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UK: three nickel-brass threepence variations of 1936/1937

Started by <k>, August 27, 2021, 06:05:34 PM

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Which version of the nickel-brass threepence do you prefer?

The scalloped version with the word 'THRIFT'
0 (0%)
The second version, with the word 'THRIFT' removed
2 (66.7%)
The third version, heavily amended by Percy Metcalfe
0 (0%)
I like them all equally
0 (0%)
I have no preference
1 (33.3%)

Total Members Voted: 3

Voting closed: September 11, 2021, 06:05:34 PM

<k>

In 1936, as part of the competition to find new coin designs for King Edward VIII of the UK, Madge Kitchener (the niece of Lord Kitchener) sent in a sketch for the threepence. This showed a thrift plant, also known as sea pink. Her first design was for the then existing round silver threepence coin. The year, 1937 (the King's expected coronation year) appeared at the bottom of the design, in the exergue and between two small stars, while the word "THREE-PENCE" spanned the outer circle of the design. The word "THRIFT" appeared within the inner circle of the coin design and above the year.

Later it was decided that a new shape and size was required for the threepence. Many people had complained that the silver coin was too small and easily lost. Madge Kitchener accordingly submitted an altered design for a scalloped coin. The year and denomination were now rearranged, but the design retained an inner circle for the coin, as well as the word "THRIFT".

The Royal Mint liked her design but did not like the idea of a scalloped coin. Eventually the Royal Mint decided on a nickel-brass 12-sided coin and asked Made Kitchener to alter her design to fit such a coin but to removed the word "THRIFT". Madge Kitchener cheerfully complied.

Originally, the Royal Mint tested a thinner nickel-brass coin than the issued version. However, it was found that that lighter coin could trigger machines, e.g. gas meters, that were intended for sixpence or shilling coins. It was therefore decided to make the coin much thicker. The Mint thought that the thicker coin required a less detailed design, so Royal Mint artist Percy Metcalfe was asked to amend the design to make it more simplistic. Metcalfe's design was subsequently adopted for the reign of King George VI, after Edward had abdicated.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>



Madge Kitchener's design for a scalloped coin.


Image copyright of the Royal Mint.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

Madge Kitchener's amended design for a 12-sided coin.


Image copyright of the Heritage Auctions.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

Percy Metcalfe's amended design for the thicker 12-sided coin. It was adopted for the reign of King George VI.

Notice that a more traditional font was used. Also the simpler style was given an art deco treatment by Percy Metcalfe.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

The thrift plant, also known as the sea pink.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

I have voted for the 12-sided version WITHOUT the word "THRIFT". I prefer the 12-sided shape to a scalloped shape.

However, I would have preferred to see that earlier 12-sided version WITH the word "THRIFT". Sadly, that option is / was not available.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Figleaf

The symmetric leaves and soil betray that Kitchener had an art déco design in mind. In art déco, natural, flowing lines are important. Your picture shows Kitchener's flowers were closer to reality than Metcalfe's, though both capture the spirit of art déco. At the same time, the slightly medieval font she used is cute, but not as well readable as the font Metcalfe used. I don't care about the word THRIFT or the other solutions. Taken together, I am undecided about which version I like best.

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

Manzikert

Not totally relevant, but it was said that Kitchener was told not to sign the design, but sneaked her initials MK into the arch below the flowers, and one can see them in the centre of the arch. Some people claim that the resemblance to initials is accidental.

One of the oddments of literature I have accumulated over the years is a 1934 edition of the British Museum 'Guide to the Department of Coins and Medals'. At first I just looked at it and thought that 'Oh, I've already got another edition', but then I noticed the previous owner's signature at the top of the cover, 'Madge Kitchener'. The style of her initials is not that far from those used on the coin, so I think it pretty certain that the initials on the coin were put there deliberately.

As to my favorite design, I think I'd go for her original design, though I suppose the inscription would have had to be 'modernized' to fit in with the rest of the series.

Alan

<k>

Nice one!

And you think Ms. Kitchener sneaked in her initials on the design.

That reminds me of this Jersey stamp by a Jersey designer, issued in 1943, while Jersey was under Nazi occupation. The artist Edmund Blampied sneaked in the initials "GR" (for Georgius Rex) around the "3D".
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.