Circulation sets with poorly unified design

Started by <k>, December 01, 2012, 11:17:49 PM

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<k>



Guzman's design for the reverse of the 50 francs, which also appears on the 100 francs, must be one of the most beautiful and exotic to appear on any circulation coin, and as elegant in its way as Bazor's similar design for the reverse of the 1, 2 and 5 franc coins. Though the designs in total stem from different eras and are in different styles, there is still an overall effect of elegance, so any sense of mismatch is very small.
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<k>

#46
New Caledonia's current coinage still carries the same design of Marianne (by Lucien Bazor) on the lower denominations as appears on the coinage of French Polynesia. In this case, the reverse design is again by Bazor, and is characteristically elegant.






50 centimes, kagu.  This coin is long defunct, but the design still appears on the 1, 2 and 5 franc coins.

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<k>

#47
Again, the higher denominations now feature (since the 1960s) designs by Raymond Joly on the obverse and reverse.





20 francs.





50 francs, native hut.





10 francs, outrigger canoe.


Again, the overall designs are so elegant, that the mismatch between the lower and upper denominations is easy to overlook.
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<k>

#48
By contrast, in case you were wondering, the New Hebrides, a Franco-British condominium (now Vanuatu), did not issue its coins until the 1960s, and all the designs, obverse and reverse, were by Raymond Joly, so there is no stylistic clash in this case, however small.


1     franc.    Stylised frigate bird.
2     francs.  Stylised frigate bird.
5     francs.  Stylised frigate bird.
10   francs.  Native mask flanked by cowry.
20   francs.  Native mask flanked by cowry.
50   francs.  Carved ceremonial staff of natives.
100 francs.  Carved ceremonial staff of natives.

Designer: Raymond Joly.
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<k>


Reverse designs of the Sierra Leone 1964 circulation series.




This series did not work well as a unified set of designs. The realistic fish and tree did not go well with symbolic ring of rice grains or the stylised palm leaves. The 20 cents would have looked better with a thematic subject, rather than the heraldic lion, which was additionally just one heraldic lion too many for the set. After all, it was taken from the coat of arms, which appears on the 1 leone coin. It seems there was a lack of ideas and imagination here.

Perhaps it is not surprising that the designs were replaced in the 1970s, with the plain coat of arms being used as the common reverse design. The designer of this set was Michael Rizzello, who later designed some superb sets, such as Gambia (1966) and Bermuda (1970s), so perhaps he learnt from the Sierra Leone experience.




See also: The coinage of modern Sierra Leone.
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<k>

#50
Tonga issued its first national circulation set in 1967. The obverse of all the coins carried an effigy of the late Queen Salote. As for the reverse designs, the 1 and 2 seniti depicted a giant tortoise, while the 5 and 10 seniti showed the Southern Cross flanked by two stylised sprigs. The 20 and 50 seniti, and also the 1 pa'anga and (not illustrated) 2 pa'anga showed the country's coat of arms.

The design of the giant tortoise was an attractive one, but the sprigs were distinctly old-fashioned. It is not unusual to show the coat of arms on the country's highest denomination, but here four coins shared that design. And in fact, three reverse designs were spread across eight coins, a situation that reminds me of some of the modern euro sets. The attractive and realistic tortoise designs were followed by unattractive stylised sprigs and the heraldic coat of arms. The designs of the set just do not gel as a whole.

In 1975 Tonga produced a new design series, that was much more interesting:

Circulation sets consisting entirely of FAO-themed coins: Tonga.
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<k>





And then there is the Irish decimal set - a game of two halves. Three old Percy Metcalfe designs were mixed with three medieval ornamental Celtic bird designs. The result was not a success, in my opinion. See: Ireland's hybrid decimal design series.
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chrisild

That is just "half poor" in my opinion. ;) You have one "theme" for all three low denominations, and one for all three higher ones. Also, except for the halfpenny, the layout is the same for all coins: one main part of the design (animal or ornament) and the face value in the same font on a (well, on an invisible) horizontal line. As witnessed by this very topic, there are many more really poor examples, hehe.

