Author Topic: Last countries to use the weight to value ratio ?  (Read 269 times)

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Offline <k>

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Last countries to use the weight to value ratio ?
« on: August 16, 2017, 12:27:49 PM »
In the UK, the 2p is twice the weight of the 1p, and the 10p is twice the weight of the 5p. This policy of maintaining a weight to value ratio was enacted to enable banks and retailers to weigh coins without sorting them, in order to ascertain their monetary value. The UK's bronze coinage of predecimal times did not follow this policy but the silver coinage did. Bankers and retailers found this facility so useful that they asked for it to be extended to the planned decimal bronze coinage.

See also: Bagging the weight to value ratio.



Do you know of any other countries that still operate such a policy, to whatever extent? And if not, which were the last countries to use that system? I expect that a very few countries that previously used sterling may still have retained that policy, as a relic of predecimal times.


Offline FosseWay

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Re: Last countries to use the weight to value ratio ?
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2017, 12:54:33 PM »
Australian 5, 10 and 20 cent coins are the direct successors of the sixpence, shilling and florin, and therefore follow the weight to value ratio.

I know New Zealand has resized its coins since decimalisation, so the ratio no longer applies. But I'm less certain about other countries that formerly used £sd and whose decimal currencies fell under the Australian sphere of influence, such as Papua New Guinea, Fiji and other Pacific islands. Some of these at least used £sd-derived sizes and weights for decimal coins, but I can't remember whether any of them have denominations that have been unchanged since then.

Offline <k>

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Re: Last countries to use the weight to value ratio ?
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2017, 01:04:11 PM »
Here is an earlier reply from Martin Purdy of New Zealand, an ex-member of this forum, whose user name was translateltd :

PNG still has 5, 10 and 20 toea to 6d, shilling and florin standard as far as I know. They're still descendants of Britain's 1816 standard too.

Slightly separate issue, but the 10 and 20-franc coins in New Caledonia and Tahiti are also still the same size as our old 10/20c  - never quite sure why that was, but they would occasionally turn up in change here prior to 2006.


See "Reply #1" of this topic: A New Zealand trip.

Offline Sgard

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Re: Last countries to use the weight to value ratio ?
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2017, 11:34:56 AM »
USSR kopeks 1940 ( and older ) - 1991, 1 kop. = 1 grams, 2 kop = 2 grams, 3 kop = 3 grams, 5 kop. = 5 grams.

Offline <k>

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Re: Last countries to use the weight to value ratio ?
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2017, 11:40:14 AM »
Excellent! Thanks, Sgard.

Offline Henk

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Re: Last countries to use the weight to value ratio ?
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2017, 09:05:48 PM »
Switzerland and the USA also have coins with constant weight to value ratio:
Swiss: 1/2 Fr = 2.2 g; 1 Fr = 4.4 g and 2 Fr = 8.8 g.
USA: 10 c = 2,27 g, 25 c = 5,67 g and 50 c = 11.34 g

These constant ratios are the remains of earlier coins made of silver which determined the value. In such a case the weight to value ratio must be constant. For the UK there also is a remainder of this (5 and 10 p coins). To use a constant ratio for copper was decided for the decimalization. The Euro coins were newly designed and do not have such a constant ratio. To illustrate the weight to value ratio for coins in circulation I made some graphs that show the weight for a unit (10 c/p for copper and 1 Euro/GBP/USD or SFr for "silver") made up of each individual denomination. E.g. (for GBP)  the weigth of 10 1p coins, 5 2p coins and 20 5p coins, 10 10p coins, 5 20 p coins, 2 50p coins, 1 1P coin and half a 2P coin).

It is interesting to see that the UK coins are relatively heavy compared with US and especially swiss coins.

Offline <k>

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Re: Last countries to use the weight to value ratio ?
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2017, 09:14:02 PM »
Thanks, Henk. So even with its outmoded system, the UK (my birth and home country) could have done better and had lighter coinage.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Last countries to use the weight to value ratio ?
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2017, 09:20:32 PM »
Lovely graphs, Henk. They are indeed illustrating your point of the practices of the silver standard and Latin Monetary Union continued as a tradition in the case of the US and Switzerland, rather than the "counting by weighing" argument in the UK. Not coincidentally, the US and Switzerland also stick to the same designs for much longer than other countries and both currencies serve as "safe havens" in times of crisis.

I see the EUR practice in each of the coin families as "large coins shouldn't become too heavy", which is the counter-argument to the UK's approach.

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

Offline bgriff99

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Re: Last countries to use the weight to value ratio ?
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2017, 09:25:23 AM »
The conservatism of US coin size and design is why we have no half dollar coins in use, and still no circulating dollar coins!!