Author Topic: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?  (Read 1792 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline <k>

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 21 525
What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
« on: February 11, 2018, 11:07:37 PM »
Some countries or territories seem to issue new design series fairly often. The Isle of Man is probably the best (or worst?) example in modern times. Some countries, such as Mozambique and the Philippines, have issued new design series almost every decade since the 1960s. Malaysia and Singapore have had three since the 1960s.

Some design series are issued all at once: a full new UK design series was issued in 2008; others are issued piecemeal: witness the two Indonesian series of the 1970s and 1990s. Once they are issued, they usually evolve: for instance, the royal shield pound design of the UK 2008 series disappeared in 2017 and has been replaced by a floral design on the new bimetallic pound coin. Over the years, new denominations are typically added and old ones are demonetised.

Sometimes a single design of a series will be replaced: the New Zealand 20 cent coin was introduced in 1967, but its original reverse of a kiwi was removed in 1990, when the new one dollar coin was issued with a different kiwi design, in order that it could be known as the kiwi dollar. New Zealand has never introduced an all-new design series, but because of changes over the years, only the design of the 50 cents coin has endured since 1967. By contrast, Australia still retains its original 5c, 10c, 20c and 50c designs from 1966; its 1c and 2c coins fell prey to inflation and were demonetised. Meanwhile, the design series of Papua New Guinea dates from 1975, and most of it is still intact.

What, then, in your opinion is the ideal life for a design series? And which countries do you think have issued too many design series? I would favour a 25 to 30 year period. A shorter period would in my opinion seem too short; anything longer would seem too long. Admittedly, political events, such as the transformation of Rhodesia into Zimbabwe, sometimes deservedly prompt a change of designs. In my home country, the UK, the first decimal design series lasted 40 years, but I would be in favour of a change of design series with every new monarch.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Offline chrisild

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8 601
  • NW · DE · EU
Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2018, 12:30:32 AM »
In the euro area we currently have two extremes. ;) Crowned heads of state aside, the circulation coin designs can be modified every 15 years. On the other hand, a few years ago the member states got 50 years to adapt their coin designs to the current legal specifications.

The 15 years sound about right for me, as a redesign would only affect one side, and not the size, composition etc. anyway. If the technical specifications are to change too, I would rather give it a few more years, say 20. In Germany (Federal Republic) we had the same designs (of the 1 Pfennig to 1 DM coins) for more than 50 years, and I think that was way too long ...

Christian

Offline Prosit

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3 950
Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2018, 01:25:33 AM »
I would think maybe San Marino would get that distinction.

I have often heard it said in US Numismatics that the coins are designed with a 25 years life while bank notes have a 2-4 year cycle.

As a collector I guess I think the more the merrier.
Dale


Some countries or territories seem to issue new design series fairly often. The Isle of Man is probably the best (or worst?) example in modern times............

Offline Kopper Ken

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 80
Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2018, 02:59:15 AM »
Some US designs (Lincoln Cent) have been around since my grandparents arrived here from the old countries.  Others since my father was born...with some modifications.  We are minting more so the designs are not as deep.  Also we do not use silver anymore so the designs seem rather flat.  We as Americans take change vey sloooooooooooooooowly.

I do like the quarter (25 cent) reverses we had had over the past few decades, and the bicentennial reverses.  The dollars, not the presidential ones are fine also.

KK




Offline Pabitra

  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2 347
Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2018, 03:28:52 AM »
When you say design then do you mean only the obverse or reverse design or metal content too.

As far as UK is concerned, obverse effigy of Her Majesty has seen five changes since 1950s.

The actual reverse design has changed for definitive Pound coin only once ( with non commemorative changes every now and then). 2 Punds changed from Technology to Britannica.

As far metal is concerned, only smaller 5 pence and 10 Pence changed to plated steel.

For most countries, it follows "Rule of 72".
The inflation decides the period in which old coins ( made of proper alloy and not plated materials) become more expensive than face value, to mint.

A country with inflation of 6 percent per annum, will need to have its series changed in 12 years ( = 72/6).

