Poll

Which designs should have been placed on Ireland's decimal bronze coins?

The designs, by Miss Hayes, that were actually used
2 (22.2%)
The hare on the p, the pig on the 1p and the hen & chicks on the 2p - (Senator Kelly's suggestion)
4 (44.4%)
Some other combination of Metcalfe's old designs
0 (0%)
New animal designs but in the style of Metcalfe
0 (0%)
Designs of plants and / or flowers
0 (0%)
Some other option
3 (33.3%)
Don't know
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 9

Voting closed: August 02, 2017, 11:50:24 PM

Author Topic: Ireland's hybrid decimal design series  (Read 1879 times)

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Online <k>

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Re: Ireland's hybrid decimal design series
« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2017, 10:10:50 PM »
The 10 piece about Celtic Culture features four bird figures, Book of Kells style, with modern additions ...

They certainly don't look like birds. They look like snakes with hideous human faces. There's no accounting for some people's taste.  :-X

Offline chrisild

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Re: Ireland's hybrid decimal design series
« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2017, 10:39:39 PM »
Oh dear, did I write "bird figures"? Guess my mind was still busy with the three pre-euro coins. Just "figures" please. :) Anyway, the idea here (10 coin) was to combine elements of old Celtic culture and several tools ...

Christian

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Re: Ireland's hybrid decimal design series
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2017, 11:48:43 PM »
I've been thinking about this again. The Irish government retained the bull and salmon designs from the shilling and florin respectively and moved them to their decimal counterparts, the 5p and 10p coins. The woodcock design from the defunct farthing was resurrected on the 50p coin. The government had originally planned to use some of the old Metcalfe designs on the decimal p, 1p and 2p coins.  However, the Minister for Finance decided that:

It was not possible to use any existing reverse designs for the three bronze decimal coins. None of these coins will correspond in size or in value with any of the present coins and there would be a risk of confusion if existing designs were used. This risk would be particularly great during the change-over period following Decimal Day when both old and new coins will be in circulation. Therefore, it was necessary to obtain new designs for the reverse sides of the bronze coins.

Senator Kelly of the Opposition had suggested that:

It might be possible to get professionally adapted the designs on some of the missing coins by putting the hare on the decimal halfpenny, the pig on the 1p and the hen and chicks on the 2p piece.

The pig came from the predecimal half penny and the hen and chicks from the predecimal penny. Putting the d design on the 1p, and the 1d design on the 2p, might indeed have been considered confusing. A better idea would have been to skip those designs and place some of Metcalfe's previous designs on denominations that were sufficiently different from the predecimal denominations. After all, the woodcock had gone to the 50p, but no Irish person thought that 50p was the equivalent in value of a farthing.



In my own opinion, the hare had previously graced the 3d, so I doubt that any confusion would have been caused by placing this, the smallest of all the designs, on the p.  The wolfhound (from the 6d) and the horse from the half crown would then have been available to grace the 1p and 2p coins respectively. I doubt whether many of the Irish would have been confused by this. Of course, the other option would have been to place the bull and salmon on coins that did NOT correspond to their predecimal counterparts. Either the bull or the salmon would have looked better on the 50p than the woodcock did. So, if the salmon had gone to the 50p, perhaps the bull would have looked well on the 2p.

In any case, I'll put up a poll in a while, to see if anybody is interested in these "might have beens".  ;)

Online <k>

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Re: Ireland's hybrid decimal design series
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2017, 08:14:58 PM »
Three votes so far, for three different options. If you vote, you will find out what they are.  ;)

Offline chrisild

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Re: Ireland's hybrid decimal design series
« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2017, 12:27:14 PM »
Voted. I certainly like the "animals" series and designs, but I also appreciate the Book of Kells ornaments. So why not have a combination of the two? This way they had one "design line" for the three low value bronze coins, and another one for the three Cu-Ni coins.

Now of course I don't know what could have been the result of an open design competition for all originally six denominations. Maybe some series with characteristic buildings? Who knows, I might have preferred that ...

