Author Topic: US Coin design  (Read 1299 times)

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Offline brandm24

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Re: US Coin design
« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2019, 08:49:48 PM »
You're right, Dale, Barber was very upset about being passed over. In my opinion I'm glad he was because the Barber designs are very much lacking. One of my least favorite series.

Bruce
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Offline gpimper

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Re: US Coin design
« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2019, 09:04:17 PM »
Agree, not so much a fan.  We should gotten rid of the penny years ago.  Costs more to mint than it's worth   ???
« Last Edit: November 01, 2019, 02:53:38 PM by gpimper »
The Chief...aka Greg

Offline Prosit

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Re: US Coin design
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2019, 12:15:50 AM »
I agree, not too inspiring.  However with the passing of enough time they have become interesting and desirable in their own right, artistic merit aside. For instance, I love the Washington Quarter series although Dead President coins are not my idea of what coins should depict. Not even sure I have a single Barber coin...I will look...looks like I have one well worn 1902 Barber Dime (Liberty Head).

Dale

Agree, not so much a fan.

Offline gpimper

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Re: US Coin design
« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2019, 03:07:38 PM »
One of my favorites.  She's a bit worn and I have better but this was my first.  Found it in a parking lot in a small town in Arizona when I was 10 :-)  Williams Arizona just off the old Kingman rail road (now off I-40).  Wonderful place to explore.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2019, 04:26:03 PM by gpimper »
The Chief...aka Greg

Offline brandm24

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Re: US Coin design
« Reply #19 on: November 01, 2019, 06:11:09 PM »
The devices are crowded on the planchet, but it works for me, Greg. One of my favorite modern era U.S. Coins.

Yours is pretty nice for a parking lot coin...couldn't have been there very long before you rescued it.

Do you have a big herd of Buffaloes?

Bruce
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: US Coin design
« Reply #20 on: November 01, 2019, 06:31:37 PM »
Here's another aspect of US coins that differs from European usage. That bison's model was a bison. That Indian's model was an Indian. Both their names are known. Jump forward and you will find that on some US coin, an Indian woman posed as an Indian woman. In other words, there is a tendency to use models that don't need to dress up (at least in principle). Now think back to the three classical ladies made by people who studied and lived in Paris. Their three models all had to dress up and they didn't have a Greek classical nose either :)

The person who first broke with the tradition of reflecting stuff as nature made it was Vincent van Gogh. He was succeeded by generations of impressionists, expressionists and unclassifiable modern artists, whose only common ground was that if you want a picture of things as how they look, use a camera and don't waste paint. What counts is not the exterior of the subject, but the idea, concept or emotion that is the subject.

Sure enough, there are US exponents of modern art, but try to think of the best of them. Ever heard of Mary Cassatt or Frank Benson? Which US painter worked in the style of Picasso? Still, I am sure you heard of Andy Warhol, Ansel Adams and Norman Rockwell. What these three have in common is photographic precision.

At this point, have a look at the portraits of queen Beatrix. Remember she is not an ornament on the reverse, but a symbol of the nation. There are still naturalistic portraits in European countries, but most are on the coins of the UK and its outposts. Denmark's queen Margarethe is natural on her coins also. She considers herself an artist and rumour is that had a hand in the design of the coins. Even Roty's portrait of the sower, dating from before the first world war, has now been adapted to modern art ideas on the French euro coins. You recognise naturalistic portraiture immediately because one ruler will need several portraits as the ruler gets older. No such need when you use a stylised portrait.

So here is another example of how collectors from different parts of the world look differently on what contemporary style is. You like the nickel because you are used to seeing naturalistic style. The design is timeless to you. To a Western European, used to art that rejects natural precision, it looks old-fashioned. A coin collector may look at it, nod and like the wear on the nickel because it gives the portraits a nice "soft focus" quality.

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

Offline gpimper

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Re: US Coin design
« Reply #21 on: November 01, 2019, 08:21:52 PM »
Speaking of failed Dollar coins.  I was always a fan of the Susan B Anthony but it just never really took off.  (Bruce, I have a herd of Guinea Pigs ;-)
The Chief...aka Greg

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Re: US Coin design
« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2019, 08:25:34 PM »
The following topic includes Black Diamond from the nickel and also Peter the Mint Bird: Animals: known individuals and models

Offline brandm24

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Re: US Coin design
« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2019, 11:11:42 AM »
Here's another aspect of US coins that differs from European usage. That bison's model was a bison. That Indian's model was an Indian. Both their names are known. Jump forward and you will find that on some US coin, an Indian woman posed as an Indian woman. In other words, there is a tendency to use models that don't need to dress up (at least in principle). Now think back to the three classical ladies made by people who studied and lived in Paris. Their three models all had to dress up and they didn't have a Greek classical nose either :)

The person who first broke with the tradition of reflecting stuff as nature made it was Vincent van Gogh. He was succeeded by generations of impressionists, expressionists and unclassifiable modern artists, whose only common ground was that if you want a picture of things as how they look, use a camera and don't waste paint. What counts is not the exterior of the subject, but the idea, concept or emotion that is the subject.

Sure enough, there are US exponents of modern art, but try to think of the best of them. Ever heard of Mary Cassatt or Frank Benson? Which US painter worked in the style of Picasso? Still, I am sure you heard of Andy Warhol, Ansel Adams and Norman Rockwell. What these three have in common is photographic precision.

