Author Topic: Euro design variety  (Read 7667 times)

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Offline chrisild

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Euro design variety
« on: March 23, 2011, 06:06:03 AM »
All those attractive old designs were swept from view, to be replaced by a mere three designs for the bland and insipid euro series, with its bleakly monolithic neo-Stalinist uniformity.

Oh well. The Brits and the euro. Don't let any facts get in the way of your opinion ...

Fortunately there are quite a few other euro countries that do have more than three designs. By the way, the current Maltese designs are the result of a public vote.

Christian

Offline FosseWay

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Euro design variety
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2011, 09:42:14 AM »
Oh well. The Brits and the euro.

Oi! Don't tar us all with the same brush!  ;)

Offline <k>

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Euro design variety
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2011, 09:48:23 AM »
Oh well. The Brits and the euro. Don't let any facts get in the way of your opinion ...

Fortunately there are quite a few other euro countries that do have more than three designs. By the way, the current Maltese designs are the result of a public vote.

Christian

1] I was giving my opinion on the Maltese euro designs. You're old enough to know the difference between facts and opinion.  :P

2] A minority of euro countries have more than three designs, but I was talking specifically about Malta, which does not.

3] The Maltese were not offered more than three designs for their euro series. If they had been, maybe they would have taken the offer up.
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Offline zarazek

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Euro design variety
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2011, 10:20:56 AM »
1] I was giving my opinion on the Maltese euro designs. You're old enough to know the difference between facts and opinion.  :P

2] A minority of euro countries have more than three designs, but I was talking specifically about Malta, which does not.

3] The Maltese were not offered more than three designs for their euro series. If they had been, maybe they would have taken the offer up.


You were giving your opinion, sure, but not on the Maltese euro designs but the currency itself. I'm pretty sure you'd praise the designs, had they appeared on the Maltese lira coins (or better still, Maltese pounds).

Offline <k>

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Euro design variety
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2011, 10:59:23 AM »
You were giving your opinion, sure, but not on the Maltese euro designs but the currency itself. I'm pretty sure you'd praise the designs, had they appeared on the Maltese lira coins (or better still, Maltese pounds).

No, I was not giving my views on the currency itself. Admittedly, for economic reasons, I do not want to see the euro adopted in Britain. That is based on my experience of Britain's ejection from the ERM in 1992. Whether the Continentals want to use the euro is a matter for them, not for me. I just do not like the design format of the euro. You cannot be sure I'd praise the designs if they had appeared on the Maltese lira coins (there are no Maltese pounds), and neither can I, because that is a hypothetical situation. All I know is that I am very fond of some of the old national currency designs now lost, such as those of Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia.
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Offline andyg

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Euro design variety
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2011, 11:08:53 AM »
That is based on my experience of Britain's ejection from the ERM in 1992.

but the ERM was not the Euro
« Last Edit: July 07, 2016, 08:40:08 PM by Niels »
always willing to trade modern UK coins for modern coins from elsewhere....

Offline <k>

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Euro design variety
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2011, 11:13:44 AM »
but the ERM was not the Euro

No, but it was the preliminary to it. It meant that we had to accept an interest rate that was wrong for Britain, just as we would if we had adopted the euro. It severely exacerbated the recession in the UK, and was no laughing matter.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2016, 08:40:17 PM by Niels »
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Offline <k>

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Euro design variety
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2011, 04:40:44 PM »
You don't have to be the euro to have bland designs, of course. In recent years, both India and Romania have switched to very bland designs. Is Romania preparing herself for the euro, I wonder? That country used to have some very distinctive designs, both in the 1990s and in its communist period.

Some countries had such bland designs that a switch to the euro was actually an improvement. Germany is a case in point. It had exceedingly dull and unattractive coins, that didn't even look like a set. Now it has the sexy Brandenburg Gate design on three of its coins, though it is spoilt by having to appear within that banal star-ridden border. There are countries that would not lose, design-wise, by switching to the euro. Poland has incredibly boring designs, and the low relief and lack of sharp detail do nothing to help. They can be safely despatched to the euro gulag. Estonia and Denmark have ultra-boring designs and would lose nothing by joining the euro. I like the Lithuanian horseman, Vytautas, but it is a single design set, and he would surely be retained on any euro coins anyway.

