login

Author Topic: Numismatic Trends of the 21st century  (Read 7996 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline chrisild

  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7 493
  • NW · DE · EU
Re: Numismatic Trends of the 21st century
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2013, 12:36:34 PM »
The USA, by contrast, has long had a tradition of honouring its former presidents (though never a current president, of course)

Ha! Calvin Coolidge! 1926! :) Sure, that was not a circulation coin but a commemorative half dollar, but still ...

In terms of trends, some very interesting (and accurate as far as I can tell) observations there. Was about to add the increasing use of less expensive materials, e.g. plated steel instead of copper or Cu-Ni, but then noticed that it is covered by trend #4.

Spanish flower shaped coins are basically round in my opinion, just as any coin with a milled edge is. And I agree, low denomination coins such as the British 1p and 2p pieces (or the 1 and 2 cent coins in the euro area) should go. Heck, it works fine in the Netherlands, but over here people would probably complain about the oh-so-inflationary effect of the euro. In the US the discussion is less rational than in neighboring Canada too ...

Christian

Offline Figleaf

  • Administrator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 24 508
Re: Numismatic Trends of the 21st century
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2013, 01:53:51 PM »
Thank you for a nice, thoughtful thread, <k>. One more trend, though implicit in the trends you noted of more themed sets and fewer humans: heraldics disappearing. I think these three trends are in fact one.

That one trend is the death of the Pisanello-rule. The Pisanello-rule puts a portrait looking left or right with name and title(s) on one side of the coin and a pictorial identifier (that includes a coat of arms and allegories ranging from personifications to heraldic animals) with either a continuation of the titles or a personal motto on the other side. The Pisanello-rule was largely observed for silver and gold during centuries and perfected with the reducing lathes. It fits perfectly with such feudal desires as a personality cult and personal, rather than national loyalty.

Pisanello is clearly old hat now. The first to let the ruler disappear from the coin may have been the Norwegians and Swedes. The last may be the Luxemburgers, who insist on a portrait even on commonly issued euro commemoratives. The real issue is of course what replaces the portrait and arms. A map of the country is a clear sign of lack of inspiration. This is where the themed coins come in: people decide the country is too diverse to be captured in one symbol, so they pick a set of symbols.

Having left feudal influences behind us (at least for the most part), the next question would be not on form, but on substance of design. Themed sets range in execution from the saccharine populist to cutting edge modern art. Coins are small scale, low relief. Coin design is not comparable to photography or sculpturing, even though computers make it possible to turn good photos and sculptures into badly designed coins. It is possible to find a style that befits coins, but I would argue we are still experimenting.

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

Offline <k>

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 14 870
Re: Numismatic Trends of the 21st century
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2013, 01:54:58 PM »
Good points on the use of metals by paisepagal. I was also unaware that a serving US president had been honoured - even if on a commemorative coin only.

I thought a little more about polygonal coins versus coins with an inner polygonal rim. Are the latter harder to forge? You can imagine an amateur with a mould, a cookie-cutter and the right skills forging a polygonal coin, but duplicating an inner polygonal rim would surely be much more difficult.

Anyway, Samoa used to have a seven-sided tala coin prior to its new design series of 2011, but all the other coins were round. However, in 2011, though the tala remained seven-sided, a scalloped 2 tala coin was added, yet all the lower denominations had an inner scalloped rim. So in a single set Samoa was both following and countering the trend towards inner polygonal rims.





Samoa 2011 set.

Offline <k>

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 14 870
Re: Numismatic Trends of the 21st century
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2013, 02:38:29 PM »
One more trend, though implicit in the trends you noted of more themed sets and fewer humans: heraldics disappearing. I think these three trends are in fact one.

The counter-trend being represented here by the UK, whose jigsaw series (introduced in 2008) is a post-modern treatment of a heraldic device. Unsurprising, perhaps, in a monarchy, where there are still lords, knights, viscountesses, etc., and where the Order of the British Empire (!) is still awarded!

> The first to let the ruler disappear from the coin may have been the Norwegians and Swedes.

Coats of arms are still popular on the higher/highest denominations of some coinages. Interestingly, the Scandinavians (like the Tongans) tend to place the royal portrait on the higher denominations only, perhaps because the smaller coins are not large enough to accommodate it.

