Wednesday, 25 January 2017

A Brief History of New Zealand Coins

In 1967 New Zealand changed its coinage from the Imperial British standard to the decimal system.  The designs on the coins reflected the wonderful heritage and cultural icons of New Zealand from the last surviving member of an otherwise extinct family of reptiles, the Tuatara, to a representation of a Mäori koruru carved head, which adorns whare or meeting houses.

A number of changes have taken place in the years since decimalisation: the ‘heads’ design featuring the Queen’s portrait was updated in 1986 and again in 1999. The original kiwi 20 cent coin, was replaced with an image of the Pukaki carving in 1990.

When the $1 and $2 notes were taken out of circulation in 1991, they were replaced by the gold-coloured kiwi $1 coin and the $2 coin featuring the kotuku.

In 2006 the 'silver' coins all had a makeover. The ten, twenty and fifty cent coins all become smaller and lighter. The new ten cent coin was also changed to a copper coloured.  The five cent coin was removed from circulation altogether.

Previously made with solid cupro-nickel, the new plated steel coins are not only more cost effective, but also lighter. 


钱背:中间汉字“壹元” 周围环嘉禾纹饰。

Technical Specifications
Denomination: 壹圆 1 dollar
Issued by :中華民國 Rebublic of China
Issued Year : 民国三年至十年  1914-1921
Diameter : 39 mm
Weight : 26.4 grams
Coin Shape : Round
Composition : .890 Silver
Engraver : Luigi Giorgi

1911年,辛亥革命成功,清朝覆之。19121月,中华民国临时政府在南京成立,孙中山先生就任临时大总统。民国政府将原江南造币厂改为财政部管理,开始铸行 有孙中山先生侧面肖像,面值分为壹圆、贰角、壹角之“中华民国开国纪念币”。民国初年, 中国市场银元流通状况更趋混乱,海外各国银币和清朝龙洋并行,种类繁多,成色不一,市价时高时低,民众经济活动涤受其害。

1914年(民国三年)2月,民国政府着手改革币制,公布“国币条例”及其“实施细侧”。以求整顿并统一银币铸行。规定以壹元银圆为本位币,重七钱二分,成色银九铜一(后改为89%),分壹圆、半圆、贰角、壹角四等币值。十二月,财政部天津造币总厂首铸新版银币,其正面袁世凯侧面头像及发行年号,背面 嘉禾纹饰与币值,俗称“袁头币”。

后南京、广东 、武昌 、甘肃造币分厂陆续开铸,币值有一元 、半元 、二角 、一角等面值。有签字 、无签字版,边齿为185 170道直线。

纪年有三年 、八年 、九年 、十年四种,细微差异颇多,成色参差不齐。“年”字后没有“造”字,其他年版都在“年”字后面有“造”字。三年版“民”字中有一“点”,而其他年版民字无“点”。

United States Trade Dollar

Obverse : Liberty seated on a pedestal facing the sea to the left holding olive branches surrounded by 13 stars.

Reverse : An eagle holding branches with berries on them and arrows.

Technical Specifications
Denomination: 1 dollar
Issued by : Unites States of America
Year : 1873-1885
Diameter : 38.1 mm
Weight : 27.22 grams
Coin Shape : Round
Composition : .900 Silver
Coin Edge : Reeded
Engraver : William Barber

      x                                                          x                                                               x

The United States trade dollar was a dollar coin minted by the United States Mint to compete with other large silver trade coins that were already popular in East Asia. The idea first came about in the 1860s, when the price of silver began to decline due to increased mining efforts in the western United States. A bill providing in part for the issuance of the trade dollar was eventually put before Congress, where it was approved and later signed into law as the Coinage Act of 1873. The act made trade dollars legal tender up to five dollars. A number of designs were considered for the trade dollar, and an obverse and reverse created by William Barber were selected.