Most European pre-euro coin sets were not worth mourning. The ones that were, are Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ireland, and to some extent, Finland - it had more designs in its pre-euro set.

Of the current non-euro country sets, I would most mourn the loss of Croatia, Iceland, Macedonia and Serbia. Hungary, Albania and the Czech Republic have one or two designs each that stand out. The other countries are not worth worrying about.

As for the current UK set, I do not like the old-fashioned heraldry theme at all. However, the execution of the designs is superb, in the detail, engraving and striking. A lot of thought obviously went into that. I particularly like the cross-hatching on the reverse of the five pence. It's very well done and probably down to modern technology. I doubt it would have been easy or cost-effective to achieve in earlier decades.

There are not many true currency unions in the world, but their designs are even less interesting than the euro. I like the ship design of the East Caribbean States, but their other designs are boring. I am not a monarchist, but as a thematic collector I enjoy portraits, and the QEII portrait on the EC states' coinage is a decent one, and a reasonable way of adding uniformity to the set. The designs of the CFA franc (Africa) are particularly boring. Currency unions need some sort of uniform look, I suppose, and this tends towards blandness of design and mitigates against originality. I do like the designs of the Pacific franc countries, but you wouldn't really guess, looking at their coins, that they are in a currency union.

Economics comes before design, of course, and if I believed the euro was good for Britain, I would happily see the back of the Queen's effigy, the pound sign and Britannia. However, I have deep misgivings about the one-size-fits-all interest rate that accompanies the euro, so I am not in favour, and we already have enough economic problems in the UK anyway.


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Offline chrisild

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Euro design variety
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2011, 06:02:43 PM »
Some countries had such bland designs that a switch to the euro was actually an improvement. Germany is a case in point. It had exceedingly dull and unattractive coins, that didn't even look like a set. Now it has the sexy Brandenburg Gate design on three of its coins, though it is spoilt by having to appear within that banal star-ridden border.

From a British point of view (or maybe just from the POV of "a" British ;) ), that "star-ridden border" may indeed mean nothing. Except that ring shows the Stars of Europe, as they appear on the European flag. In my opinion it makes a lot of sense to have them on our coins - however, it would be better to have that circle on the common European sides. Interesting though that you would find the German coins with that gate in Berlin interesting. I don't.

The fact that the euro coins come in three different "types" (copper-style, brass-style, bimetallic) does in some way suggest three designs. But as you will know, each euro country is free to pick between one and eight designs. Malta picked three. (By the way, the Estonians deliberately picked one only in their euro design vote, even though they had several "multi-type" sets to choose from.) And saying that thirty-five years of Maltese pound and lira coinage provides more variety than three to four years of Maltese euro and cent coinage is a little bit like what some American collectors do when they say that "world coins" (ie. a few hundred countries) provide such a greater variety than their coins (one country) ...

What should not be forgotten either is that in the euro area we have about 20 designs per denomination. A pretty good variety methinks. Of course not every piece will be equally common everywhere; so what? The point is that it does not make sense to say that "the Maltese" have only three designs etc.  And in a couple of years we may have some more euro coin types from new euro countries. By that time, the UK will hopefully have left the Union, so that this will not be an issue anyway.

Just my opinion, sure. Just as what you wrote about, quote, "monolithic neo-Stalinist uniformity". Rant off, I will now continue to enjoy dealing with those filthy $1 notes they have around here. >:D

Christian

Offline <k>

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Euro design variety
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2011, 08:22:50 PM »
From a British point of view (or maybe just from the POV of "a" British Briton;) ), that "star-ridden border" may indeed mean nothing.

I do of course know what it represents, and it is not meaningless. But from a design POV (my own, of course - who else's would it be?), I find a circle of stars rather unimaginative and banal. Yes, it would look better on the common side.

Interesting though that you would find the German coins with that gate in Berlin interesting. I don't.

