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The design of modern commemorative coins

Started by <k>, March 01, 2018, 03:20:20 PM

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<k>

There are many ways to design a commemorative coin. Let's look at some examples and then draw some conclusions.
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<k>

#1
Each coin has an obverse and a reverse side. A commemorative design can appear on one side or both.





Jamaica altered the legend on its halfpenny and penny in 1969 to commemorate the Jamaican Coinage Centennial.

So, the commemorative part was limited to one side of the coin, and only the legend was altered.

However, years later, would you know what it commemorates? That should have been made clear.

See also: Altered legend with same or similar design.
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<k>

#2


Belize, 5 cents, 1981.  World Food Day.


Another way to commemorate something is with a simple text legend, that is not merely an alteration of the existing legend.

It is not a particularly interesting way of commemorating something, however. Or do you disagree?

See also: Commemorative coin designs consisting entirely of text.
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<k>

#3


UK, 2 pounds, 2018.  Bicentenary of the publication of "Frankenstein", by Mary Shelley.


The text can be made more interesting by varying the font or placing it on a special background.
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<k>

#4
UK 50p 2005-Johnson's Dictionary.jpg


In 2005 the UK issued a special 50 pence coin.

UK commemorated the 250th anniversary of Samuel Johnson's "A Dictionary of the English Language".

It used only text, skilfully arranged.
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<k>

#5
UK 2 pounds 2012.jpg

UK, 2 pounds, 2012.  Charles Dickens.

In recent years we have seen commemorative designs with pictures made out of text.
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<k>

#6
Next I will consider pictorial elements of commemorative designs.

The simplest method is to take an existing design and add one or two pictorial elements to it.

Here, I cannot think of a good example, so I will used some unadopted examples from the UK.




The standard reverse of the UK circulation 50 pence from 1982 to 2007.











1982 was the year that marked the 75th anniversary of the Scouting Movement and the 125th anniversary of the birth of its founder, Lord Baden-Powell.

The UK briefly considered commemorating these anniversaries by adding the Scouting emblem to the standard 50 pence design.

This would have made a charming design, in my opinion.

However, the theme of commemoration was not made explicit.

It was therefore possible that many people would not have recognised the Scouting emblem.

See also: UK Scouting 50 pence proposal for 1982.


Do you know of any commemorative coins that have used this strategy of altering an existing pictorial design or adding elements to it?
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<k>

#7


East Caribbean States, 1 dollar, 1981. This ship was standard on the previous coins too.




East Caribbean States, 10 dollars, 1981.  Royal Wedding of Charles and Diana.


Here I have found an example that I recently posted in another topic.

The reverse of the standard design was altered to include a map of the islands, and "ROYAL WEDDING" has been added to the legend.


This design raises some questions. In what way does the inclusion of the islands commemorate the occasion?

There have been many royal weddings. The legend "ROYAL WEDDING" does not specify WHICH wedding.


This makes the East Caribbean States seem unenthusiastic about the occasion.

Perhaps then they should not have bothered to commemorate it on a coin.
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<k>

#8


Jamaica, 5 shillings, 1966.


Here we have a commemorative coin whose reverse design is original and not an alteration of an existing design.

The reverse consists mainly of text, which covers most of the coin's surface, with a decorative element of a chain around the rim.

The text makes the occasion quite explicit, but in itself it is rather ordinary.

The pictorial elements, the crown and chain, do not add much to the design.

Nor is it clear to me how the chain is pertinent to the event that is commemorated.

Does anybody know?
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See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

#9


UK, 2 pounds, 2007.


Many commemorative designs use symbolic elements, rather than realistic pictorial designs.

Such symbolic designs are often rather simplistic.

Some think the design above, which commemorates the abolition of slavery, is very effective.

It strikes me as too simplistic, though.
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<k>

#10



Slovenia, 5 tolar, 1995.  50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

Another symbolic chain design, but one that does not include the chain as part of the text.
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<k>

#11
Afghanistan 5 afghani 1981.jpg

Afghanistan, 5 afghanis, 1981.  World Food Day.


Some commemorative designs use a recognised logo.

In this case it was the logo of the Food and Agricultural Organisation.
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<k>

#12


East Caribbean States, $10, 1981.


Here we see the logo again. It was used as part of an international commemorative series.

Some commemorative series are planned to be international, which can be very interesting for collectors.

However, the repeated use of the logo is unimaginative, in my opinion.
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<k>

#13


Isle of Man, half penny, 1976.




Many FAO-themed designs simply added an extra legend to an existing design, of course.

Not a very interesting approach - or do you like and collect such variations?
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<k>



Mauritius, 10 rupees, 1981.  World Food Day.  A worker harvesting sugar cane.




A properly designed pictorial scene is much more interesting that symbolic designs, logos or altered legends, of course. The lively agricultural scene above was designed by Robert Elderton.






Some commemorative designs are so attractive that they are later used as standard designs.

The FAO-themed design of 1981 was reprised on the heptagonal circulation 10 rupees, first issued by Mauritius in 1997.
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