Offline <k>

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 21 525
Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2018, 11:34:36 AM »
In Germany (Federal Republic) we had the same designs (of the 1 Pfennig to 1 DM coins) for more than 50 years, and I think that was way too long

Yes, I wrote a complaint about that set here>:(
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Offline <k>

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 21 525
Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2018, 11:37:18 AM »
I would think maybe San Marino would get that distinction.

Of issuing the most circulation sets? My guess is that most of the 20th century sets didn't actually circulate, but I may be wrong.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Offline <k>

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 21 525
Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2018, 11:58:40 AM »
When you say design then do you mean only the obverse or reverse design or metal content too.

Good question. In my initial post, I meant the reverse designs only. Metal content is down to economic rather than cultural factors.

As far as UK is concerned, obverse effigy of Her Majesty has seen five changes since 1950s.

It's a question worth considering, since monarchs do age like the rest of us. To my knowledge, Queen Victoria had six changes of obverse effigy on the UK coins during her reign. QEII does seem to use Victoria as a model in certain respects: when asked to update her definitive stamp effigy (of which she has had only two, and the last was updated in 1967), she points out that Queen Victoria only ever had one. However, she appears to be happy with multiple standardcoin  effigies, so maybe she is following Victoria's example here too. I think the latest effigy was a step too far and would have been happy to see the Ian Rank Broadley portrait kept to the end of her life - I consider it a classic.



See: andyg's gallery of effigies of Queen Victoria.

 
« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 12:43:43 PM by <k> »
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Offline Figleaf

  • Administrator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 30 758
Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2018, 12:01:18 PM »
I think the answer is: it depends. There's no fixed term, but there are reasons (not) to change and you can't predict how they will operate, the more so since some have an influence on others. Some reasons I can think of immediately:
  • Inflation (see Pabitra's post, but in more general terms, include a change to a softer metal)
  • Succession
  • Seriousness of the country (compare US and Isle of Man)
  • Greed (a function of seriousness)
  • Use as an international currency (compare Switzerland and Austria)
  • Metal price (a special case of inflation, e.g. low copper price when copper cable was replaced by fibre, high gold price when war threatens)
  • Change in art fashion
  • Cultural change (e.g. heraldry)
  • Political change (e.g. the beginning and end of communism
  • War (combination of metal price and political change)
You can probably think of more reasons. This question is a classic case of not enough equations or too many variables.

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

Offline <k>

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 21 525
Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2018, 12:03:24 PM »
As far as UK is concerned, obverse effigy of Her Majesty has seen five changes since 1950s.

The actual reverse design has changed for definitive Pound coin only once ( with non commemorative changes every now and then). 2 Punds changed from Technology to Britannica.

From 1983 to 2007, the UK round pound did not have a standard reverse design. The new bimetallic 12-sided pound so far has had only one design. It remains to be seen whether that changes.

The UK circulation 2 pound coin has had two standard versions, as you mention: the Technology reverse design, and - since 2015 - Britannia. These ran alongside yearly changes for "special" designs, though I believe in the early years there was not always a special bimetallic 2 pound design.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Offline <k>

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 21 525
Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2018, 12:05:36 PM »
Some reasons I can think of immediately: ...

Peter

A nicely succinct list, probably listing all the major reasons.  8)
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Offline <k>

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 21 525
Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2018, 12:41:04 PM »
What, then, in your opinion is the ideal life for a design series? I would favour a 25 to 30 year period.

Here I will attempt to list those countries which are more than overdue for a update, by confining myself to countries that have not had an update of their reverse designs since the 1970s or earlier. I invite you to participate and help me expand and correct my list.  ;)  When finished, I will arrange my list neatly in a table.



Country plus year of introduction of design series.