At this point, have a look at the portraits of queen Beatrix. Remember she is not an ornament on the reverse, but a symbol of the nation. There are still naturalistic portraits in European countries, but most are on the coins of the UK and its outposts. Denmark's queen Margarethe is natural on her coins also. She considers herself an artist and rumour is that had a hand in the design of the coins. Even Roty's portrait of the sower, dating from before the first world war, has now been adapted to modern art ideas on the French euro coins. You recognise naturalistic portraiture immediately because one ruler will need several portraits as the ruler gets older. No such need when you use a stylised portrait.

So here is another example of how collectors from different parts of the world look differently on what contemporary style is. You like the nickel because you are used to seeing naturalistic style. The design is timeless to you. To a Western European, used to art that rejects natural precision, it looks old-fashioned. A coin collector may look at it, nod and like the wear on the nickel because it gives the portraits a nice "soft focus" quality.

Peter

I do like naturalistic design mostly, Andrew Wyeth, and Norman Rockwell being among my favorites (not a fan of Warhol). But strangely I also  admire the art of Van Gogh  and some of the Impressionists, particularly Monet. Two polar opposites, they. Generally, I'm not attracted to art with "sharp corners" (Picasso), or pieces that can be interpreted a hundred different ways. If the artist is presenting a portrait of a dog, I want it to pretty much look like a dog. Maybe I'm just a lazy viewer who doesn't want to think too much about what I'm looking at. It spoils the fun for me.

As far as U.S. coin design is concerned, I pretty lose interest after the Buffalo, Mercury, Standing and Walking Liberty designs made their exit. Our coinage was very bland and uninspiring until the State Quarters came along and some of the newer series.
They're better but still don't attract me to collecting them. My favorites have always been the many renditions of "Liberty" portrayed on earlier issues. These allegorical figures are much more appealing than our tendency to celebrate "dead presidents" on coinage. That's changing, but maybe not quickly enough.

Bruce
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Offline brandm24

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Re: US Coin design
« Reply #24 on: November 02, 2019, 11:20:24 AM »
I respectfully disagree about the Susan B. Anthony, Greg. This coin to me is UGLY. The design is amateurish, especially the reverse eagle. They did this important historical figure no favor by portraying her this way. Yikes!

Bruce
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: US Coin design
« Reply #25 on: November 02, 2019, 11:42:42 AM »
Just a final, perhaps pedantic point about naturalism. Compare the portrait on the dollar with that on the portrait I borrowed from Wikipedia. I would argue the designer got it almost right. Don't look at the skin. The coin is worn and an engraving doesn't show skin defects. What remains is the nose. It's only slightly different on the coin, but it turns the look from "determined" to "witchy" (horrible shortcut, but it serves brevity) Humans are really very good in recognising faces, better than putting a name to them). That look is a breach of naturalism.

Now consider the circumstances. This coin's mission was to replace the paper dollar. It didn't have a shadow of a chance. First and foremost, Crane paper somehow didn't like the idea of doing away with paper dollars and they had a strong lobby in Congress. Never mind the savings, think of my profits! Let the hoi-polloi subsidise the rich. Second, human inertia. People dislike change. Any change, but most of all big change. Their main argument sounds like childish whining to me: it's so heavy. Some must have realised how tinny it sounded. Perhaps they were among the ones who came up with the argument: it's ugly. More highbrow, but just as supportive of common human inertia.

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

Offline brandm24

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Re: US Coin design
« Reply #26 on: November 02, 2019, 01:32:54 PM »
The portrait isn't so bad in its likeness to the real person, but the overall "look" of the coin isn't a good one. I think the reverse is badly executed. Ugly is of course in the eye of the beholder, and I'm beholding ugly, Peter.

The failure of the dollar coin is mostly due to people's aversion to carrying loose change around. Why cart around five chunks of metal when a single piece of currency will do. I've seen numerous instances where people just wouldn't accept them in change. When I worked in retail the small dollars and half dollars would sit in the till unused and unloved. They were always included in the days bank deposit just to get rid of them. The government always tried to push them on the consumer by distributing them in fare boxes, change machines, post offices, etc. It still didn't work.

Bruce
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Offline gpimper

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Re: US Coin design
« Reply #27 on: November 02, 2019, 02:19:31 PM »
Bruce, I can't really disagree.  It was a fun coin to collect, though.  Same design on the reverse as the '72 Eisenhower dollar.  I do agree that folks would rather pull a paper dollar bill out of their wallet than a clunky coin out of their pocket.  Another fail...Sacajawea.  Better design in my opinion but that didn't go anywhere either.  I also agree that the walking liberties were some of the best US coins ever.  I'm especially fond of my '41 half dollar :-)
The Chief...aka Greg

Offline brandm24

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Re: US Coin design
« Reply #28 on: November 02, 2019, 05:04:41 PM »
I agree with you on the Sacajawea Dollar, Greg. A much nicer coin, but it still doesn't do anything for me.

Yeah, the Walkers are beautiful coins. Didn't you show your "41 in a different thread?

Bruce
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Offline gpimper

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Re: US Coin design
« Reply #29 on: November 02, 2019, 05:24:56 PM »
I think it was my '36 but I'll double check.  Love that coin!
The Chief...aka Greg