Prototype coins of Singapore

Started by Galapagos, August 30, 2009, 05:48:14 PM

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Galapagos

Once more I bring you some scans I took of old documents in the National Archives at Kew, England.

The first set of circulation coins of independent Singapore, known as the Marine Series, was issued in 1967.

The descriptions are as follows:-

1c.   Fountain in front of high-rise flat block.   
5c.   Great white egret.                         
10c.  Great crowned seahorse.                   
20c.  Swordfish.                                 
50c.  Firefish.                                 
$1.   Squinte, the mythical merlion.           

Galapagos

#1



The Marine Series was designed by the Australian Stuart Devlin, shown above.

He was also responsible for the first decimal designs of Australia.

Mr Devlin was originally asked by Singapore to create designs of the following three orchids:-

1] Vanda Tan Chay Yan
2] Vanda Joaquim
3] Dendobrium Caesar

Mr Devlin consulted Kew Gardens and found that these orchids looked very similar.

He therefore came up with his own alternatives.





One cent: Brassocattleya Languedoc (Singapore Welcome)





Five cents: Cypripedium Haynaldianum.





Ten cents: Bulbophyllum Medusae.





Twenty cents: a realistic lion's head.




Twenty cents: a  "Chinese" lion head.





Coat of arms, common obverse.


In the end, these designs were not adopted, but the documents do not say why.

However, the actual one dollar design depicted the Squinte, a mythical merlion.

That was probably influenced by Mr Devlin's lion head proposal.


Interestingly, Singapore's next series of coins was issued in 1980.

It was known as The Floral Series and did portray various flowers, including the Vanda Joaquim orchid.


The late Christopher Ironside, who created the UK's first decimal designs, designed that set.

<k>

Quote from: Galapagos on August 30, 2009, 05:48:14 PM

The first set of circulation coins of independent Singapore, known as the Marine Series, was issued in 1967. The descriptions are as follows:-

---                          
50c.  Firefish.                                 
---


As a matter of interest, the Papua New Guinea 2 toea coin also depicts a firefish but usually describes it as a butterfly cod. These are simply two different common names for the species whose scientific name is Pterois volitans.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Figleaf

Superb research.

Why the alternatives weren't accepted? Maybe we'll never know, but my experience says giving civil servants an alternative will more often than not elicit a response like "that's not what we asked you to do". Proper procedure is to do exactly as asked and whine about the flowers being similar and offer to make an alternative.. The "not invented here" syndrom is very strong in bureaucracies.

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

<k>

The squinte (merlion) on the marine series (begun in 1967) always looked out of place to me, as all the other animals are real, not mythical, beasts. I would have preferred the realistic lion, as shown in the alternatives.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Figleaf

The Merlion is to Singapore what the statue of Liberty is the United Statesians. It marks the point where newly arrived ships would go to. Just a few steps away used to be Change Alley, a paradise of counterfeit wares and imitations and one of the first places crews of newly arrived ships would head to (it is now yet another shopping centre.)

Thankfully, Singapore doesn't have enough symbols, heraldry and landmarks to fill an entire series of coins, but it's hard to see them overlook the Merlion.

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

<k>

Quote from: Figleaf on January 08, 2011, 08:06:48 PM
The Merlion is to Singapore what the statue of Liberty is the United Statesians.

Never knew that. Two of my cousins were born there in the 1950s, when it was part of Malaya. Their father was a corporal in the British army - so an "imperial" connection.

Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

#7
My thanks to our forum member eurocoin for providing some photocopies from the National Archives.

The Royal Mint Advisory Committee (RMAC) had advised that the wavy lines on the 20 cents be removed.

This did not happen.





Issued 20 cents coin.



Singapore swordfish.jpg

Swordfish sketch.



Singapore comments.jpg

RMAC's comments.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

#8
As for the merlion (squinte) on the dollar, RMAC's comments were heeded.

Nowadays the English say "enlarge" rather than "enlargen".



Singapore $1 1967#.jpg

The issued version of the design.



Singapore $1 1967-alt#.jpg

The original sketch of the merlion.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

#9
Singapore buildiing.jpg  Singapore snake bird.jpg



Singapore seahorse.jpg  Singapore lion fish.jpg


Sketches of the remaining coins in the series.

1c.  Fountain in front of high-rise flat block. 
5c.  Great white egret.                     
10c.  Great crowned seahorse.                 
50c.  Firefish. Also known as a lion fish and other common names.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Pabitra

#10
Quote from: Figleaf on January 08, 2011, 08:06:48 PMThe Merlion is to Singapore what the statue of Liberty is the United Statesians.

The Merlion is the national personification of Singapore.

Its name combines "mer" meaning the sea and "lion". The fish body represents Singapore's origin as a fishing village when it was called Temasek, which means "sea town" in Javanese. The lion head represents Singapore's original name—Singapura—meaning "lion city" or "kota singa".

The symbol was designed by Alec Fraser-Brunner, a member of the Souvenir Committee and curator of the Van Kleef Aquarium, for the logo of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) in use from 26 March 1964 to 1997 and has been its trademarked symbol since 20 July 1966.



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