi design, in order that it could be known as the kiwi dollar. New Zealand has never introduced an all-new design series, but because of changes over the years, only the design of the 50 cents coin has endured since 1967. By contrast, Australia still retains its original 5c, 10c, 20c and 50c designs from 1966; its 1c and 2c coins fell prey to inflation and were demonetised. Meanwhile, the design series of Papua New Guinea dates from 1975, and most of it is still intact.

What, then, in your opinion is the ideal life for a design series? And which countries do you think have issued too many design series? I would favour a 25 to 30 year period. A shorter period would in my opinion seem too short; anything longer would seem too long. Admittedly, political events, such as the transformation of Rhodesia into Zimbabwe, sometimes deservedly prompt a change of designs. In my home country, the UK, the first decimal design series lasted 40 years, but I would be in favour of a change of design series with every new monarch.
Title: Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
Post by: chrisild on February 12, 2018, 12:30:32 AM
In the euro area we currently have two extremes. ;) Crowned heads of state aside, the circulation coin designs can be modified every 15 years. On the other hand, a few years ago the member states got 50 years to adapt their coin designs to the current legal specifications.

The 15 years sound about right for me, as a redesign would only affect one side, and not the size, composition etc. anyway. If the technical specifications are to change too, I would rather give it a few more years, say 20. In Germany (Federal Republic) we had the same designs (of the 1 Pfennig to 1 DM coins) for more than 50 years, and I think that was way too long ...

Christian
Title: Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
Post by: Prosit on February 12, 2018, 01:25:33 AM
I would think maybe San Marino would get that distinction.

I have often heard it said in US Numismatics that the coins are designed with a 25 years life while bank notes have a 2-4 year cycle.

As a collector I guess I think the more the merrier.
Dale


Some countries or territories seem to issue new design series fairly often. The Isle of Man is probably the best (or worst?) example in modern times............
Title: Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
Post by: Kopper Ken on February 12, 2018, 02:59:15 AM
Some US designs (Lincoln Cent) have been around since my grandparents arrived here from the old countries.  Others since my father was born...with some modifications.  We are minting more so the designs are not as deep.  Also we do not use silver anymore so the designs seem rather flat.  We as Americans take change vey sloooooooooooooooowly.

I do like the quarter (25 cent) reverses we had had over the past few decades, and the bicentennial reverses.  The dollars, not the presidential ones are fine also.

KK



Title: Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
Post by: Pabitra on February 12, 2018, 03:28:52 AM
When you say design then do you mean only the obverse or reverse design or metal content too.

As far as UK is concerned, obverse effigy of Her Majesty has seen five changes since 1950s.

The actual reverse design has changed for definitive Pound coin only once ( with non commemorative changes every now and then). 2 Punds changed from Technology to Britannica.

As far metal is concerned, only smaller 5 pence and 10 Pence changed to plated steel.

For most countries, it follows "Rule of 72".
The inflation decides the period in which old coins ( made of proper alloy and not plated materials) become more expensive than face value, to mint.

A country with inflation of 6 percent per annum, will need to have its series changed in 12 years ( = 72/6).
Title: Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
Post by: <k> on February 12, 2018, 11:34:36 AM
In Germany (Federal Republic) we had the same designs (of the 1 Pfennig to 1 DM coins) for more than 50 years, and I think that was way too long

Yes, I wrote a complaint about that set here (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,19015.msg128600.html#msg128600).  >:(
Title: Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
Post by: <k> on February 12, 2018, 11:37:18 AM
I would think maybe San Marino would get that distinction.

Of issuing the most circulation sets? My guess is that most of the 20th century sets didn't actually circulate, but I may be wrong.
Title: Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
Post by: <k> on February 12, 2018, 11:58:40 AM
When you say design then do you mean only the obverse or reverse design or metal content too.

Good question. In my initial post, I meant the reverse designs only. Metal content is down to economic rather than cultural factors.

