Poll

Which was your favourite denomination?

The ½p
1 (12.5%)
The 1p
0 (0%)
The 2p
0 (0%)
The large 5p
0 (0%)
The large 10p
0 (0%)
The 20p
2 (25%)
The large 50p
4 (50%)
The standard round pound
1 (12.5%)
I have no preference
0 (0%)
Don't know
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 8

Author Topic: Which was your favourite pre-1984 decimal denomination?  (Read 3732 times)

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Offline <k>

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Which was your favourite pre-1984 decimal denomination?
« on: August 06, 2017, 10:52:53 AM »
   Denom      Diam      Metal      Shape      Weight      Thickness   
   ½p      17.1mm      Red      Round      1.8g      1.00mm   
   1p      20.3mm      Red      Round      3.6g      1.65mm   
   2p      25.9mm      Red      Round      7.1g      1.85mm   
   5p      23.59mm      White      Round      5.65g      1.70mm   
   10p      28.5mm      White      Round      11.31g      1.85mm   
   20p      21.4mm      White      7-sided      5.0g      1.70mm   
   50p      30.0mm      White      7-sided      13.5g      1.78mm   
   £1      22.5mm      Yellow/White      Round      9.5g      3.15mm   



Looking back to the early days of the decimal coinage, which was your favourite coin? I've deliberately gone back to the days of the large 5p, 10p and 50p, so that the choices are less confusing. Above is a table of the coins and their dimensions. You might also want to talk about your second and third favourites - and even about any coins you disliked.
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Offline <k>

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Re: Which was your favourite pre-1984 decimal denomination?
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2017, 11:00:19 AM »
My own favourite was the 20p. It was small and elegant, and the design, though heraldic, was more successful than any of the others. I also liked the heptagonal shape and the countersunk centre. That last feature was apparently to aid the blind, but the trial 20p piece used in tests had sharper edges. These had to be rounded when later tests showed they would cause problems in mass production. The result was that the blind often complained that they confused the rounder actual 20p with the penny, because of their similar diameter.

I liked the satisfying bulkiness of the milled 10p but was unimpressed by its design. Also, because of trips to Germany, where the 2DM and 5DM coins were either smaller or not much bigger but had far greater spending power, I knew that the 10p was too large for its worth.

I always liked the heptagonal 50p but never liked the Britannia design. I did like the EEC 50p design and wondered why more commemorative 50p coins were not struck. That didn't happen until the 1990s, however.
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Offline Alan71

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Re: Which was your favourite pre-1984 decimal denomination?
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2017, 01:02:32 PM »
I didn't like the 20p at first.  It seemed small, and it was odd that it was smaller than the 5p despite being four times its value.  I didn't understand then that the purpose of the coin was to reduce the size and weight of the coinage (and to soften the blow of inflicting the heavy £1 coin on us and taking away the light £1 note).  I also didn't like the fact that the design wasn't in-keeping with the other coins.  Even today I still prefer the Jersey and Guernsey versions, that aren't countersunk.  I also didn't understand denomination conventions so wasn't sure why we needed a 20p.  At the time I thought, "what next? A 30p and a 40p?"  Also, I didn't like the fact it didn't say "new pence" to match the others, not knowing that inscription was being changed on the other coins as well.  As stated in another topic, I didn't know why they said "new", I just accepted it that way.

As I had no knowledge of pre-decimal coinage and was born after decimalisation (albeit the same year!) it always seemed odd getting shilling and two-shilling pieces.  I knew they were used as 5p and 10p coins but I had yet to learn about £sd so the terms meant nothing to me.  I probably liked the 10p and 50p the best as they were the highest value prior to 1982 and amounted to my pocket money.  I had no idea what the ring of hands on the 50p was meant to mean but to me it was a nice alternative to get one in change.  It was common enough to encounter one fairly regularly.  I had no idea what any of the designs on the original decimal coins were, but as I had known nothing else, I quite liked them.

