Poll

What should be the maximum size for a UK circulation coin?

The 2 pound coin is about right (28.4  mm)
3 (33.3%)
Up to 30 mm - like the large 50 pence
1 (11.1%)
Up to 32 mm - the 1d coin was 30.9 mm; the half crown 32.4 mm
2 (22.2%)
Up to 34 mm
0 (0%)
Up to 36 mm
0 (0%)
Up to 38.1 mm: crown size, like the collector £5 coin
0 (0%)
I could accept a coin larger than 38.1 mm
1 (11.1%)
Smaller than the current 2 pound coin
1 (11.1%)
Don't know / Don't care
1 (11.1%)

Total Members Voted: 9

Author Topic: Decimals: how big should we go?  (Read 1460 times)

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Offline <k>

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Decimals: how big should we go?
« on: August 10, 2017, 02:30:19 PM »
Yes, yet another poll. Members will once more flock to vote in their thousands. :-\  You are not allowed to change your vote, so think carefully before voting.

We've discussed various other aspects of the decimal coinage (to exhaustion, in some cases). Here the question is: does size matter? What should be the limit - in your opinion? I'll discuss one or two issues in the posts that follow.

 
« Last Edit: May 24, 2019, 07:35:28 PM by <k> »
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Offline <k>

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Re: Decimals: how big should we go?
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2017, 02:34:08 PM »
The post that inspired me is here.

FosseWay wrote:

I don't share the obsession some people have (mostly non-coin collectors, it has to be said) with making coins smaller and smaller. I am quite happy with valuable coins being large, like the Irish punt or the Swiss 5-franc. The tendency to reduce the size of the largest denominations results either in ridiculously small coins for the smallest, or illogical jumps in size, or in many denominations that are shoe-horned into a very small size spectrum.

I was surprised to find that FosseWay regards (large) size as:
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Offline <k>

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Re: Decimals: how big should we go?
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2017, 02:35:59 PM »
Yes, wunderbar.  ;)

So I replied:

Let me ask you then, what is your maximum preferred diameter for a circulation coin - or is the sky the limit? I can't remember what the largest current (or even 20th century) coin is.

But he didn't answer.

FosseWay works hard, but his lunch hour is subject to Swedish rounding, so he only gets 10 minutes and hasn't had the time to research his own opinions yet.  ;D
« Last Edit: June 11, 2019, 07:12:10 AM by <k> »
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Offline <k>

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Re: Decimals: how big should we go?
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2017, 02:42:18 PM »
But FosseWay is right about the tendency to reduce the size of coins. It has occurred right across the world, and it is probably due to the rising cost of metal. Some countries stand out against this trend, of course, and one such country is Australia, which still has a 50 cents coin that is, I believe, 31.5 mm. But perhaps the Australians just have more trouble than most people in discerning the difference between things. Here in the UK, we have acumen.  8)

I've voted for our 2 pound coin as being just right. However, if you look at my proposed UK coinage system in another post, you'll see that I've been somewhat more radical, giving the 2 pound coin a maximum diameter of 25.5mm. That would be starting from scratch, though. The size of the current 2 pound coin is not a problem. However, maybe some of you liked the size of the larger coins: the predecimal penny, the half crown, the large 50p? Are you nostalgic for any of them?
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Offline <k>

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Re: Decimals: how big should we go?
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2017, 03:09:44 PM »
The Royal Mint considers that there should be a minimum difference of 3 mm in diameter between two coins of the same "family". A family consists of coins of similar shape and metal, so the 5p and 10p belong to one family and the 20p and 50p belong to another. Beyond that, research has shown that there should be a 1.5 mm gap between ANY two coins, to aid distinction. I believe that our UK coinage does not fit that particular guideline.

Theoretically, the 2 pound coin, being bimetallic and belonging to its own family, could originally have been smaller (back in 1997/ 1998). However, the blind cannot detect colours, so a larger size gap probably helps them.

The large 50p also did not need to be so large (30 mm), since it was the first in its family. Later, its size was reduced, since it was considered too large and heavy, though its spending power had dwindled considerably by then.
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Offline <k>

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Re: Decimals: how big should we go?
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2017, 03:14:43 PM »
Does anybody know what the largest current (or even 20th century) world circulation coin is? Could it be the Australian 50 cents?
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Offline <k>

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Re: Decimals: how big should we go?
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2017, 03:22:16 PM »
So, we have quite a range of opinion so far. That somebody could go for more than 38.1 mm surprises me.
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Offline <k>

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Re: Decimals: how big should we go?
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2017, 03:41:47 PM »
By way of comparison, the largest eurozone coin is the 2 euro at 25.75 mm. It weighs only 8.5 g, compared to 12 g for our 2 pound coin.
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Offline onecenter

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Re: Decimals: how big should we go?
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2017, 06:29:32 PM »
The thinking and research I ever read is that smaller circulating coinage is best.  Our European numismatic friends have endured many changes and have accepted them.  From an American standpoint we have had only one major size change in the last 150 years with the dollar coin in 1979.  It did not work out well.

The only other two changes in the USA were the five-cent piece in 1866 and the cent in 1857 and again in 1864 for the same size cent but less thickness due to its composition change.  Everything has stayed the same since the 1790s.
Mark

Offline FosseWay

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Re: Decimals: how big should we go?
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2017, 07:10:42 PM »
Sorry, didn't see <k>'s question earlier.