Australia. 1966.
Bahamas. 1966 - remnants are left (2 designs?).
Barbados 1973
Bermuda 1970
Bhutan ?
Bolivia ?
Botswana - some remnants or a total redesign?
Brunei ?
Burundi ?
Canada. 1937.
Cayman Islands.
Chile?
China?
Comoros?
Costa Rica?
Cuba?
Djibouti?
East Caribbean States?
Egypt?
El Salvador?
Ethiopia. 1977.
Falkland Islands. 1974.
Fiji. 1969. Some designs retained on one side of the coin.
Gambia.
Guatemala.
Honduras.
Israel.
Jamaica 1969. Some remnants?
Kenya. 1966.
Kuwait?
Lebanon?
Lesotho. 1979.
Liberia?
Madagascar. 1960s/1970s hybrid set.
Malawi. 1964.
Mauritius? Remnants?
New Caledonia?
Nigeria. 1973. Remnants?
Panama?
Papua New Guinea. 1975.
Paraguay?
Peru?
Reunion?
Sri Lanka?
Suriname.
Swaziland. 1974.
Switzerland. 1860s?
Taiwan?
Tanzania. 1966. Remnants?
Thailand?
United Arab Emirates. 1973.
Venezuela?
Vietnam?
USA? Earliest remnant?

 
« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 08:28:27 PM by <k> »
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Offline FosseWay

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3 307
  • Göteborg, Sverige
Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2018, 04:19:24 PM »
I would say the ideal is for a series to last as long as possible. Few series, few countries and few politico-economic realities live up to that ideal, thus necessitating change sooner or later.

A long-lasting series implies the following:

- economic stability (no rampant inflation necessitating major changes),
- political stability and acceptability (no sudden regime change and no political symbols that become unacceptable over time - this need not just be obvious examples like hammers, sickles and swastikas, but also e.g. references to colonialism),
- classic, timeless designs that people continue to like,

all of which are positive attributes in most people's view.

If you fulfil those three criteria you will naturally have a long-lasting series on your hands; of course, it is entirely possible for governments in the name of change for its own sake to insist on new designs, but I don't see that that is in itself a good thing. If one well-designed series of coins is exchanged for another successful series, great. But if the replacement is mediocre or worse, then the fact its predecessor was replaced is not ideal, however long the previous design was in use.

Trying to put a figure in years on the lifespan of coin types without reference to either the nature of the designs or the surrounding politico-economic situation strikes me as a solution looking for a problem.  ;)

Offline <k>

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 21 525
Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2018, 04:33:43 PM »
A long-lasting series implies the following:

- economic stability (no rampant inflation necessitating major changes),
- political stability and acceptability (no sudden regime change and no political symbols that become unacceptable over time - this need not just be obvious examples like hammers, sickles and swastikas, but also e.g. references to colonialism),
- classic, timeless designs that people continue to like,

Nothing lasts for ever, of course, and perfection is rarely achievable. And that is perhaps the subtext of your points.

Quote
If one well-designed series of coins is exchanged for another successful series, great. But if the replacement is mediocre or worse, then the fact its predecessor was replaced is not ideal, however long the previous design was in use.

In this regard I think of the UK jigsaw series of 2008. The Ironside series that preceded it was adequate, if not mediocre. The jigsaw series is disappointing from a cultural and artistic point of view: heraldry in the 21st century(!) and one design spread across all but two of the coins.  ::)  So I did groan when we got that set.

Quote
Trying to put a figure in years on the lifespan of coin types without reference to either the nature of the designs or the surrounding politico-economic situation strikes me as a solution looking for a problem.  ;)

Another good point. Though in 2005 the Royal Mint told us that they had a 40 year limit for a UK design series, but I think they just invented that policy and timescale.  :D
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Offline <k>

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 21 525
Re: What is the ideal lifespan for a circulation design series?
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2018, 05:01:54 PM »
Some of Cuba's low denominations carry the same designs as in 1915. Time for an update, but it won't happen while the neo-Stalinists remain in power.

Ethiopia's communistic designs are unchanged since 1977, but Eritrea has broken away during that time.

The designs of Honduras are ancient and boring.

Nicaragua's designs are surely ready for an update. They show a circular wreath - that device is centuries out of date.

Paraguay still has a couple of designs from the 1970s.

Does Sierra Leone actually have a current coinage?

South Korea's designs are looking rather dated. Some are just a re-hash of their 1960s designs.

Sri Lanka also needs a vibrant thematic set.

The United Emirates set dates from the 1970s.

Western Africa (BCEAO) - their currency union designs date from the 1960s and 1970s, in some cases. As for the Central African version, well, they're probably similar.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 05:56:02 PM by <k> »
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.