Author Topic: Comments on "An Alphabet of Heptagons"  (Read 3792 times)

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Offline Figleaf

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Comments on "An Alphabet of Heptagons"
« on: May 24, 2011, 08:35:55 AM »
I can't, but I wonder how many of these were struck in Llantrissant and why you would want to use the shape...

Also, I think I see that some of the coins you show do not have rounded corners.

Peter
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Offline <k>

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Re: Comments on "An Alphabet of Heptagons"
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2011, 10:35:17 AM »
I can't, but I wonder how many of these were struck in Llantrissant and why you would want to use the shape...

Also, I think I see that some of the coins you show do not have rounded corners.

Peter

Since the first heptagonal coins were created by the Royal Mint (now based in Llantrissant, Wales) in 1969, I suspect that the vast majority of the coins shown here were produced by the Mint too. And since, for many years, the Pobojoy Mint (England) also produced the coins and commemoratives of the Isle of Man (which uses the heptagon shape for its 50p and 20p coins), it too must have developed the technology to mint them. A lot of the coins shown come from Commonwealth countries, therefore they have British links, and also from countries with which the Royal Mint has had a contract.

Why would you want to use such a shape? Well, when it was first introduced in 1969, it was considered a novelty and also pleasing to the eye. Many other countries liked the shape and adopted it for their own coins. Since then, the heptagon has been used as a vehicle for many  commemorative issues. It is well suited to such a use, in my opinion. Different shapes, in addition to size and colour, also help to distinguish the coins of a series. And because most of the coins shown above are "equilateral curve heptagons", they can also be used in vending machines.

Your comment on the shape suggests that you do not like it, but the heptagons in my collection are among my favourite coins.  8)
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Comments on "An Alphabet of Heptagons"
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2011, 10:47:58 AM »
My comments were quite neutral and so are my thoughts about the shape. I take coins as they come, not as I want them to be. What is of interest to me is how the idea did or did not catch on.

By default, coins are round. There are all kinds of reasons, but in modern times the major reason is vending machines: they handle round coins with more ease, because they do not have to position them correctly first. For that reason, the rise of the vending machine links with the disappearance of the non-round circulation coin. The heptagon is the exception. My interest is to know why.

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

Offline <k>

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Re: Comments on "An Alphabet of Heptagons"
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2011, 11:03:15 AM »
My comments were quite neutral and so are my thoughts about the shape. I take coins as they come, not as I want them to be. What is of interest to me is how the idea did or did not catch on.

By default, coins are round. There are all kinds of reasons, but in modern times the major reason is vending machines: they handle round coins with more ease, because they do not have to position them correctly first. For that reason, the rise of the vending machine links with the disappearance of the non-round circulation coin. The heptagon is the exception. My interest is to know why.

Peter

The clue is in the phrase "equilateral curve heptagon". It was designed to be able to "roll" in vending machines. And technology in vending machines has got better at detecting and accepting different shapes - not worse.

In the 1970s, German vending machines were accepting UK 5 pence coins (the large size) as 1 DM coins - at times the exchange rate fell as low as 3 Marks to the pound sterling, so the machines would have made a significant loss if they had accepted 5p coins. In this case, both coins were round but a similar size and shape. By 1980, the Germans had designed vending machines that could detect the difference and reject the 5p coins. Technology gets better, not worse.
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Offline <k>

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Re: Comments on "An Alphabet of Heptagons"
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2011, 03:50:19 PM »
I wonder how many of these were struck in Llantrissant.

Peter

You mean the Royal Mint, of course. Between 1968 and 1980 transferred from Tower Hill in London to Llantrisant in Wales. The last coin, a gold sovereign, was struck at Tower Hill in November 1975, and the buildings were finally relinquished in 1980. So, some of the earlier heptagons could have been struck at Tower Hill.

The Royal Mint has a worldwide client base, of course. You can imagine a Royal Mint official showing the UK 50p to a visitor from the Gambia or Barbados, and asking if they would like a similar specification for their country's new coin or denomination.

