Author Topic: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity  (Read 1575 times)

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Offline <k>

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Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2017, 09:45:00 PM »
So let's draw some conclusions now.

The countries that kept some or all of the old predecimal designs were:

1] The Gambia

2] Guernsey

3] Ireland

4] Jersey

5] Malawi

6] Rhodesia

7] South Africa

8] Zambia


Of these, Jersey used only a single design in both cases - its coat of arms - so that wasn't difficult.

The Gambia was the only country that reused all its old predecimal designs and did not add any new designs.

Malawi and Zambia reused all their old designs (non-pictorial pennies apart). Note, however, that Malawi reversed its cockerel design.

Rhodesia (predecimal: 1964/8; decimal: 1970s) reused all its old predecimal designs, but these were already dually denominated (apart from the 1968 3 pence), so maybe this is not a clear cut case.

Guernsey, Ireland and South Africa reused some of their old designs. 

Some countries moved a design to a denomination that was not equivalent in value to the predecimal denomination with the same design: Ireland (farthing to 50p); The Gambia (three designs);  Malawi (sixpence to 1 tambala); and South Africa (farthing to ˝ cent). Have I missed any?



The following countries reused design themes but not the same designs. Examples: Australia; Fiji; the UK (portcullis; Britannia); New Zealand; and Nigeria.

Do you have anything to add?

Offline Alan71

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Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2017, 12:10:50 AM »
Is Guernsey unique in (eventually) doing both?  For the 1985 re-designs, it retained both the lily and cow as themes but in both cases they were completely new designs and moved to different denominations.  The new design for the cow theme was moved to the 2p, fairly close to where the old design had started on the 3d.  The lily was moved from the Four Doubles (and a different design on the Eight Doubles) to the 5p and a completely new design on the 1985 50p.

The cow has effectively moved from the highest regular Guernsey denomination of the time (3d) to the second lowest of current times (2p).  The lily has moved from the lowest denominations of the time (Four and Eight Doubles) to the highest regularly-seen Guernsey coin denomination.  Not sure if this reflects how important the lily has become to Guernsey’s economy, and the reduction in the cow/milk’s importance, or whether it was just a random choice!

Offline <k>

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Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2017, 12:18:33 AM »
Is Guernsey unique in (eventually) doing both? 

I'm not sure. I restricted myself to the first decimal sets, though Rhodesia was a bit of a grey area. It would be an interesting exercise to look at later sets, but also very time-consuming. South Africa, for instance, has had three or four decimal sets. For the Isle of Man, I've lost count, though of course it didn't issue a modern predecimal set.

Offline <k>

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Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
« Reply #18 on: October 16, 2017, 12:21:53 AM »
Not sure if this reflects how important the lily has become to Guernsey’s economy, and the reduction in the cow/milk’s importance, or whether it was just a random choice!

It's another task among the many, isn't it - which design to place on which coin. Apparently, for the Irish predecimal coins, they placed the "nobler" animals on the higher denominations, while the pig got the halfpenny! Not sure why the original woodcock deserved to be on the farthing, though. It was promoted eventually, however.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2017, 11:27:18 AM »
Why have you excluded India/Pakistan? This thread is skewed because you consider only very late conversions to the decimal system. While Britain and much of its empire ex North America and the Straits held out until the period 1960-1975, the rest of the world (with some exceptions, like Russia) changed over around the period 1790-1840. In the earlier period, the major pre-occupation was weight. In the period you deal with it was design. Had you included the rest of the world, you would have found that most countries came up with radically different designs.

I suppose that what you have described in this interesting thread is the outcome of a process with multiple variables, working in both directions. Some variables working for retention of design in Britain and former British colonies:
  • Creating continuity on pieces with the same value
  • Retaining symbolism
  • Conservatism and reluctance to change
Some variables working for change:
  • Taking a distance from the colonial power (in Africa in particular, the first series after independence were still heavily British-influenced)
  • Introducing new symbolism and traditions (including dictator's heads on African coins)
  • Using decimalisation to signal a break with the old money
  • Political horseplay and the urge to play with small details for the sake of art
Apart from the first variable, all the variables I can think of are emotional, therefore relatively unpredictable.

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

Offline <k>

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Re: The pound: predecimal to decimal design continuity
« Reply #20 on: October 17, 2017, 11:31:18 AM »
This thread is skewed because you consider only very late conversions to the decimal system.

You are quite right, of course. Being English, I deliberately focused on those coinages that I know well, namely those of the UK, Ireland and the former British Empire. At the very least I should consider making the title of the thread more specific.

Offline <k>

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