As far as UK is concerned, obverse effigy of Her Majesty has seen five changes since 1950s.

It's a question worth considering, since monarchs do age like the rest of us. To my knowledge, Queen Victoria had six changes of obverse effigy on the UK coins during her reign. QEII does seem to use Victoria as a model in certain respects: when asked to update her definitive stamp effigy (of which she has had only two, and the last was updated in 1967), she points out that Queen Victoria only ever had one. However, she appears to be happy with multiple standardcoin  effigies, so maybe she is following Victoria's example here too. I think the latest effigy was a step too far and would have been happy to see the Ian Rank Broadley portrait kept to the end of her life - I consider it a classic.



See: andyg's gallery of effigies of Queen Victoria (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,10641.msg71294.html#msg71294).

 
Title: Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
Post by: Figleaf on February 12, 2018, 12:01:18 PM
I think the answer is: it depends. There's no fixed term, but there are reasons (not) to change and you can't predict how they will operate, the more so since some have an influence on others. Some reasons I can think of immediately:
You can probably think of more reasons. This question is a classic case of not enough equations or too many variables.

Peter
Title: Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
Post by: <k> on February 12, 2018, 12:03:24 PM
As far as UK is concerned, obverse effigy of Her Majesty has seen five changes since 1950s.

The actual reverse design has changed for definitive Pound coin only once ( with non commemorative changes every now and then). 2 Punds changed from Technology to Britannica.

From 1983 to 2007, the UK round pound did not have a standard reverse design. The new bimetallic 12-sided pound so far has had only one design. It remains to be seen whether that changes.

The UK circulation 2 pound coin has had two standard versions, as you mention: the Technology reverse design, and - since 2015 - Britannia. These ran alongside yearly changes for "special" designs, though I believe in the early years there was not always a special bimetallic 2 pound design.
Title: Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
Post by: <k> on February 12, 2018, 12:05:36 PM
Some reasons I can think of immediately: ...

Peter

A nicely succinct list, probably listing all the major reasons.  8)
Title: Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
Post by: <k> on February 12, 2018, 12:41:04 PM
What, then, in your opinion is the ideal life for a design series? I would favour a 25 to 30 year period.

Here I will attempt to list those countries which are more than overdue for a update, by confining myself to countries that have not had an update of their reverse designs since the 1970s or earlier. I invite you to participate and help me expand and correct my list.  ;)  When finished, I will arrange my list neatly in a table.



Country plus year of introduction of design series.

Australia. 1966.
Bahamas. 1966 - remnants are left (2 designs?).
Barbados 1973
Bermuda 1970
Bhutan ?
Bolivia ?
Botswana - some remnants or a total redesign?
Brunei ?
Burundi ?
Canada. 1937.
Cayman Islands.
Chile?
China?
Comoros?
Costa Rica?
Cuba?
Djibouti?
East Caribbean States?
Egypt?
El Salvador?
Ethiopia. 1977.
Falkland Islands. 1974.
Fiji. 1969. Some designs retained on one side of the coin.
Gambia.
Guatemala.
Honduras.
Israel.
Jamaica 1969. Some remnants?
Kenya. 1966.
Kuwait?
Lebanon?
Lesotho. 1979.
Liberia?
Madagascar. 1960s/1970s hybrid set.
Malawi. 1964.
Mauritius? Remnants?
New Caledonia?
Nigeria. 1973. Remnants?
Panama?
Papua New Guinea. 1975.
Paraguay?
Peru?
Reunion?
Sri Lanka?
Suriname.
Swaziland. 1974.
Switzerland. 1860s?
Taiwan?
Tanzania. 1966. Remnants?
Thailand?
United Arab Emirates. 1973.
Venezuela?
Vietnam?
USA? Earliest remnant?

 
Title: Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
Post by: FosseWay on February 12, 2018, 04:19:24 PM
I would say the ideal is for a series to last as long as possible. Few series, few countries and few politico-economic realities live up to that ideal, thus necessitating change sooner or later.