I've voted for up to 32 mm.

I don't think large size is good per se; my problem with some currencies is that they try to cram too many denominations into too small a range of sizes. IMV the euro suffers from this, and it is exacerbated in this case by all the coins being the same shape.

I see no problem with a large-value coin being relatively large. I think the crown is too big, and I suspect that contributed to it not being a popular circulation coin even back in the 19th century. The problem with the other predecimal UK coins was not that they were too large in an absolute sense, but that they were too large (the coppers in particular) for their purchasing power. I would not object to a coin the size of the halfcrown at the top end of the denomination scale (a circulating £5, for example).

FWIW I think the UK's series works well, size-wise, particularly given the change in shape of the 20p and 50p.

The new Swedish coins are also shoehorned into a very small diametric range, even though there are only three of them plus the existing 10 kronor. There is also the illogicality that the 5 kronor is round and brass, and bigger than the 10 kronor, also round and brass.

Offline Alan71

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Re: Decimals: how big should we go?
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2017, 09:53:21 PM »
I went for the £2 size.  However, as much as I don't want to see a £5 circulation coin, if we do eventually have to have one, I wouldn't mind if it was bigger than that.  I'm hoping that the polymer notes have seen off the threat of being replaced by coins for the foreseeable future.  If the £5 becomes a coin it really will make the currency start to look a bit worthless.

Offline <k>

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Re: Decimals: how big should we go?
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2017, 10:58:33 PM »
Yes, I do like the polymer 5 pound note. We should have adopted polymer decades ago. Once you can no longer buy small chocolate bars with it, I guess it will become a coin. When the Wispa came out in the early 1980s, it cost 20p. Now it's more like 60p, so where once you could get five for a quid, you can't even get two now. I'm not sure why I still use chocolate as a guideline, as I gave up sweets and chocolate some years ago and don't miss them. I do remember getting a Milky Way for 3d up until about the mid-1960s, tho.
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Offline <k>

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Re: Decimals: how big should we go?
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2017, 11:57:50 PM »
FWIW I think the UK's series works well, size-wise, particularly given the change in shape of the 20p and 50p.

I still now criticise the decimalisation process, that left too many necessary changes in the pipeline by 1979: getting rid of the sixpence and the halfpenny (to allow a space for a smaller 5p); reducing the size of the 10p (a consequence of maintaining the weight-to-value ratio between the 5p and 10p ratio and also copying the sizes of the shilling and florin; and also making the 50p so large because it was the highest denomination, when it could have been made smaller since it was first heptagonal coin. There was little room for manouevre when the 20p and £1 came in: the round pound had to be made very thick to distinguish it from the large 5p, which was very close in diameter. A thick pound meant a heavy pound - a nuisance when you got four in change from a five pound note. Even after the issue of the 2 pound coin in 1998, it was years before there were enough 2 pound coins in circulation, and you would regularly receive two or four round pounds in change.

The blind then ended up confusing the 20p with the 1p, and maybe still do, because the 20p edges could not be made as sharp as they were in the trials (with blind people), due to problems in mass production.



Here is something Figleaf said in another topic:

The (euro) series has size differences of 1.5 mm between coins of the same colour. The number was chosen because it was scientifically determined that it is sufficient for the blind.

However, I just noticed the flaw in that statement: there is only 1 mm difference between the red 2c (18.75 mm) and the yellow 10c (19.75 mm). But the blind cannot see colour. So how do they cope? Here is the answer:

EDGE TYPES

1c - plain.
2c - plain with a groove.
5c – plain.
10c – reeded.
20c- plain with seven indents (Spanish Flower).
50c – reeded.
1 euro - three plain and three reeded sections.
2 euro - reeded with concave inscription.

The Royal Mint's documents tell us that the blind distinguish coins mainly by the edge and the diameter. So all is well in the eurozone!
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Offline <k>

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Re: Decimals: how big should we go?
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2017, 12:04:01 AM »
From an American standpoint we have had only one major size change in the last 150 years with the dollar coin in 1979.  It did not work out well.

The only other two changes in the USA were the five-cent piece in 1866 and the cent in 1857 and again in 1864 for the same size cent but less thickness due to its composition change.  Everything has stayed the same since the 1790s.

The US system has stood the test of time very well, then.

I've been very busy posting, but I'll try to create a list of the US coins and their diameters, weights and metals, for the purposes of comparison. If you find time to beat me to it, tho, I won't complain.  ;)
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Decimals: how big should we go?
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2017, 06:52:43 AM »
There is no "scientific" maximum size. People's emotions on coin size all depend on what they are used to. In Dutch eyes, the 10 cent piece was normal. In British eyes, it was ridiculously small and to Americans it was OK (which proves that speaking English doesn't necessarily lead to the same prejudices ;)).

People's lifelong size preferences are quite heavily influenced by what coins looked like in their politically formative years (roughly when they were 15 to 20 years old, 25 for university students). This specific statement is derived from generic research on emotional preferences done in the US.

That means that the generation that was 15 to 25 when the half crown was the largest coin will tend to consider that size to be the maximum. The large 50p crowd will use that coin as an anchor while even younger (hard to imagine :)) people will stick to the small 50p size. Typed this from memory and without the time to check diameters.

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