In this topic:
Design gimmicks that extend across a whole circulation set (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,44492.0.html)
forum members had difficulty in understanding the concept of "gimmick". As I said in the topic, something that appears as a gimmick to one person may seem innovative to another. The concept is therefore rather subjective. Forum member quaziright felt that a gimmick in numismatics was essentially a sales technique that would only apply to small countries or to collector coins. This opinion surprised me, but I did say that the concept of a gimmick is subjective.
Here I would like to discuss the concept of gimmicks and novelties, with regard to circulation coins and circulation sets only. There are after all plenty of gimmicky collector pieces. I would also like to ask you about how you regard the properties of specific coins or sets.
I will include metals and shapes. Looking at novelties from the 1960s to date, from my own point of view, I would start with the heptagon. The UK produced the first heptagonal circulation coin in 1969: the 50 pence. It became fashionable, particularly in the 1970s and 1980s, as other countries used the shape for some of their own coins.
Next to be fashionable was the bimetallic coin. Italy was one of the first to issue a standard circulation bimetallic coin in the early 1980s (or was it later?), followed by France towards the end of that decade. Bimetallics and heptagons are still heavily popular with collectors.
Later "firsts" for circulation coins include latent images and laser marks.
Now let me mention countries and their numismatic policies. Nobody would deny that the Isle of Man, for instance, is very interested in generating sales from its coins, and until recently it changed its circulation design series regularly. Perhaps this could be regarded as a sales gimmick in itself.
Perhaps IOM and Pobjoy / Tower strive to produces "firsts". I remember the first 50p with an edge inscription in 1979 - a commemorative, but it was meant to circulate.
Here is a "first" from the Isle of Man's 2017 set:
- a 20p that is countersunk on the obverse but flat on the reverse. Novelty or gimmick? Myself, I like it.
Guernsey has always had a relatively conservative policy with regard to its coin issuance policy. However, it decided to update its circulations coins in 1985, in order to make them more attractive to collectors of Commonwealth coins.
Pre-1985 round pound.
Guernsey had traditionally always used its state arms for its circulation coins. As such it was "the odd man out" among British territories, although the Queen's portrait sometimes appeared on its collector coins. Guernsey now decided it would also use the Queen's portrait on the obverse of its coins. This would make them more attractive to the collectors.
A smaller version of the arms was still included, next to the Queen's portrait.
Here we have not a first or a novelty, but a move towards a standard, in order to make the coins more salable. Good idea - or bad, do you think?
What is your opinion on these matters? Can you think of any other such cases regarding circulation coins, whether individually or as sets? You can see, though, that some novelties, such as bimetallics, very soon become widespread.