A long-lasting series implies the following:

- economic stability (no rampant inflation necessitating major changes),
- political stability and acceptability (no sudden regime change and no political symbols that become unacceptable over time - this need not just be obvious examples like hammers, sickles and swastikas, but also e.g. references to colonialism),
- classic, timeless designs that people continue to like,

all of which are positive attributes in most people's view.

If you fulfil those three criteria you will naturally have a long-lasting series on your hands; of course, it is entirely possible for governments in the name of change for its own sake to insist on new designs, but I don't see that that is in itself a good thing. If one well-designed series of coins is exchanged for another successful series, great. But if the replacement is mediocre or worse, then the fact its predecessor was replaced is not ideal, however long the previous design was in use.

Trying to put a figure in years on the lifespan of coin types without reference to either the nature of the designs or the surrounding politico-economic situation strikes me as a solution looking for a problem.  ;)
Title: Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
Post by: <k> on February 12, 2018, 04:33:43 PM
A long-lasting series implies the following:

- economic stability (no rampant inflation necessitating major changes),
- political stability and acceptability (no sudden regime change and no political symbols that become unacceptable over time - this need not just be obvious examples like hammers, sickles and swastikas, but also e.g. references to colonialism),
- classic, timeless designs that people continue to like,

Nothing lasts for ever, of course, and perfection is rarely achievable. And that is perhaps the subtext of your points.

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If one well-designed series of coins is exchanged for another successful series, great. But if the replacement is mediocre or worse, then the fact its predecessor was replaced is not ideal, however long the previous design was in use.

In this regard I think of the UK jigsaw series of 2008. The Ironside series that preceded it was adequate, if not mediocre. The jigsaw series is disappointing from a cultural and artistic point of view: heraldry in the 21st century(!) and one design spread across all but two of the coins.  ::)  So I did groan when we got that set.

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Trying to put a figure in years on the lifespan of coin types without reference to either the nature of the designs or the surrounding politico-economic situation strikes me as a solution looking for a problem.  ;)

Another good point. Though in 2005 the Royal Mint told us that they had a 40 year limit for a UK design series, but I think they just invented that policy and timescale.  :D
Title: Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
Post by: <k> on February 12, 2018, 05:01:54 PM
Some of Cuba's low denominations carry the same designs as in 1915. Time for an update, but it won't happen while the neo-Stalinists remain in power.

Ethiopia's communistic designs are unchanged since 1977, but Eritrea has broken away during that time.

The designs of Honduras are ancient and boring.

Nicaragua's designs are surely ready for an update. They show a circular wreath - that device is centuries out of date.

Paraguay still has a couple of designs from the 1970s.

Does Sierra Leone actually have a current coinage?

South Korea's designs are looking rather dated. Some are just a re-hash of their 1960s designs.

Sri Lanka also needs a vibrant thematic set.

The United Emirates set dates from the 1970s.

Western Africa (BCEAO) - their currency union designs date from the 1960s and 1970s, in some cases. As for the Central African version, well, they're probably similar.
Title: Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
Post by: quaziright on February 12, 2018, 06:49:51 PM
Doesn't the Japanese series look the same since the end of WW2? maybe I"m mistaken?
Title: Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
Post by: Pabitra on February 12, 2018, 06:52:09 PM
Apart from Japan, coins of Israel, Kuwait, Kenya etc. may also need a fresh look.
Title: Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
Post by: Alan71 on February 12, 2018, 07:16:42 PM
I would say there doesnít need to be a time limit, it should depend on how good the series is and whether the designs have dated.  Canadaís designs date from 1937, I think, and they still look good. Most series that predominantly depict wildlife seem to last, such as Australiaís or (some of) New Zealandís.  <k>, I think New Zealandís original 10c design is still in use, but on a different colour coin.