Curiously, in the 1970s, the Royal Mint produced all the overseas heptagonal coins to the same specifications as the UK 50 pence coin: their size, shape, weight and thickness were all identical. It was only in the 1980s that Mint began to make sure that heptagonal coins produced for other countries had a different size, weight and thickness. As late as 1989, a friend showed me a Seychelles 5 rupee coin, dated 1977, that he had received in change from a vending machine in London!

Of course, the UK 50p coin in the 1970s was itself larger and heavier than it is now. In 1997 the Royal Mint reduced the size, weight and thickness of the coin.
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constanius

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Re: Comments on "An Alphabet of Heptagons"
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2011, 05:34:59 PM »
In the coins you illustrate Liberia & Samoa are the only 2 countries that place a "flat" surface towards the top, all the others have a "point" to the top.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2019, 07:01:01 AM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Comments on "An Alphabet of Heptagons"
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2011, 07:22:59 PM »
Yes, the only other "upside down" version I know of is our current UK circulation 50 pence coin. Our other 50p coins are all upright guys.  :D





And Madagascar swings both ways.



 
« Last Edit: May 31, 2019, 07:49:07 PM by <k> »
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Offline <k>

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Re: Comments on "An Alphabet of Heptagons"
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2011, 08:24:39 PM »
Another curiosity is how the Isle of Man switched to countersunk 20 pence coins in 1993. It amended the design of a combined harvester that it had used on the 1992 20p coin. There is rather too much detail in the design for such a small coin.

The coin on the left is dated 1992; the coin on the right is dated 1993.



 
« Last Edit: May 31, 2019, 07:47:05 PM by <k> »
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Offline FosseWay

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Re: Comments on "An Alphabet of Heptagons"
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2011, 10:01:21 PM »
Curiously, in the 1970s, the Royal Mint produced all the overseas heptagonal coins to the same specifications as the UK 50 pence coin: their size, shape, weight and thickness were all identical. It was only in the 1980s that Mint began to make sure that heptagonal coins produced for other countries had a different size, weight and thickness. As late as 1989, a friend showed me a Seychelles 5 rupee coin, dated 1977, that he had received in change from a vending machine in London!

I've received various 50p-sized coins in change over the years, including the Mexican one, but mostly Irish, Manx and Channel Islands.

More recently (i.e. since 1997), I've had several Cypriot 50c coins in error for 50p. I haven't actually put them side by side to check, but I'd imagine they're pretty similar in size to have caught out a reasonable number of people. The number of these in UK circulation seemed to go up around the time Cyprus changed to the euro, unsurprisingly.

Offline <k>

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Re: Comments on "An Alphabet of Heptagons"
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2011, 12:45:23 AM »
The large UK 50p was 30mm in diameter. Our current one is 27.5mm. That compares with 26mm for the Cyprus 50 cents.

I think the change in size of the UK 50p was not radical enough. A similar size to the Cyprus coin - let's say 26.1mm :D - would have been nice. The reduction in the size of the UK 5p was much more radical - around 5mm in diameter, I think.
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Offline Siberian Man

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Re: Comments on "An Alphabet of Heptagons"
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2015, 11:23:52 AM »
One of my favorite.
1000 kwacha 2004. The coin-calendar.

Offline Oklahoman

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Re: Comments on "An Alphabet of Heptagons"
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2021, 02:25:32 AM »
Tonga also had several Christmas 50 Seneti coins issued with a Christmas theme.  They may have circulated.  They were a pobjoy issue in the 1980s.

Offline Pabitra

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Re: Comments on "An Alphabet of Heptagons"
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2021, 05:31:50 AM »
Latest heptagon is from Sri Lanka. Issued in 2021. Minted by China mint.

Offline Big_M

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Re: Comments on "An Alphabet of Heptagons"
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2021, 01:42:48 PM »
Cape Verde 200 escudos from 1995 (2 types)

Offline <k>

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