Author Topic: National coinages: design structure from the 20th century onwards  (Read 1197 times)

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Online <k>

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Re: National coinages: design structure from the 20th century onwards
« Reply #30 on: August 20, 2021, 06:57:54 PM »
















Inevitably, Australia felt the desire to compete with its near neighbour New Zealand. The results were not marvellous. A lively kangaroo appeared on the halfpenny, but a similar kangaroo, facing the opposite way, appeared on the penny. So much for variety. The sixpence retained its old reverse design of the outdated coat of arms, while the updated coat of arms appeared on the florin. The three wheat stalks on the threepence did not make an outstanding design. The ram on the shilling was a fine design, though. Overall, the designs did not fit together well.

See: Predecimal coinage of the Commonwealth of Australia.
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Offline chrisild

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Re: National coinages: design structure from the 20th century onwards
« Reply #31 on: August 21, 2021, 12:22:14 PM »
Also, sometimes a new country (i.e. territory that has just become independent) wants to keep a "low profile". A good example in my opinion is Slovenia: The tolar coins (as from 1991) used various animals for its non-pretentious designs; once the tolar was replaced by the euro, designs were introduced that said "this is our country" a little, hmm, louder.

Quite possibly because the coins were now supposed to stand out among all those circulating coins (euro and cent pieces from other member states of the currency union). Roughly the same thing with the Croatian kuna coins from the 1990s and their planned euro coins. But in such a later phase there may also be the idea of, hey, our country has now been around long enough, we can show what we think represents our history and culture ...

Christian

Offline Figleaf

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Re: National coinages: design structure from the 20th century onwards
« Reply #32 on: August 21, 2021, 01:55:52 PM »
The breakup of Yugoslavia was messy and bloody. I can imagine nobody was proud of being born there. Being admitted to international organisations, let alone euroland, and being taken seriously must indeed have made a difference.

I remember meeting - less than a year from Ceaucescu's death - a group of Romanians whose thinking was along the lines of "Western European countries will never take the Balkan seriously". They couldn't even imagine Romania having an economy to speak of. I am sure a similar group now would have different thoughts.

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

Offline Vincent

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Re: National coinages: design structure from the 20th century onwards
« Reply #33 on: August 22, 2021, 11:24:29 PM »
Not sure but I think so too. Those Norse or Nordic scroll elements are still in use these days - on the Danish 10 kr and 20 kr circulation coins.

The spirals on the Danish 5 øre coin of 1913-23 are copied directly from bronze age art. Similar design elements have been used frequently on later Danish coins. Domestically, the style of these coins (1913-23) is known as skønvirke, which is directly related to the broader European movements of (German) Jugendstil and art nouveau. If you compare the designs of the coins of King Christian IX (mostly designed in the 1870s) with those of Frederik VIII (1906-12) and Christian X (1912-47), it's like night and day. There's nothing wrong with the designs of the Christian IX coins, but if you then compare them to the successors, it seems that they are somewhat lacking in artistic expression.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: National coinages: design structure from the 20th century onwards
« Reply #34 on: August 23, 2021, 12:13:48 AM »
Thank you, Vincent. Art nouveau goes by different names in different countries and it contains approaches that at first sight seem opposed, like Gaudi's natural forms that can seem Gothic and wild to Lalique's perfectionist industrial design to the colourful lithographic posters that swim in symmetry to the severe, straight lines of Mies van der Rohe's architecture. It is so emotional that it's impossible to explain in a few sentences. However, with its precision, its attention to detail and its tendency for abstraction, it is perfectly suited for the tiny surfaces that coins offer.

For me, those Danish coins are global top class designs in that they reflect one of the most important art movements in history as purely as can be, art for art's sake, without a political agenda or a propagandistic afterthought.

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

Offline africancoins

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Re: National coinages: design structure from the 20th century onwards
« Reply #35 on: August 23, 2021, 11:35:31 PM »
Two things that do not seem to have been mentioned yet for this topic are that....

(A) Some changes to the design structure of national coinages came about as the use of gold coins (as normal coins worth their stated face value) was "phased out" around the world.

(B) The Latin Monetary Union that came about in the 19th century had brought about some commonality to the coinages of the relevant group of countries and at least by part way into the 20th century, this commonality started to diminish.

Thanks Mr Paul Baker

Offline Figleaf

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Re: National coinages: design structure from the 20th century onwards
« Reply #36 on: August 24, 2021, 10:53:29 AM »
Most excellent points, Paul. Thank you. Some comments.

In 1901, the standard minting metals were gold, silver and bronze - hence the Olympic medals. I would argue that gold coins as means of payment had been phased out after the Napoleonic wars in a movement towards fiduciary coins led by the UK. They were phased out as store of wealth after the second world war. Silver was phased out in the 1960s as a consequence of the oil crisis, leading into the dollar crisis and the great silver melt, echoed by the Hunt brothers madness.

Bronze is more complicated. It became unpopular as newer, harder alloys became available. The price of copper was deeply depressed when copper telecom cables were replaced by fiber and, later, air waves. When at last the copper reserves had disappeared in the economy again, bronze was reserved for colouring of cheap, ugly metals, as in steel US cents. In the beginning of the century, copper-nickel was popular as silver replacement, only to be overtaken by modern alloys that wear less, don't oxidise fast and are pretty hard, ranging from stainless steel to "Nordic gold".