Jerseyís landmarks also look good.  As with wildlife, itís depicting something that isnít going to change. 

The UK series donít date as well as theyíre depicting something that isnít really ďrealĒ.  Be it heraldry or Britannia, a new artist can come along with a different interpretation and a more modern design. I know you could say that about wildlife (for instance New Zealandís kiwi when it moved from 20c to $1), but by and large thereís less of a need to change something thatís ďrealĒ.

New denominations coming along with designs that arenít too sympathetic to whatís already there are also a factor.  For instance, the UK 20p in 1982.  Still the denomination going round the top in words and the numeral at the bottom, but it otherwise looked quite different to the Ironside designs with their spaced-out lettering.

Isle of Man had very restricted themes for each series, and presumably intended to have a limited lifespan.  Gibraltar went off the rails in the mid-2000s by introducing and then moving designs around the denominations.

The proliferation of circulating commemoratives is also a factor.  With so many designs appearing year-on-year, the long-standing permanent designs can act as a common reference point. 

Iím hoping the lifespan of the Dent designs on UK coins is as short as possible.  Weíre 11 years in so only another 29 until they reach Ironsideís...
Title: Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
Post by: Pabitra on February 12, 2018, 07:22:56 PM
Many countries have almost given up on coins. Their last known circulation. Series may hardly be of any guidance. Some of them are Vietnam, Lao, Cambodia, Bhuran, Myanmar, Liberia, Iraq, Nigeria, Mongolia etc.

Pakistan has changed all designs in last few years.

Sri Lanka is due for a new stainless series this year.

Nigeria had a 3 coin series in 2006 but now abandoned. Similarly, Myanmar, Iraq and Afghanistan had a new series not very long ago and they were quite a change from earlier series.

Sierra Leone, Cuba and Liberia announced some series but there does not seem to be any progress, as also with Iceland.

Each country is a specific case and needs to be studied in detail.
Pakistan will never change its obverse but reverse has been changed significantly.
UAE may follow Saudi Arabia which recently revised its series .
Bangladesh too revised its series with effigy of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, not very long ago.
Swaziland has changed its obverse with change of King as well as ageing effigy.

Oman revised its Coat of Arms few years back, very minor changes, like Russia two years back and Romania this year.
Title: Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
Post by: <k> on February 12, 2018, 08:25:09 PM
I would say there doesnít need to be a time limit, it should depend on how good the series is and whether the designs have dated.  Canadaís designs date from 1937, I think, and they still look good.

I'd be in favour of modernising them now, but not in the style of their recent commemorative and special issues, which is very poor:

(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=37090.0;attach=71798;image)

 ::)



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Most series that predominantly depict wildlife seem to last, such as Australiaís or (some of) New Zealandís.

Most do, it's true, and I'd probably miss them if they were changed.

Quote
  <k>, I think New Zealandís original 10c design is still in use, but on a different colour coin.

You're right. It's the Maori tiki (?) head.

Quote
Jerseyís landmarks also look good.  As with wildlife, itís depicting something that isnít going to change. 

A superb set, agreed.

Quote
Iím hoping the lifespan of the Dent designs on UK coins is as short as possible.  Weíre 11 years in so only another 29 until they reach Ironsideís...

Let's hope they die before I do.  :(
Title: Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
Post by: <k> on February 12, 2018, 08:33:47 PM
Pakistan has changed all designs in last few years.

Thanks for the info. I've deleted Pakistan (and Bangladesh) from my list.

Quote
Sri Lanka is due for a new stainless series this year.

Will the designs change too?

Quote
Swaziland has changed its obverse with change of King as well as ageing effigy.

True, but the reverse designs, though nice, largely stem from the 1970s.

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Oman revised its Coat of Arms few years back, very minor changes, like Russia two years back and Romania this year.

Quite a few Arab countries could do with adopting modern thematic sets. I loved the Romanian historical personalities of their 1990s set and am quite sad that they were replaced by such a boring series.