It's not interesting that you don't - it just shows that people have different opinions. You are a semi-Frenchified Rhinelander anyway, and not a Berliner. From my POV, that gate is highly symbolic and resonant, for all sorts of reasons. It's most associated with Bismarck and the Prussians, of course, but it also came to symbolise the Communist / democratic split in post-second-world-war Europe: the split between East and West. And it was the Wall coming down in Berlin, and the fact that you could once more walk through the gate (something I had never expected to see in my lifetime), that best symbolised for me the end of Communism. Remember too that I lived in West Berlin for a year, so I had seen that gate on more than one occasion, and so for me, from that moment of the Wall coming down, it became a positive symbol, and remains so.

The fact that the euro coins come in three different "types" (copper-style, brass-style, bimetallic) does in some way suggest three designs. But as you will know, each euro country is free to pick between one and eight designs. Malta picked three.

If you look at the designs that were on offer, there weren't eight. The government must have chosen beforehand to go with three.

And saying that thirty-five years of Maltese pound and lira coinage provides more variety than three to four years of Maltese euro and cent coinage is a little bit like what some American collectors do when they say that "world coins" (ie. a few hundred countries) provide such a greater variety than their coins (one country) ...

No, you've got it all wrong. I'm not saying that - I'm saying that in my view, if you compare the 1972 Maltese set with the current Maltese euro set, the 1972 set is far more interesting and better designed and sculpted - not least because of the fact that the Maltese government and/or public chose to run with only three designs for the euro. Likewise, the 1986 Maltese set is far superior and more interesting in design terms, I find, than the euro set - again, not least because the euro set contains only three rather simplistic designs. So, yes, in terms of variety, eight designs or so will surely trump a mere three designs.


What should not be forgotten either is that in the euro area we have about 20 designs per denomination. A pretty good variety methinks.

Aha, now you're getting tricksy, eh? You know of course that I was comparing national set with national set. And in some cases, and certainly in the case of Malta, the pre-euro sets were more interesting and of higher quality in design terms - though not all: I have already pointed out that German and various other pre-euro sets were no loss in design terms. Yes, you do have a much greater variety of individual coins now in euroland, and that is fun and interesting in itself, just as it is in the Channel Isles, where typically three different coinages circulate. It still doesn't change the fact that variety is not the same as high quality of design, and that a greater variety of design existed pre-euro in euroland, even if mostly behind its own borders. And the tendency of only three designs per country to be chosen of late is a sign of the tendency to uniformity in a currency union.

And in a couple of years we may have some more euro coin types from new euro countries. By that time, the UK will hopefully have left the Union, so that this will not be an issue anyway.
Is it an issue? I was talking about design, not politics. Beyond my economic desire that the UK should not adopt the euro (and given the strength of UK opinion on that, I have no need to worry for the next two decades, by which time I may well have popped my clogs), the euro is only an issue for me in design terms. I have no hidden agenda. If the eurolanders think they are better off with the euro, that is their opinion, and in the case of Benelux, they may well be right, and I'm not going to try to advise them how to run their country. As for the political and economic arguments, well, there is more than one side to the topic: the Scandinavians in general don't want the euro for themselves either. But why you should hope the UK will have left the EU, I don't know. That's surely down to the UK, not you, and is rather spiteful of you. The quality of euro design will still be an issue for me as a numismatist whether the UK is in or out - and for what it's worth, I don't see any point in leaving.

Just my opinion, sure. Just as what you wrote about, quote, "monolithic neo-Stalinist uniformity".

As someone who has often said that communism wasn't so bad really, and certainly not so bad as Nazism, I thought you would have no objection to that "neo-Stalinist" epithet, which was meant to add a bit of colour to what could have been a dull piece. Myself, I think that anybody who is prepared to put their ideology above human life is execrable, so for me that makes the communists ("class" warriors) and Nazis ("race" warriors) equally bad. Now, of course, at a time when the UK prime minister is grandstanding about Libya and wasting millions of pounds on sending the military into this uncertain conflict, I do have problems with what to make of it, for sure.

