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The public were the judges in this Royal Mint design contest

Started by Galapagos, September 06, 2009, 02:39:30 AM

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Galapagos

A few years ago the Royal Mint held a competition. See the two losing entries below.

Now see if you can answer the following questions:-

1] In what year did the competition take place?

2] What was the nature of the competition?

3] What was unique about the competition?

chrisild

Guess the theme would also be remembered on Italian coins. But apart from that, I am clueless ...

Christian

Galapagos

In the year 2000, the Royal Mint decided that for 2001 it would mint a special two pound coin to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first wireless transmission across the Atlantic, by Marconi. Artists were invited to submit their designs, and the Mint whittled the entries down to three finalists. Then, for the first time in its history, the Royal Mint submitted the top-contending entries to a public vote. I voted on the Internet (more than once! - how they policed this, I don't know), for the design featuring a portrait of Marconi. The Radio Times, a BBC publication, also carried voting forms.

On the 24 October 2000, the Royal Mint revealed the winning design (see below), which received approximately 35% of the votes. The designer was Welshman Robert Evans, an engraver at the Mint. The coin was released in 2001.

See here for more details:-

http://www.24carat.co.uk/frame.php?url=2001twopounddesigns.html

The Mint did not reveal the identities of the designers of the losing entries. However, during a conversation with coin designer Avril Vaughan in 2001, she told me that she had put forward an entry, and she was adamant that such a design should feature a portrait of Marconi himself. I agreed with her, and told her that the winning design looked like "barbed wire". I also asked her if she knew that the public had voted on the result. She didn't. I told her that I had voted for her design, and now I knew who had designed it. I still find it hard to believe that the public voted for the "barbed wire" design. It was the least attractive of the three.

The question remains, why did the Royal Mint honour an Italian? Aren't our coins supposed to honour our own? If we went down that route, we'd end up like Pobjoy and the Isle of Man.

Also, did the British public know that Marconi was an enthusiastic member of the Italian Fascist Party, and that Mussolini was his best man at his wedding? I suspect not. Admittedly, the Italian version was not as virulent as the Prussian Fascist Party, and Marconi himself died before the Second World War broke out - maybe he'd have changed his mind, as so many Italians did. But fair enough, he nailed his colours to the mast, and it's all history now, so I won't quibble.

Anyway, I remember my physics teacher showing me a radio wave under the microscope at school, and it looked nothing like the one on the winning design.

UK Decimal +

I agree about the barbed wire, or is it a kilt?   In my opinion either of the other two designs would have been preferable, or perhaps a conbination of both, but I do like the portrait of Guglielmo Marconi.

Why was the UK involved with the special issue?   The transmission was made from Poldhu in Cornwall and received in St. John's, Newfoundland (which did not become part of Canada until 1949).   The signal sent was the Morse letter 'S', ... (dot dot dot).   Was this the start of 'dot.com'?   Yes, we've proved that Marconi invented the internet!

Apparently over 13,500 votes were received from the public.   I could only have guessed that the competition was held in 2000.

Bill.
Ilford, Essex, near London, England.

People look for problems and complain.   Engineers find solutions but people still complain.

Galapagos

Quote from: bilnic on September 06, 2009, 05:09:21 PM
Further thoughts on what became the 'kilt and bagpipe' (my opinion) design.


Well, I can see the sporran.

Now then Rob Evans, who created that design, is certainly an old hand at the Royal Mint. Just to show that he can do better than that, have a look at this Seychelles design he produced.







tonyclayton

Quote from: Ice Torch on September 06, 2009, 03:47:51 PM
Anyway, I remember my physics teacher showing me a radio wave under the microscope at school, and it looked nothing like the one on the winning design.

It isn't April 1st, is it  ;D

eurocoin

The 2 unrealised Marconi designs will be used by counterfeiters on fake/fantasy UK 2 pounds coins.

Alan71

I did actually vote for the winning design at the time.  I did have a PC and dial-up internet back then, but I think my vote was by snail mail.  I was in the Royal Mint "Coin Club" as it was then known.  They did actually notify me after to say I had voted for the winning design so it wasn't anonymous.  I didn't like the sea design at all and I didn't think the portrait one would look that good.

At that point, there hadn't been many portraits of non-Royals on coins, and certainly not on circulation coins.  The Brunel ones of 2006 changed that.  I liked the winning design and still do.

I see it as a commemoration of an event that (on one side) happened in the UK.  In that respect I think it's appropriate to mark the centenary, but as he was Italian, I'm not sure it's right for his portrait to appear on it.*

*Yes, I know St George was Italian and Prince Philip Greek, and much of previous Royal families being German etc...

<k>

Quote from: Alan71 on May 26, 2018, 12:57:04 PM
as he was Italian, I'm not sure it's right for his portrait to appear on it.*

*Yes, I know St George was Italian and Prince Philip Greek, and much of previous Royal families being German etc...

Saint George was Armenian, apparently, while Prince Philip thinks of himself as Scandinavian, since he also used to be Prince of Denmark.

As for Britannia, I believe she is Greco-Roman rather than British, but she has nonetheless appeared on many of our coins.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

Quote from: eurocoin on May 26, 2018, 11:20:43 AM
The 2 unrealised Marconi designs will be used by counterfeiters on fake/fantasy UK 2 pounds coins.

This is a serious prediction?
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

eurocoin


Alan71

Quote from: <k> on May 26, 2018, 02:35:34 PM
As for Britannia, I believe she is Greco-Roman rather than British, but she has nonetheless appeared on many of our coins.
She wasn't a real person though was she?  But either way a fair point!

I'm assuming these fake/fantasy coins will be indicated as such?  They won't attempt to put them into circulation?

I was in a supermarket once and the checkout person had one of the 1994 trial pieces that someone had tried to give her as payment.  Not the final design with the ship on, but an earlier stage so it was just the blanks.  She had no idea what it was but I advised her.  Had it been the final coin I would have swapped it with her, but I had no desire for the blanks.

eurocoin

Quote from: Alan71 on May 26, 2018, 07:12:22 PM
I'm assuming these fake/fantasy coins will be indicated as such? 

They have a small 'copy' on them. People then think they can get away with it which is of course not the case. There are also many fake round 1 pound coins with 'copy' on them.

QuoteThey won't attempt to put them into circulation?

If you think issuing 200 pieces covers the production costs, think again.

<k>

Wow! Your prediction came true. You must be making them yourself in your garden shed. Alan71 will want to visit "The Experience" now.  ;D
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>



My research has now revealed that the design above was the work of Felicity Powell.

To my knowledge, no coin designs by Ms. Powell were ever minted.

Apparently she died in 2015, aged only 53.

Felicity Powell obituary




Artist and coin designer John Mills also submitted an entry in this competition. I have never seen it, but it was not considered good enough to include in the online poll.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.