Questions about the introduction of the first coinage of Queen Elizabeth II

Started by <k>, November 06, 2022, 04:03:16 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

<k>

Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne on 6 February 1952. Her first coinage was issued in 1953.

In which month of 1953 were her first coins put into circulation?


The penny was not issued until 1954. Does anybody know the reason for that?



Another curiosity: the reverse designs of the farthing, half penny and penny were left unchanged.

These were all bronze coins. The nickel-brass threepence received a new reverse design.

The 6 pence, shilling, 2 shillings and half crown were also each given a new reverse design.


Why were the reverse designs of the bronze coins left unchanged?

Has anybody read about the reasons for this?
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

UK set 1959.jpg

UK 1959 coin set.


Here is a reminder of the reverse designs.

The Britannia penny is not shown, nor is the (by then) demonetised farthing.

The farthing had retained the wren design from the previous reign.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

FosseWay

I think the penny was not issued for circulation until 1961.

Only one is known for 1954. The 1953 issue is not hugely rare but is nothing like as common as the 1940s or 1960s issues. I think that the 1953 was only minted for the various commemorative sets, though I may have misremembered this.

<k>

Quote from: FosseWay on November 06, 2022, 05:31:45 PMI think the penny was not issued for circulation until 1961.

Only one is known for 1954. The 1953 issue is not hugely rare but is nothing like as common as the 1940s or 1960s issues. I think that the 1953 was only minted for the various commemorative sets, though I may have misremembered this.

Only one for 1954 ! It's rarer than the 1933 penny.

So a 1953 penny does exist? I couldn't see one on Numista.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

FosseWay

https://en.numista.com/catalogue/pieces6347.html

It's listed as "non-circulating", which bears out what I said before about it only being used for the sets.

Most of the sets were, however, basically just specimen sets of ordinary circulation-quality coins available relatively cheaply. They weren't BU or Proof, although separate proof sets in plush boxes were also produced. I think a lot of them did end up in circulation. Mine (below) certainly looks like it has circulated.

<k>

Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

Now I am wondering about my other question.

Why were the reverse designs of the farthing, half penny and penny left unchanged?
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

FosseWay

The half-crown, florin and sixpence had to change, because they included in their design references to King George. They didn't have to be changed so fundamentally, but some change was needed. Those three, plus both varieties of shilling, also underwent tweaking in 1949 to account for Indian independence, since IND:IMP: appeared on the reverse of those denominations.

Personally, I don't think the tweaked 1949-52 versions of the higher denominations are as attractive as the original versions. They were designed with more text in mind, and spacing out the reduced text somehow isn't entirely satisfactory. Obviously, that's entirely subjective, but it's not impossible that the Royal Mint, the government and/or the Queen felt similarly, and thought it best to start from scratch.

The halfpenny and farthing had modern, non-heraldic designs that weren't especially old in 1953. Moreover, it may have been felt that it wasn't worth changing the farthing if it was going to be withdrawn soon. The penny had carried Britannia for "ever" (well, since 1797) so it may have been seen as preferable to retain it.

That leaves the threepence. Why did they choose to "regress" from a new, non-heraldic design that did not need to be changed (no monogram, reference to India etc.) to a more traditional design using royal symbolism? I've no idea. Was there widespread public dislike of the thrift design?

<k>

Quote from: FosseWay on November 06, 2022, 06:08:27 PMThe half-crown, florin and sixpence had to change, because they included in their design references to King George. They didn't have to be changed so fundamentally, but some change was needed.

Really, it was only his initials that were a reference to the King.

They could have changed those for QEII.

However, my base supposition was that there would be new designs for the new reign.

So my focus was really on why the bronze coins didn't change.


Your thoughts on the farthing make sense - and on the Britannia penny too.

So really that only left the half penny. Probably the design was considered too good to improve on.


My final question was in which month the 1953 coins were first issued into circulation.

I'm thinking here about how quickly any changed designs can be introduced for Charles III.

Or will a public competition be considered suitable and more democratic?

QEII's first designs were left to a small selected number of artists, I believe.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

Quote from: FosseWay on November 06, 2022, 06:08:27 PMThat leaves the threepence. Why did they choose to "regress" from a new, non-heraldic design that did not need to be changed (no monogram, reference to India etc.) to a more traditional design using royal symbolism? I've no idea. Was there widespread public dislike of the thrift design?

In fact, the portcullis on the 3 pence represents the House of Commons, not royalty.

In 1967 the decimal penny was chosen to be the coin that would represent parliament.

When the Royal Mint Advisory Committee members were asked for a design suggestion for parliament, Prince Philip, the president of RMAC, facetiously replied "A hot air balloon!" In fact, the first decimal penny received a new portcullis design.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Deeman

Quote from: <k> on November 06, 2022, 06:27:59 PMIn 1967 the decimal penny was chosen to be the coin that would represent parliament.

Since 1967, the crowned portcullis has been used exclusively on House of Commons stationery replacing an oval device, which had been in use since the turn of the 20th century.

The portcullis was the badge of John Beaufort, Marquess of Dorset and Somerset (c.1371-1410), bastard son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster (1340-1399), and was subsequently adopted by his great-grandson, Henry Tudor (later Henry VII) whose mother was Lady Margaret Beaufort (1443-1509).


FosseWay

Quote from: <k> on November 06, 2022, 06:27:59 PMIn fact, the portcullis on the 3 pence represents the House of Commons, not royalty.
True, an important distinction.

However, it still represents the symbolism of the state in a similar way to designs that refer to royalty. When people complain about (or simply note) the conservatism of circulation coin design in the UK, I suspect they probably lump parliamentary symbolism into the same category as royal symbolism. The same is true of Britannia - she's a symbol of neither parliament nor the monarchy, but is nevertheless an often-cited example of stuck-in-the-mud design or the preservation of traditional design values, depending on your standpoint.

In that sense, the portcullis is much closer to the heraldry of the higher predecimal denominations than it is to the thrift or wren. 

<k>

Quote from: FosseWay on November 09, 2022, 07:15:20 PMthe portcullis is much closer to the heraldry of the higher predecimal denominations than it is to the thrift or wren.

With that I agree. I was simply pointing out that the portcullis is a parliamentary symbol and not a royal one.

However, Deeman mentioned that it is a crowned portcullis, so you could say it is a bit of both.


The UK is a constitutional monarchy, of course, so it has the two strands of royalty and parliament.

Occasionally the two have been at loggerheads, as we all know. Charles I, Cromwell, etc.


However, I would group all state, royal, parliamentary and allegorical symbols together.

After all, Britannia is allegorical and not heraldic.

The portcullis is not heraldic. However, these are all traditional state symbols.

Traditional and therefore conservative.


Ironside's decimal designs were definitely all conservative and included all those traditional elements.


So yes, I take your point.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Figleaf

The portcullis symbol is definitely heraldic and royal at least in origin. See here.

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