In any case, having two "design roots" and six designs (still referring to the original decimal series) certainly beats the dull Irish euro circulation coin designs. But I digress. The argument that similar animals should appear on similar denominations does not really convince me - yes, it makes sense with coins such as the shilling that continued to circulate after the decimalization, but apart from that, phhh. ;)

Christian

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Ireland's hybrid decimal design series
« Reply #20 on: August 01, 2017, 12:44:53 PM »
Innovation is a fleeting thing. The barnyard series was innovative at introduction, no longer at decimalisation. I can very well see the argument to continue existing designs on coins of the same value (shilling 5p, florin 10p), but when these were made smaller, the opportunity should have been taken to adorn them with Book of Kell ornaments also to restore unity and break with the past, giving the strong message of "different times, different circumstances, different coins". Getting stuck in the mud doesn't help anybody.

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

Online <k>

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Re: Ireland's hybrid decimal design series
« Reply #21 on: August 01, 2017, 01:52:39 PM »
The voting lacks all coherence - there are more splits than Brexit! No option is leading!

There were various factors at play in the Irish decimal series:

1] When adopting a new system or design series, countries usually like to retain some sense of continuity - in Ireland's case, that was by retaining the harp (also a Metcalfe design) and also Metcalfe's reverse designs. Look at the reverses of South Africa's decimal coins of 1961: many predecimal designs had been retained, and only the Voortrekker wagon on the 1 cent coin was a new design.

2] In the decimal system, there were only two coins with direct counterparts, in terms of value, in the predecimal system: the 5p (worth one shilling) and the 10p (worth 2 shillings). The decision to move the old designs (bull and salmon) from the 1s and 2s onto the 5p and 10p respectively was intended to aid understanding of the new system and ease the transition.

3] It then occurred to the Irish authorities that, if their citizens associated these designs (the bull and salmon) with a monetary value, there was the risk that they would associate other retained designs with their predecimal value, when in fact the p, 1p and 2p had no exact predecimal counterparts. In fact, the authorities had already moved the woodcock from the farthing to the new 50p coin. However, the farthing had been long defunct, and the 50p denomination was entirely new, and these two factors, in addition to the huge gap between a farthing and 50p (or 10 shillings), militated against any confusion in this regard.



Despite all this, I think that retaining all the Metcalfe designs would have worked, if carefully planned. Bear in mind that people were using coins on a daily basis, and any confusion would have been quickly dispelled by their sheer amount of practice with the coins, as well as talking to their friends, family, neighbours and workmates about them.

Beyond that, I do enjoy variations on a theme.  Though some considered it too much of a gimmick, I enjoyed the 2004 and 2005 Gibraltar sets, where the same designs appeared on two different denominations.

The sheer difference in the styles of the Metcalfe and Hayes designs is too great for my tastes and produces a horrible clash. Certainly, if some plants or flowers had been placed on the bronze coins, in such a way as to gel with the animal designs, that might have worked better. Yet still I would prefer to have seen some more of the old Metcalfe designs on new coins and denominations.

Offline akeady

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Re: Ireland's hybrid decimal design series
« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2018, 08:35:42 PM »
The controversy continued when Senator Professor John Kelly, of the opposition Fine Gael, launched a parliamentary motion against the adoption of the new designs: Coinage (Dimensions and Designs) Regulations, 1969: Motion for Annulment. The ensuing parliamentary debate took place on May 27 1970, with only nine months remaining before decimalisation. By this time George Colley had replaced the former Minister for Finance, Charles Haughey, who was now Taoiseach.

I emailed Coin News on I guess a non-numismatic point when this article appeared (Nov. 2016) - Charles Haughey wasn't Taoiseach in 1970 - he had actually been dismissed from the government and went on trial on 28th May 1970 for illegal importation of arms.   Different times, thankfully.   He and all others were cleared and he eventually became Taoiseach in 1979, a position he held off and on until 1992.

ATB,
Aidan.

Online <k>

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Re: Ireland's hybrid decimal design series
« Reply #23 on: September 25, 2018, 10:02:03 PM »
I saw your letter, akeady. I believe Mr Haughey sailed close to the wind at times.