Christian

<k>

There is a lot of truth in what you say, and opinions on the matter are split, as we saw in the topic I linked to in my previous post (about Ireland's hybrid series).

There are two subtopics here, really: sets that are generally lacking in stylistic unity; and those sets that are "a game of two halves", in which older coins with old designs have had newer coins added to them with designs of a distinctly different nature. In the game of two halves, as well as the Irish set just mentioned, we also have the Madagascan set and those of the French overseas territories of Oceania - all of which I have dealt with here.
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<k>



Djiboutian coin designs across different phases of its modern history.




Djibouti has had an interesting set of coin designs across its history as French Somaliland, the French Afars and Issas, and finally Djibouti. The 1, 2 and 5 franc coins all carried Frenchman Lucien Bazor's designs of a Hunter's antelope. His beautiful ship and dhow designs appeared on the 10 and 20 franc coins.

Frenchman Raymond Joly took over the design work in the 1970s. His camels appear on the 50 and 100 franc coins. Joly lacked the technical ability of his predecessor Lucien Bazor, and the bent knees of his camel that is sitting down look like stumps. His camel designs just do not fit the stylistically - they lack background details - difficult, I know, with a bare background of sand.


In itself, the design of the francolin on the 250 francs coin is beautiful. However, it lacks background details compared to the others. It does not fit well into the set.

The simplistic design of the 500 francs is totally inadequate. Another realistic, figurative design was needed.


Reviewing Bazor's antelope design, though it has much charm, it would look much better without those leaves in the background. They take up far too much space.

Here again, then, we have a mixture of designs in different styles that do not fit well together. Once again we see a set from the Paris Mint where Raymond Joly's simplistic and quirky design have superseded Lucien Bazor's more accomplished work. Admittedly Joly's work does have its own charm. In his pictorial style and with his unusual choice of fonts, he was as determinedly modernistic in his time as Percy Metcalfe was in the 1930s.

I do not know how many of these designs still circulate in modern Djibouti. I do think, though, that it is time for Djibouti to adopt a totally new and stylistically consistent coin design series.




See: Coinage of French Somaliland / French Afars and Issas / Djibouti.
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<k>

Here is the current Chilean coin series. It has become rather unbalanced. In the 20th century, Chilean hero Bernardo O'Higgins appeared on all their coins.

In 2000 and 2001, Raúl Silva Henríquez and a Mapuche warrior were portrayed on two new denominations.

It would have been better if some new national heroes had been found for the lower denominations. But Chile is a very thin country, so maybe it didn't have any.

Silva Henríquez was the sixteenth of nineteen children. No wonder the planet is burning.  :(
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<k>



Guinea, 1971.




A cowry, followed by three African heroes. Would it have been better to show four Africans?

Or is it common enough to show a trivial design on a low denomination, while reserving the higher denominations for more worthy subjects?
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chrisild

Quote from: <k> on December 27, 2021, 07:09:35 PMOr is it common enough to show a trivial design on a low denomination, while reserving the higher denominations for more worthy subjects?

That is the reason, at least in this case, I think. And if we keep in mind that the sub-unit in those days was named "cauri" (possibly a reference to the fact that cauri/cowrie money was used in parts of Africa before), depicting one makes even more sense.

<k>



Ecuador 1988 set.

As a thematic set, I find this very poorly produced. The coins are in low relief, and the subjects vary in the amount of space they take up on the coin. The 50 centavos should have had a pictorial design, to fit in with the other designs. A very poor set by the Royal Canadian Mint, all in all.
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chrisild

For the 1 sucre coin they simply continued using an old design, and the 50 centavos ... well, maybe the designer or the issuing authority decided that "sub-unit" coins did not deserve pictorial designs? In any case, the current set (US dollar based) is worse IMO - well unified but somewhat bland, and (because the coins had to match the USD pieces) with the same strange sizes. ;)