Rant off, I will now continue to enjoy dealing with those filthy $1 notes they have around here. >:D
Not like you to rant at all, Christian.  ???  And I thought you liked the US of A? When I was in Switzerland, I found it remarkably clean, but it wasn't long before I got tired of the constant hygiene and longed for a bit of honest English grime. I expect you're just pining for a bit of monolithic neo-Stalinist uniformity (of design), but don't worry - this won't last forever, and you'll be home again soon!

Parliamentarily yours,

coffeetime

(Coin Design Moderator).  ;)
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Offline <k>

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Re: Euro design variety
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2011, 09:29:26 PM »
Well, members are taking sides now in the great euro design war, and I have just gained a very influential ally:

http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,8597.msg56826#msg56826

 8)

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Offline <k>

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Re: Euro design variety
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2011, 09:58:12 PM »
The Maltese euro has three designs: the Maltese cross; the Maltese coat of arms; and the design below, being the only "thematic" one:



Could any child have done it? Is it not an example of the aesthetically challenged, poverty-stricken design of your average euro coin?
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Offline FosseWay

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Re: Euro design variety
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2011, 10:38:47 PM »
the QEII portrait on the EC states' coinage is a decent one

The current (2002 onwards) portrait on ECS coins is the same as that on UK coinage, namely the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy. From 1981 to 2000 they used the Machin portrait.

The previous one is, I believe, the same as that used on predecimal Jersey coins, the 1950s/60s mil coins of Cyprus and the coins of Hong Kong of a similar period.

(As an aside, when as a child of 9 or 10 I first felt the need to describe and catalogue my collection on paper, I ascribed names and abbreviations to the various effigies of British monarchs. For Elizabeth II, I had 'young head' (YH) (the Gillick crown-less portrait), 'Machin head' (obvious) and, when the Maklouf portrait came out I called it 'old head' (OH) by analogy with Queen Victoria. Little did I know in 1985 that there'd be another one along in 13 years. Anyway, I then came across this peculiar effigy of the Queen that was used only on the non-British coins of her extended realm, which was a kind of Gillick portrait with a crown. Because it wasn't used on homeland coins, I called it 'foreign head' (FH) and thus it has remained in my records ever since.)

Offline <k>

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Re: Euro design variety
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2011, 10:42:52 PM »
Anyway, I then came across this peculiar effigy of the Queen that was used only on the non-British coins of her extended realm, which was a kind of Gillick portrait with a crown. Because it wasn't used on homeland coins, I called it 'foreign head' (FH) and thus it has remained in my records ever since.)

That one was by Cecil Thomas. I much prefer it to Gillick's - it's unfair to CT to compare his more realistic and rather more modern design with hers. What name did you give to GVI's crowned portrait by Percy Metcalfe?
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Offline andyg

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Re: Euro design variety
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2011, 10:54:45 PM »

(As an aside, when as a child of 9 or 10 I first felt the need to describe and catalogue my collection on paper, I ascribed names and abbreviations to the various effigies of British monarchs. For Elizabeth II, I had 'young head' (YH) (the Gillick crown-less portrait), 'Machin head' (obvious) and, when the Maklouf portrait came out I called it 'old head' (OH) by analogy with Queen Victoria. Little did I know in 1985 that there'd be another one along in 13 years. Anyway, I then came across this peculiar effigy of the Queen that was used only on the non-British coins of her extended realm, which was a kind of Gillick portrait with a crown. Because it wasn't used on homeland coins, I called it 'foreign head' (FH) and thus it has remained in my records ever since.)

I sometimes wonder what future collectors will call these portraits, We don't call Victoria's portraits as Wyon head, Boehm head and Brock head instead preferring YH, JH and OH.

So far we have YH (Gillick), and OH (Rank-Broadley) but what to call the middle portraits?
NAOAOH maybe (no-as-old-as-old-head 8))
Maybe the next will be EOH (even older head) since it is now 13 years again since the last portrait.  A new portrait for the Golden Jubilee maybe?

I once wrote a short thread containing scans of the various portraits here,
http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,4364.0.html
always willing to trade modern UK coins for modern coins from elsewhere....