Another trend is that coins got smaller as it finally dawned on people that the absolute weight and size of a coin has no relation with its value (though there still may be a relation between relative weight and size and denomination)

Peter
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Online <k>

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Re: National coinages: design structure from the 20th century onwards
« Reply #37 on: August 24, 2021, 11:26:06 AM »
It is interesting to see how many gold coins of the 20th century are listed as 'standard circulation coins' on numista.

Italy, 100 lire, 1937 to 1940.
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: National coinages: design structure from the 20th century onwards
« Reply #38 on: August 24, 2021, 11:39:54 AM »
No doubt coin collectors born after say 1975 will argue that plenty of silver coins are still being struck.

The last time gold coins were used as payment in the Netherlands was during the famine of 1944. Needless to say, they were not valued at 10 gulden, though that is their principal denomination. That's why it is important to make a difference between coins as means of payment and as store of value. I am planning a Zoom presentation on fiduciary coins this October.

Peter
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Online <k>

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Re: National coinages: design structure from the 20th century onwards
« Reply #39 on: August 24, 2021, 02:10:14 PM »
A nice article about the Latin Monetary Union: The Euro’s Ancestor: the Latin Monetary Union.
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Online <k>

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Re: National coinages: design structure from the 20th century onwards
« Reply #40 on: August 24, 2021, 02:46:35 PM »
Another trend is that coins got smaller as it finally dawned on people that the absolute weight and size of a coin has no relation with its value (though there still may be a relation between relative weight and size and denomination)

True, and in the UK we clung to our large coins far longer than many other countries.

When decimalisation came in 1971, the decimal penny was much smaller than the old penny, even though the decimal penny was equivalent to 2.4 old pence.

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Online <k>

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Re: National coinages: design structure from the 20th century onwards
« Reply #41 on: August 27, 2021, 08:57:24 PM »
In addition to size, as our forum member africancoins wrote upthread, metal constitutes one of the elements of design structure. Different colours of metal help to form coin families (or coin tiers) within a circulation series, and these help people to distinguish different coins and denominations. Shape too is a factor that became more varied in the 20th century.





Here you see a 20-sided Guadeloupe 1 franc coin of 1903.



In my topic Polygonal coins have many sides and many facets, I asked which was the earliest machine-struck regular circulation coin that was many-sided (polygonal). The coin above was one of the answers that I received, but I am not sure if it is the definitive answer. Some mentioned siege coins and tokens, but my question specifically excluded those.

The scalloped 1907 1 anna coin of British India is another early candidate, from a slightly later date. Nowadays polygonal coins are a common sight and help people distinguish coins easily. The Spanish flower seems to be the most recent new shape, though it is already a few decades old.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2021, 09:14:12 PM by <k> »
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Online <k>

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Re: National coinages: design structure from the 20th century onwards
« Reply #42 on: August 27, 2021, 09:08:53 PM »


UK threepence coin of 1937.


The more differences the better, you could say, where coins are concerned - within reason! In the first half of the 1930s, the UK had only two coin families: bronze and round for the lower denominations, and silver and round for the higher denominations. In 1937, two new factors were added at a stroke when the nickel-brass threepence was introduced. It was yellow in colour and 12-sided, so it formed a new coin family of its own. It quickly became a popular coin and eventually replaced the tiny silver threepence coin, which was unpopular because it was easily lost.

See: UK: three nickel-brass threepence variations of 1936/1937.


Not until 1969 did the UK get another polygonal coin, when the heptagonal 50 pence coin was issued. Back then, nobody guessed that this coin shape - the first of its kind as a regular circulation coin - would go viral in the 21st century.

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Online <k>

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Re: National coinages: design structure from the 20th century onwards
« Reply #43 on: August 27, 2021, 10:21:24 PM »
As our forum member africancoins pointed out, the Latin Monetary Union existed for long enough. Currencies and coinages influence one another, and you occasionally get international systems such as the the Latin Monetary Union or nowadays the euro.

Britain had a global empire, of course, and several colonies and dominions also used the pound sterling (pounds, shilling and pence). Interestingly, the coins lower in value than a shilling often differed in size and shape from their UK counterparts. For instance, only Fiji and then eventually Nigeria (1959) and Jersey (1964) followed the UK's example of introducing a 12-sided nickel-brass threepence. Most preferred to keep their small thin round threepence of silver or copper-nickel. Ireland had a small but chunky nickel threepence, while Guernsey introduced a scalloped threepence in 1956. Jersey issued a round and chunky nickel-brass threepence from 1957 to 1960.

Even the penny, half penny and six pence coin were often of slightly different sizes, even if they were all round and (usually) made of the same metals.

Some British Empire countries never issued a farthing. Australia never issued a half crown. In the 1960s, independent Malawi and Zambia never issued a threepence of any sort.

See: British Empire & Commonwealth: a parade of pre-decimal denominations.






Irish nickel threepence.
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