Offline <k>

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Re: Which was your favourite pre-1984 decimal denomination?
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2017, 02:09:16 PM »
It's interesting to hear the perspective of a post-decimal person.  :)  I think the implementation of the decimal system was done in such a way as to make life easier for the Mint and the public, but at the cost of coherence and later bottlenecks. The sixpences, shilling and florins also confused some tourists. A German friend thought all predecimal coins must still be legal tender, so in 1987 she brought some threepences to spend. She proffered two of them, plus a sixpence, in W H Smith's. The young female assistant was all of about 17 years old, and she looked at the coins with bewilderment, then exclaimed, "These are FOREIGN coins!"

Keeping the sixpence was a mistake in a decimal system; the shilling and florins were also confusing; the weight-to value ratio was unnecessary and made some of the coinage unnecessarily large and heavy. When the Mint wanted to work on its 1979 wish list of reducing the size of the 5p and 10p, getting rid of the sixpence, and creating a 20p and £1 coin, it found that its options were restricted, because it had to proceed a step at a time, taking account of the unwanted coins still in existence.
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Offline <k>

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Re: Which was your favourite pre-1984 decimal denomination?
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2017, 02:18:36 PM »
I didn't like the 20p at first.  It seemed small, and it was odd that it was smaller than the 5p despite being four times its value.  I didn't understand then that the purpose of the coin was to reduce the size and weight of the coinage (and to soften the blow of inflicting the heavy £1 coin on us and taking away the light £1 note).

I heard somebody else say that at the time and thought they were dumb. You were just a child, of course. The 5p was smaller than the 2p, but what of that? The coinage is split into coin types or "families": the coins of a family have the same shape and colour, e.g. the ½p, 1p, and 2p; and the 20p and 50p.  A new family usually starts small, often small than some of the coins of other families, and gets bigger.



Quote
Even today I still prefer the Jersey and Guernsey versions, that aren't countersunk.
 

That feature was meant to help the blind, but mostly it didn't, as they go primarily by diameter and edge, and they ended up confusing the 20p with the 1p.

The Isle of Man started off with a flat 20p but moved to countersunk around 1993. Recently that introduced a 20p that is flat on one side but countersunk on the other - a typically quirky feature from the IOM, and no doubt meant to attract collectors.

Quote
I had no idea what the ring of hands on the 50p was meant to mean but to me it was a nice alternative to get one in change.  It was common enough to encounter one fairly regularly.

That's because it was also minted thru 1974 and into 1975 (with a frozen commemorative date), instead of the Britannia version.
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Offline <k>

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Re: Which was your favourite pre-1984 decimal denomination?
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2017, 02:42:21 PM »
I didn't like the 20p at first.  It seemed small, and it was odd that it was smaller than the 5p despite being four times its value.

Returning to the issue of coin families, I have one criticism of the large 50p coin. When it was introduced in 1969, it was the world's first heptagonal coin. That meant it formed its own "family" within the decimal set. However, at 30 mm it was also the largest coin, presumably because it had the highest face value. But its large size was unnecessary - as the first in a new family, it could afford to start smaller. And it was also only 1.5 mm wider than the 10p, so at first it was often mistaken for a 10p (also copper-nickel), until people got used to it. My solution: to have made it midway in size between the old 5p and the 10p, at around 26.5 mm. That would have lessened the risk of confusion with any other coin. I know the Mint was already thinking ahead some years to the need for a 20p coin, and the eventual heptagonal 20p (at 21.4 mm) would still have been smaller than a 50p of 26.5 mm. In any event, the 50p eventually had to be reduced in size to 27.5 mm, after the 5p and 10p had also been reduced.

Avoiding a weight-to-value ratio would have allowed for smaller 5p and 10p coins (and 2p coins) from the start, and they probably would not have needed a later size reduction until much later than they did, if at all. The 50p could also have been made significantly smaller. Its reduction from 30 mm to 27.5 mm was rather timid and hardly worth doing, I find.

