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Circulation sets with duplicate pictorial designs

Started by <k>, October 22, 2017, 01:12:38 PM

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Vanuatu's first set had two crab and three conch shell designs.
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Tonga, 1967.
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Ghana 1967.jpg

Ghana 1967 set.
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Djibouti.  Ships, boats and camels.

The 1, 2 and 5 francs also carried the same design.
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Switzerland 5 rappen 1981.jpg

Switzerland, 5 rappen, 1981.  Two branches of grape vine

Switzerland 10 rappen 1962.jpg

Switzerland, 10 rappen, 1962.  Two oak branches with acorns.

Switzerland 20 rappen 1981.jpg

Switzerland, 20 rappen, 1981.  Alpine roses.

Switzerland ½  franc 1975.jpg

Switzerland, ½ franc, 1975.  Left: oak branch.  Right: alpine roses.

Switzerland 1 franc 1980.jpg

Switzerland, 1 franc, 1980.  Left: oak branch.  Right: alpine roses.

Switzerland 2  francs 2011.jpg

Switzerland, 2  francs, 2011.  Left: oak branch.  Right: alpine roses.

Switzerland 5 francs 1980.jpg

Switzerland, 5 francs, 1980.  Left: edelweiss.  Right: alpine roses.

The ½ franc, 1 franc and 2 francs all show the same basic reverse design.

It features an oak branch and alpine roses.

Individually, the oak branch appears on the 10 rappen coins.

Individually, the alpine roses appear on the 20 rappen coins.

The roses appear again on the right of 5 franc design.

Could Switzerland not have found some other flowers or trees?

This would have avoided any duplication of designs.

It would also have added diversity to the series.

Though Switzerland is small, it surely hosts many other plants and flowers.

We know that Switzerland is quite a conservative country.

Its coin designs stem from the nineteenth century.

But it is still not too late to diversify these designs.

What do you think? Is it a good idea?

And if so, which flowers / trees / plants would you choose?

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Repetition = laziness? Designing a coin series is to a large extent psychology.  Speed is very important in situations where a large number of transactions are made. The denomination must be established in a split second. This is usually realised with design, colour and size.

A repetition can very well help in identifying a coin as such. Size and colour will determine denomination (presuming size is rigorously connected to denomination). This is especially important if there is repetition on all denominations, such as on the UK coins, all bearing the same portraits. Colour will give a strong hint on denomination and size will do the rest. In this way, if you are handling the coins of the series daily, you don't need to turn a coin around to know its denomination.

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


Size, shape and colour are of course very important when it comes to distinguishing different coins.

Here, though, I am confining myself to the aesthetics of the particular side of the coin set that has varied designs. Some sets do of course have all different designs on both sides: type the word "sets" in the search box above (top right) then select 'This board' to see some such variations. You mention the UK set, which does indeed have a common obverse of the monarch, but the reverse designs are all different.

So, yes, here I am talking about the aesthetics of the designs of one side of the coins and their consistency. If the ½, 1 and 2 franc coins share a reverse design, would it not be more logical and consistent for the 5, 10 and 20 rappen to share a reverse design? There is of course no law against varying the approach, but here I am merely focusing on what exists and how it might have been done differently. It is a way of inviting visitors to think holistically in design terms. That is just one way of looking at things, of course. As we say in England, there are many ways to crack an egg.  :)

Perhaps there are Swiss citizens who would fret or object if their coin designs were changed. This is really just a suggestion to look at other possibilities as a fun exercise. I am not well enough acquainted with Swiss flora to suggest any different design options. Others may have some pertinent ideas.
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What the Swiss do or not do, and like or not like, with regard to their coins is up to them of course. Seems they like those designs - and we should also keep in mind that some of those designs have been around for almost 150 years. (You could well find a 5 or 10 ct/rp coin from 1879 in circulation these days ...)

Interestingly, the two lowest denominations did get a visual update shortly after WW2. Except that those two (1 and 2 ct/rp) are not used any more; the fiver is the lowest one today.

What I do find quite surprising though (I'm sure I have mentioned that before) is that, while the coin designs are old, the Swiss banknotes do get updated every couple of years. And that does not only apply to security features (a must) but also designs. Almost amazing that the Swiss circulation coins and the Swiss banknotes are from the same country. 8)


I visited Switzerland in 1981. That was the year that the 5 rappen coin was made yellow again, and I received that in change. I received no particularly old coins.

Quotethe Swiss banknotes do get updated every couple of years

Not quite THAT often, I think. There are countries like the USA that retain the same designs, and others - such as England - that update theirs every few years for security reasons. I say England, since Bank of England banknotes are only legal tender in England and Wales, though in practice they are accepted through the UK. I expect you know of that anomalous situation, though.
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Quote from: <k> on January 19, 2023, 10:23:19 PMNot quite THAT often, I think.

About every 20 years. Definitely more often than what they do with coins, and due to updated security features of course. But my primary point was that, while the coins may come across as old-fashioned, the paper money designs - even the previous series - look quite modern to me. In theory Switzerland could have opted for boring "traditional" bank note designs with fancy security features ;D but they did not. The coins however are apparently loved the way they have been for many decades.