Quote
> the next question would be not on form, but on substance of design. Themed sets range in execution from the saccharine populist to cutting edge modern art. Coins are small scale, low relief. Coin design is not comparable to photography or sculpturing, even though computers make it possible to turn good photos and sculptures into badly designed coins. It is possible to find a style that befits coins, but I would argue we are still experimenting.

Perhaps small delicate patterns for our increasingly small coins is the way to go. Malaysia's recent set is a good example:


Offline <k>

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 14 870
Re: Numismatic Trends of the 21st century
« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2013, 02:45:02 PM »
Australia too retains polygonal coin whereas Maldives has recently removed non circular coins.

Thank you for reminding me of the Maldives. Yes, their 5 and 10 laari coins were changed from scalloped to circular in 2012.



Quote
A country which has gone against this trend is Bangladesh which never had portrait of its founding father, Sheik Mujibur Rehman. It has gone in for the same recently.
Better late than never, probably because they had never honoured him so far. After a few years in the limelight, he will probably also disappear from their coins.

Offline <k>

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 14 870
Re: Numismatic Trends of the 21st century
« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2013, 02:57:46 PM »
The US half dollar of 1926, celebrating the Sesquicentennial of independence. As Christian pointed out, it portrays Calvin Coolidge, alongside George Washington. That bell has a crack in it, and I believe it still has not been repaired after all these years.

Offline <k>

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 14 870
Re: Numismatic Trends of the 21st century
« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2013, 02:59:02 PM »
The Australian 1 and 2 cent coins have not been de-monetised and are still considered to be legal tender and can be deposited in banks.

According to the Australian Currency Act of 1965, 1 and 2 cent coins are legal tender if, when submitted for payment, they do not exceed a combined value of 20 cents. There may be problems in getting a business to accept them however.

Interesting fact of which I was unaware. Worth remembering.

Offline <k>

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 14 870
Re: Numismatic Trends of the 21st century
« Reply #22 on: February 25, 2013, 06:21:37 PM »
In an earlier post I mentioned the disappearance of some of the national allegorical figures, e.g. Britannia, Belgia, from the coins of Europe. It seems that soon one country will be bucking that trend: Latvia, which is set to join the euro in 2014. Here is one of the country's planned euro designs:

 

Offline chrisild

  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7 493
  • NW · DE · EU
Re: Numismatic Trends of the 21st century
« Reply #23 on: February 25, 2013, 11:50:19 PM »
Right, and they will also do the heraldry thing. ;)  The mid-range coins will have the Great Coat of Arms, the low denominations show the Small CoA. Maybe it's because many in Latvia (actually most according to opinion polls) are against the introduction of the euro but the Latvian government want to "get it done "now: By putting traditional "icons" of the country on the future coins, they want to show that, despite the currency union, they still have their Latvian Maiden and CoA ...

Christian

Offline <k>

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 14 870
Re: Numismatic Trends of the 21st century
« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2013, 01:39:27 PM »
Another trend I have noticed is the disappearance of circulating FAO-themed coins. Such coins were commonly found from 1968 onwards. They typically included the legend “FAO” and sometimes a slogan such as “INCREASE EXPORTS” or “PRODUCE MORE FOOD”. The design showed typical agricultural products or else agricultural workers in the field. Sometimes a standard circulating coin would have a FAO variant, where the design was essentially the same but the word “FAO” and an appropriate slogan was added.  Some examples of these were found in the 1970s in Swaziland, Jamaica, the Seychelles, Turkey and Bangladesh. Some circulation series were designated as FAO yet carried no slogan, text, or other indication that they were such; a good example is the United Arab Emirates set of the 1970s.

Even in the 1990s, Croatia and Macedonia issued FAO versions of some of their circulation coins. As late as 1997, São Tomé and Príncipe produced a complete new circulating FAO-themed design series, with slogans. Since then, a few so called “countries of convenience” have produced very minor collector pieces, but I have noticed no new FAO-themed circulation coins or sets. The aspirations of Third World countries to industrialise or develop service-based economies, along with the collapse of communism, and hence the move away from agriculture, mean that countries will be less keen to issue FAO-themed coins, or even designs that depict agriculture or agricultural produce.

I remember reading about Malaysia’s competition in the 1960s to find suitable designs for its first independent coinage. The winner produced a set of beautiful designs of Malaysia’s exotic wildlife, including a tapir and a pangolin. These were duly shown to the prime minister for approval. “"No, this won't do", he said. "People will think we eat these animals.” Since Malaysia was already a highly aspirational country, the prime minister evidently thought that such designs would project an image of a poor, agriculture-based country.