The coins were first struck in 1873, and most of the production was sent to China. Eventually, bullion producers began converting large amounts of silver into trade dollars, causing the coins to make their way into American commercial channels. This caused frustration among those to whom they were given in payment, as the coins were largely maligned and traded for less than one dollar each. In response to their wide distribution in American commerce, the coins were officially demonetized in 1876, but continued to circulate. Production of business strikes ended in 1878, though the mintage of proof coins officially continued until 1883. The trade dollar was re-monetized when the Coinage Act of 1965 was signed into law.

     x                                                          x                                                               x

proof, rare
proof, rare
proof, rare
proof, rare
proof, rare
proof, rare
proof, rare

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

New Zealand Coins : Decimal System

Introduction of Decimal Currency

In 1959, a committee was set up to study and report on decimal coinage. This committee was in favour of such an adoption, and after further study, it was announced in 1963 that New Zealand would change to a decimal coinage system.

In 1964, the Decimal Currency Act, 1964 prescribed the designs, diameters, and standard weights of the decimal coins, which first appeared in circulation on 10th July 1967. These coins were all designed by Reginald George James Berry (known as James) of Wellington. His initials (JB) appear on the reverse of all of our then bronze and cupro-nickel coins.

The word Shilling was included on the 10 cent coin to assist with the transition to decimal currency, it featured on minting of the 10c coin for the years 1967, 1968 and 1969 and was dropped in 1970. The 1968 10 cent coin minting were for collectors sets only.

The coins introduced :           
New Denomination     Old Denomination      Coin Specification
50 cents                     5 shillings            Alloy: Cupro-nickel
                                 (one Crown)         Diameter: 31.75mm
                                                            Weight: 13.61gm
Design: The barque Endeavour, commanded by Captain Cook, sailing south, with Mt. Taranaki (Egmont) in the distance under the figure "50"

20 cents                     2 shillings            Alloy: Cupro-nickel
   (one Florin)          Diameter: 28.58mm
                              Weight: 11.31gm
Design: Kiwi facing right and fern bush with figure "20"

10 cents                      1 shilling            Alloy: Cupro-nickel
    (one Bob)            Diameter: 23.62mm
                                                            Weight: 5.66gm
Design: A Maori carved head or koruru under the figure "10" with Maori rafter patterns

5 cents                         6 pence             Alloy: Cupro-nickel
                                                            Diameter: 19.43mm
                                                            Weight: 2.83gm
Design: A tuatara curled on a coastal rock on which is superimposed the figure "5". A gull flies in the background

2 cents                         3 pence             Metal: Bronze
                                                            Diameter: 21.08mm
                                                            Weight: 4.14gm
Design: Two kowhai flowers and leaves surrounding the figure "2"

1 cent                          1 penny             Metal: Bronze
                                                            Diameter: 17.53mm
Weight: 2.07gm
Design: A stylised fern leaf enclosing the figure "1"

On the 31st March 1989, the issue of 1 and 2 cent pieces ceased. Both coins were demonetised on the 30th April 1990.

In December 1990, a new 20 cent piece was introduced to replace the old 20 cent piece, as the Kiwi design on the old 20 cent piece was transferred to the new $1 coin. Both designs of the 20 cent coin are legal tender along with the earlier two shilling piece or florin.
20 cents                  Alloy: Cupro-nickel
                              Diameter: 28.58mm
                              Weight: 11.31gm
Design: A representation of a well-known Maori "pukaki" carving.

On the 11th February 1991, new $1 and $2 coins were introduced to replace the $1 and $2 notes. These two coins and above 20 cent coin were all designed by Robert Maurice Conly, M.B.E. of Wellington.

$1                           Alloy: Aluminium-bronze
                               Diameter: 23.0mm
                               Weight: 8.0gm
                               Design: The kiwi, bringing to reality the colloquial 
                               term ‘Kiwi Dollar'.

$2                           Alloy: Aluminium-bronze
                               Diameter: 26.5mm
                               Weight: 10.0gm
 Design: The kotuku (white heron), flying right. The kotuku is one of  New Zealand's rarest birds and is held in particularly high regard in  Maori mythology.

On the 31st July 2006, the Reserve Bank introduced new smaller and lighter 10, 20 and 50 cent coins made of plated steel.  The Bank started withdrawing the corresponding old silver-coloured cupronickel coins at the same time.  The 5 cent coin was withdrawn and not replaced.  The old coin were demonetised, ie declared no longer legal tender, with effect from 1 November 2006.

