Author Topic: Gambia's predecimal to decimal design transition  (Read 1454 times)

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Offline <k>

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Gambia's predecimal to decimal design transition
« on: October 14, 2017, 09:31:18 PM »
When various former British colonies and Dominions started transitioning from pounds, shillings and pence to a decimal currency, they occasionally liked to retain some design themes, or in some cases the pictorial designs themselves, from the predecimal coinage.

Ireland was an interesting case - see Ireland's hybrid decimal design series. The Irish transferred Metcalfe's bull and fish from the shilling and florin to the 5 pence and 10 pence respectively, because they were equivalent in value (1 shilling = 5 pence; 1 florin = 10 pence). Originally, the Irish had wanted to retain most of the old Metcalfe designs, but they decided that they could only do this if the values of the old and new coins (e.g. shilling and five pence) matched. The decimal ½ penny, penny and 2 pence did not match any predecimal coin, therefore the Irish thought mass confusion would ensue, and they chose some new, non-Metcalfe designs instead.

The Malawians, by contrast, did not seem to worry that their people might (wrongly) regard the 1 tambala as being equivalent in value to a sixpence (worth 5 tambala), just because both featured a cockerel. I suppose it helped that the two coins were also of a different size and metal. The Irish, meanwhile, had no qualms about moving the woodcock from the lowly farthing to the heptagonal 50 pence (the highest decimal denomination), because the two were very different in size and metal (and also shape), but more importantly the farthing had been defunct for about a decade by the time the 50p was issued.

After looking at these two cases, I wondered how the Gambians had managed their transition. After all, they retained most of the old designs from their predecimal set.

Offline <k>

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Re: Gambia's predecimal to decimal design transition
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2017, 09:33:16 PM »
Gambia adopted the dalasi in 1971. It replaced the Gambian pound at a rate of 1 pound = 5 dalasi, so 1 dalasi = 0.2 pound = 4 shillings. In modern British terms, that meant 1 dalasi was equal to 20 pence (or 4 shillings).

In 1971 coins of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 bututs and 1 dalasi were introduced. Let's look at their designs.

Offline <k>

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Re: Gambia's predecimal to decimal design transition
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2017, 09:35:22 PM »


The six pence was the equivalent of 12½ bututs, but there was no decimal coin of that denomination. So where did the design go? Onto the 1 butut coin.  8)

Offline <k>

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Re: Gambia's predecimal to decimal design transition
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2017, 09:40:18 PM »


The penny, which was the equivalent of approximately 2.1 bututs, featured a yacht. There was no 2 bututs coin, so it went onto the 5 bututs instead. Both coins were bronze.

Offline <k>

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Re: Gambia's predecimal to decimal design transition
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2017, 09:43:50 PM »


The double-spurred francolin had been featured on the 3 pence coin. In value, the coin was equivalent to 6¼ bututs. The design was transferred to the 10 bututs coin. Both coins were made of nickel-brass.




Offline <k>

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Re: Gambia's predecimal to decimal design transition
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2017, 09:45:35 PM »


The shilling was equal to 25 bututs, so it was logical to migrate the palm tree design to that coin.




Offline <k>

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Re: Gambia's predecimal to decimal design transition
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2017, 09:47:43 PM »


Two shillings were equal to 50 bututs, so it was logical to migrate the ox design to that coin.





 
« Last Edit: December 17, 2017, 04:46:53 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Gambia's predecimal to decimal design transition
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2017, 09:50:09 PM »


4 shillings were equal to 1 dalasi, so it was logical to migrate the crocodile design to that coin.






Offline <k>

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Re: Gambia's predecimal to decimal design transition
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2017, 09:58:38 PM »
An 8 shillings coin was issued in 1970, featuring a hippopotamus, but that coin was a collector coin only, so I will not include it here.

However, we see that where the Gambians could match a predecimal denomination to a corresponding decimal denomination, they did so, and additionally they kept the reverse design.

Where the decimal denominations had no predecimal equivalent, the Gambians still gave them a design from the old coinage anyway. For instance, the 6 pence was worth 12½ bututs, yet its yacht design was transferred to the 1 butut coin - that's a vast difference in value.

Meanwhile the Irish did not dare adopt such a policy with their Metcalfe designs, for fear of confusing their citizens. The Gambians appeared to have no such fear. How did the Gambians fare with the changeover? I would suspect that there was maybe some minor confusion at first, until they got used to the new coins and system. However, since most of us use coins each and every day, practice makes perfect, and people very quickly learn the new system. This I know from experience in the UK during the transition to decimalisation. The conclusion must be that the Irish made a huge mistake in introducing the hideously hybrid designs of their decimal coinage and in not trusting their citizens. Such an undemocratic country surely deserves to be thrown out of the EU.  :o

Offline <k>

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Re: Gambia's predecimal to decimal design transition
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2017, 10:20:00 PM »
   Design      Predecimal      Metal      Value      Decimal      Metal   
   Yacht      1 penny      Bronze      2.083 bututs      5 bututs      Bronze   
   Francolin      3 pence      Nickel-brass      6.25 bututs      10 bututs      Nickel-brass   
   Peanuts      6 pence      Copper-nickel      12.5 bututs      1 butut      Bronze   
   Oil palm      1 shilling      Copper-nickel      25 bututs      25 bututs      Copper-nickel   
   Ox      2 shillings      Copper-nickel      50 bututs      50 bututs      Copper-nickel   
   Crocodile      4 shillings      Copper-nickel      1 dalasi      1 dalasi      Copper-nickel   

Offline <k>

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Re: Gambia's predecimal to decimal design transition
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2017, 10:23:33 PM »
Interestingly, only the peanuts design was moved onto a coin of a different metal: from the copper-nickel 6 pence to the bronze 1 butut.

Offline Alan71

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Re: Gambia's predecimal to decimal design transition
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2017, 11:09:45 PM »
Interesting.  I wasn’t familiar with coins from The Gambia.  I’m assuming the pre-decimal coins were to the same specifications as UK ones, and therefore some of the decimal equivalents retained these specifications.  I wonder if they are still using them now.

Interesting that the pre-decimal coins contained the Arnold Machin portrait of the Queen but with no reference to who she was!  The design looks quite good with no inscriptions around the edge.

Offline <k>

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Re: Gambia's predecimal to decimal design transition
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2017, 11:17:42 PM »
The coins were somewhat smaller than their UK counterparts. Additionally, the UK never had a round brass threepence - though I believe Jersey did. Check out the specs:

https://en.numista.com/catalogue/gambie-1.html

 
« Last Edit: August 14, 2018, 05:17:23 PM by <k> »

Offline Alan71

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Re: Gambia's predecimal to decimal design transition
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2017, 12:11:24 AM »
Yes, Jersey did initially have a round threepence, but later changed it to match the UK specifications.

Didn’t they do a survey a few years ago to see how much people knew about who and what appears on the coins?  I seem to remember reading that under 50% knew it was the present Queen on the coins, with some believing it was Queen Victoria.  I could barely believe what I was reading!  It’s only in recent years that people have taken much interest in what’s on the coins in their pockets.

The “Queen wearing a necklace” thing on the 1997 £2 coins (giving rise to the urban myth that the coins were rare) always amused me.  Yes, she is wearing a necklace on the Maklouf portrait but to me it’s far more obvious that the Rank-Broadley portrait was a completely different design showing a much older woman.  I’m not sure I’d have picked out the necklace as a way of describing the Maklouf.  It is fascinating how the non-collectors think.

Offline <k>

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