So, I think the decimalisation process was flawed. Far better to have waited another couple of years, minting enough replacements for the shillings and florins and to have allowed all the crucial vending machines to be switched from sixpences to the decimal coins - after all, it had to happen anyway. And smaller coins too - no weight-to-value ratio. Well, it's too late now, but Ireland also copied the UK's processes (but didn't retain the sixpence), so I think it's not too late to punish Ireland by expelling her from the EU.  >:D
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Offline <k>

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Re: Which was your favourite pre-1984 decimal denomination?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2017, 02:48:47 PM »
I had no idea what the ring of hands on the 50p was meant to mean but to me it was a nice alternative to get one in change.

Various other countries also liked the heptagonal shape of the 50p and many issued their own coins with that shape (presumably all produced by the Royal Mint). It was quite fashionable for a while. Occasionally I would get one of these exotic coins in change. I once got a Seychelles 5 rupees with the turtle and palm trees and loved it. That incident made me fantasise about beautiful 50p designs for the UK, rather than just the one EEC commemorative - but I had to wait another 3 decades for any decent ones. The 50p commemorative designs of the 1990s were rather boring.

Bimetallics became the next big fashion after the heptagon, of course, from the 1990s onward.
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Offline Prosit

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Re: Which was your favourite pre-1984 decimal denomination?
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2017, 03:42:19 PM »
The 4p

Dale  >:D

Offline <k>

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Re: Which was your favourite pre-1984 decimal denomination?
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2017, 03:51:39 PM »
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Offline FosseWay

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Re: Which was your favourite pre-1984 decimal denomination?
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2017, 06:28:04 PM »
For Dale, courtesy of my grandmother, who received the Royal Maundy in 1986:

Offline FosseWay

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Re: Which was your favourite pre-1984 decimal denomination?
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2017, 06:33:32 PM »
My favourite is the 20p. I like its shape and I think the design of the 1982-2008 reverse made use of the shape in a very innovative, attractive way.

It is the right size for its worth, as well. I don't share the obsession some people have (mostly non-coin collectors, it has to be said) with making coins smaller and smaller. I am quite happy with valuable coins being large, like the Irish punt or the Swiss 5-franc. The tendency to reduce the size of the largest denominations results either in ridiculously small coins for the smallest, or illogical jumps in size, or in many denominations that are shoe-horned into a very small size spectrum. The 20p fits well where it is in the coinage and cannot be misconstrued as anything else.

Offline <k>

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Re: Which was your favourite pre-1984 decimal denomination?
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2017, 06:57:05 PM »
My favourite is the 20p.

So you agree with me.  :o 



Quote
I am quite happy with valuable coins being large, like the Irish punt or the Swiss 5-franc.

So bigger is better? Well, I never thought you'd be an extremist.  ;)  The Irish pound was 31.1 mm, had a thickness of only 1.83 mm (rather thin for its size, then) and weighed 10 grams - rather light for such a large coin. It is so light, in fact, that I cannot escape the idea that it is hollow: a sandwich without a filling. Its two sides are separated by a security edge that does not quite extend all the way to the ends of the two sides, hence my possible misapprehension.



Irish pound - security edge.


Let me ask you then, what is your maximum preferred diameter for a circulation coin - or is the sky the limit? I can't remember what the largest current (or even 20th century) coin is.

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Offline <k>

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Re: Which was your favourite pre-1984 decimal denomination?
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2017, 07:02:39 PM »
For Dale, courtesy of my grandmother, who received the Royal Maundy in 1986:

I'd have given him a fourpenny one too.  ;)
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Offline Prosit

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Re: Which was your favourite pre-1984 decimal denomination?
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2017, 04:58:21 AM »
I have two 4p coins, 1849 Vf and 1883 aEF and no holes in them. I quite like them. Something about the 4p denomination resonates with the contrarian in me. I also like the 3p and I have 12 of those.

Dale

Offline <k>

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Re: Which was your favourite pre-1984 decimal denomination?
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2017, 10:01:49 AM »
I have two 4p coins, 1849 Vf and 1883 aEF and no holes in them.

Always 4d in those days - not 4p. D = denarius, plural denarii. Just part of Britain's official obsession with Latin, which persists to this day. I doubt Charles III (or whatever he will be called) will modernise. King William might, but I doubt there'll be a monarchy by then.
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