New Zealand Coins : Fractional System

The early years

In early 1840, Captain William Hobson, RN, the first Governor of New Zealand, extended British laws to New Zealand. This meant that certain sections of the Imperial Coinage Act, 1816 (UK) became relevant to the new colony. This allowed for the standard gold, silver and bronze British coins to circulate freely in New Zealand alongside the existing variety of foreign coins. British coins were made legal tender in terms of the above act by the passing of the English Laws Act in 1858.

In the 1840s and 1850s there was an extreme shortage of coins, especially copper coins. Traders tried the issue of low value paper notes to remedy this situation but this was soon abandoned. Instead, as this shortage intensified throughout the 1850s, businesses in Auckland and Dunedin decided to issue their first copper tokens in 1857. In all, 48 traders (mostly retailers) issued their own penny and half-penny tokens. This practice survived until 1881 with their use gradually declining in the 1880s.

In 1897, New Zealand's currency became subject to certain provisions stated in the Imperial Coinage Act, 1870 (UK). This meant that only British coin became the official legal tender coin of the colony. At that time, it was already one of the two ‘common' currencies, along with Australian minted gold sovereign and half sovereign coins.

In 1914, the gradual withdrawal of gold coin from circulation took place.

Silver coin was debased from .925 fine (Sterling Silver) to .500 fine in 1920.

New Zealand’s own currency

By 1933, it was obvious that something had to be done about the coin smuggling and the shortage of lower denomination coins in New Zealand. It was decided that New Zealand should start issuing currency from a single bank. The New Zealand Numismatic Society suggested that New Zealand adopt a decimal system of coinage.

However a distinctive New Zealand coinage was introduced in 1933 based on a fractional system (the same as sterling). These new coins used the same weights, sizes and denominations as the British coins.

Bronze coins (penny and halfpenny) of British standard were not approved until 22nd December 1939. These were issued in 1940, at the time of the Centennial of New Zealand.

The Coinage Act, 1933 governed the currency, coinage and legal tender in New Zealand, and meant that British coin ceased to be legal tender as at 1st February 1935. New Zealand then became the last and most remote of the self-governing dominions of the British Commonwealth to introduce its own coinage.

The original designs
Half-Crown   Ensigns armorial of the Dominion on their shield (quarterings depicting the Southern Cross, a wheat sheaf, a lamb suspended by a ribbon and mining hammers crossed divided by three ships) surmounted by the Royal Crown and surrounded by ornamentation inspired by Maori carvings

Florin            A kiwi (bird) facing left

Shilling          A figure of a Maori warrior in warlike attitude carrying a 

Sixpence        A huia (bird) perched on a branch

Threepence   Two carved patu (Maori weapons) crossed with lanyards or throngs attached,  with "3d" between their blades

Penny           A tui (bird) perched in a setting of yellow kowhai blossoms

Halfpenny     A Maori Hei-tiki (Maori charm) with Maori ornamental scrolls 
                   on each side

In 1947 the issue of Cupro-Nickel coins replaced .500 fine silver coins. This proclamation was made under Section eight of the Coinage Act, 1933 and signed on 25th August 1947. Both metal types of coins were still considered to be legal tender. This change was due to the rising costs of mining and the price of silver.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

UK Coins’ Royal Portrait – Queen Elizabeth

Mary Gillick Portrait ( 1953 - 1967 ) 
The first portrait of Her Majesty The Queen to appear on a coin was issued in 1953. The portrait was fresh, evocative and beautifully reflected the optimistic mood of the nation as it greeted a new Elizabethan era. It was designed by Mary Gillick and shows The Queen wearing a wreath. It was used on both United Kingdom coinage and the coinage of many commonwealth countries until Arnold Machin’s portrait of The Queen was adopted for decimal coins.

Arnold Machin RA Portrait ( 1968 - 1984 )
Although decimalisation did not take place until 1971, the first decimal coins – the 5p and 10p – entered circulation in April 1968. They were introduced as replacements of shillings and florins, and because they corresponded exactly in size and value they were able to circulate together until 1971 when the coinage officially changed to decimal coins. As such they served a useful purpose in preparing the public for what was to happen.