Offline <k>

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 14 870
Re: Numismatic Trends of the 21st century
« Reply #25 on: February 27, 2013, 01:42:50 PM »
In 2011, Samoa produced a new design series. The government had surveyed public opinion, which apparently thought that the old designs were old-fashioned and needed to be updated. Puzzled, I checked the old designs and thought they still looked high-quality and modern. However, the design themes suggest a purely agriculture-based economy: breadfruit, pineapple, coconut, banana tree, etc. – presumably not the image that the country wants to project these days. Interestingly, Tonga still uses circulation coins that are very clearly FAO-themed, and has done so since 1975. The country is due to issue a new design series later this year, and I expect there will be no FAO-themed designs or depictions of agricultural produce.

Looking at the circulation coins of other countries, it is obviously still acceptable to depict your local wildlife, whether animals or flowers and plants. The 5 rupees coin of the Seychelles features a palm tree, but the designs as a whole convey the impression that the country is a paradise of exotic beauty. Sub-Saharan African countries routinely depict their wild beasts on their coins: rhinos, zebras, lions, etc., but these are proudly presented as an aspect of their beautiful national heritage. You still find the occasional agricultural themes in modern design series, such as the cotton plant and tractor-driver on the Mozambican series (issued in 2006), but these are balanced by the designs featuring modern buildings, a rhino and a cheetah.

The message for the 21st century is: don’t feature agricultural produce on your coins (or do so only sparingly). I therefore expect FAO-themed circulation coins to die out, though there will still be the occasional commemorative issues. Worldwide, more people now live in cities and towns than in the countryside. This trend will continue until we are surrounded by hi-tech gadgets but have nothing to eat, at which point we will take to our time-machines to forage for yesterday’s food.

Offline chrisild

  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7 493
  • NW · DE · EU
Re: Numismatic Trends of the 21st century
« Reply #26 on: February 27, 2013, 01:57:32 PM »
Hmm, the FAO Coin Program ended a few years ago (some time between 2000 and 2005). So don't expect any new issues. Now coins with food/agriculture themes will still be issued, I suppose, but not in the sense of a FAO program ...

Christian

Offline <k>

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 14 870
Re: Numismatic Trends of the 21st century
« Reply #27 on: February 27, 2013, 02:00:22 PM »
Hmm, the FAO Coin Program ended a few years ago (some time between 2000 and 2005).

A sign of the times, I would argue.

Quote
Now coins with food/agriculture themes will still be issued

But there will be far fewer of them, I would suggest.

Offline Figleaf

  • Administrator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 24 508
Re: Numismatic Trends of the 21st century
« Reply #28 on: February 27, 2013, 02:06:02 PM »
This goes beyond coins, existed before and may be the error of the century.

When I worked in OECD, I produced a report on the economy of a Latin American country. I noted that the trade pattern of the country was ag-based. I got a zinging reaction from the county's diplomats. I pointed out that exports were dominated by ag-products and that trade volume was clearly influenced by harvest times. They didn't let off until I removed the remark.

The problem with being ashamed of the ag-sector is that it takes a central place in economic development. An ag-surpus is the basis for sustainable growth outside the cities, which is where most people live. By neglecting the ag-sector, you build an economy that is a giant on clay legs.

Consider India. FAO estimates say 70% of some of its ag-production (notably milk) spoils before reaching the consumer. As much as 93% of food is bought from street vendors, who cannot protect produce against heat and insects. The World Bank says farm income can be increased by over 50% just by eliminating useless intermediaries from the distribution channels. Farmers are subsidised by the government, which does them little good. There is an effort to train and organise farmers. Ironically, it comes neither from the government nor from NGOs, but from big European (Bayer) and US (Walmart) companies, who see that with a better income, farmers would become better clients and produce higher quality stuff.

FAO has lost much clout after the genetically modified crop controversy. That should not diminish the fact that food is sorta important to humans.

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

Offline <k>

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 14 870
Re: Numismatic Trends of the 21st century
« Reply #29 on: February 27, 2013, 07:50:44 PM »
Staying on the FAO theme, Guernsey's current design series (issued 1985) is described in the literature as a FAO series, though the coins do not have any identifiable FAO markings. The designs include tomatoes and Guernsey cows, obvious cash crops.

Other countries, such as South Africa and Bermuda, include designs of flowers or plants on their coins, but those are included only for their beauty or as national emblems, since they are not agricultural produce.