As part of the change, a new portrait of The Queen was adopted for the decimal coins. Designed by Arnold Machin RA, it had in fact been approved by The Queen as early as June 1964. Like Mary Gillick, Machin avoided the couped portrait - cut off by the neck - which had been usual on coins earlier in the century. The wreath, however, was replaced with the tiara which The Queen had been given as a wedding present from her grandmother, Queen Mary. A modified version of Machin’s portrait has appeared on definitive British postage stamps since 1967 – and as a result it is possibly the most reproduced image in history.

Raphael Maklouf Portrait ( 1985 - 1997 )
From 1985 to 1997, UK circulating coins were struck bearing a royal portrait by the sculptor Raphael Maklouf. The couped portrait – cut off at the neck – shows The Queen with the royal diadem which she wears on her way to and from the State Opening of Parliament. Unlike the Gillick and Machin portraits of The Queen, Raphael Maklouf’s portrait also included a necklace and earrings. Having been accused by some of sculpting The Queen ‘flatteringly young’, the artist responded that such critics had misunderstood his intention which was ‘to create a symbol, regal and ageless’.

A close examination reveals the artist’s initials, RDM, on the truncation of the neck. The inclusion of the middle letter – for David – was to ensure that the signature would not be misinterpreted as a reference to The Royal Mint.

There is a long-standing urban myth that the first bi-colour £2 coins – bearing the Maklouf portrait and dated 1997 – are rare and valuable. But given that more than 13 million of these coins were issued, this is certainly not the case.

Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS Portrait  ( 1998 - 2014 )
The idea of replacing the Maklouf portrait had its origins in a competition held by The Royal Mint to design the obverse of the 1997 Golden Wedding crown. Such was the standard of the entries for the conjoint portrait of The Queen and Prince Philip that it was decided to explore the possibility of a new standard portrait for the circulating coins as well.

The winning design by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS – introduced in 1998 – makes an interesting contrast with its immediate predecessor, being less idealised and more strongly realistic. So far as Mr Rank-Broadley was concerned, there was ‘no need to disguise the matureness of the Queen’s years. There is no need to flatter her. She is a 70-year-old woman with poise and bearing’. Conscious that the coinage was getting smaller – the 5p, 10p and 50p coins having been reduced in size in 1990, 1992 and 1997 respectively – he also deliberately made the image as large as possible within the framework of the coin’s outer edge.

Jody Clark Portrait ( 2015 -  )
The portrait of The Queen by Jody Clark was unveiled in 2015 and is the fifth definitive coinage portrait of Her Majesty. It will become the fourth portrait of The Queen in circulation, with the Machin, Maklouf and Rank-Broadley portraits still featuring on the circulating coinage of the United Kingdom. Jody Clark is the first Royal Mint engraver to design a definitive royal coinage portrait in over 100 years.

Source :

Monday, 1 September 2014

Singapore Coins - Third Series

Observe :
Singapore Crest in middle surrounded by four language of “SINGAPURA” ( Malay ),  “新加坡” ( Mandarin ), “SINGAPORE” ( English ) and “சிங்கப்பூர்”( Tamil ).  ‘Year of mint’ beneath the Crest.    

Reverse :
The lion-head, a national symbol, is portrayed across all denominations
5¢  -  “5 CENTS”, The Esplanade
10¢ - “10 CENTS”, Public Housing
20¢ - “20 CENTS”,  Changi International Airport
50¢ -  “50 CENTS”,  Port of Singapore
$1 – “1 DOLLAR”, Merlion,  and a laser mark micro engraving of the Vanda Miss Joaquim, in octagonal frame.
Engraver : Fabian Lim

Egde :
5¢ - smooth.
10¢ - segmented edge
20¢, 50¢ & $1 - reeded

Brief Introduction
The Third Series coins mark Singapore’s progress as a nation. The coin designs feature national icons and landmarks.

All five denominations of the new coin series were issued into circulation on 25 June 2013. The First and Second Series coins remain legal tender and the public can continue to use them for payment alongside the new coins.

Technical Specifications
brass plated steel
nickel plated steel
segmented edge
nickel plated steel
nickel plated steel
bi-metalic nickel plated steel center in brass plated steel ring

Year of Mint