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GROOVIE COINS

Coin designers Bertram Mackennal vs Kruger Gray

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GROOVIE COINS

Good day

I came across a picture of a East Africa shilling with a worn reverse that prompted me to do a comparison between coin designers.

I can't place who did reverse for the East Africa shilling (Percy Metcalfe perhaps?) but the common obverse of king George done by Bertram Mackennal, though highly detailed was very susceptible to wear (crown jewels being the most prone).

What I find intriguing is the high degree of wear on the reverse of the east Africa shilling compared to its obverse.

In the picture below, along with all the others that I sourced (I hope the sellers don't mind), note the obverse details in crown and in face with minimal wear. 

180920205524_20180920_204827.jpg

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GROOVIE COINS

When looking at Kruger Gray (responsible for the reverse on our Union coinage), one starts to appreciate the level of skill he put into his designs. In the case of our union coins the reverse always retained much more detail compared to the obverse by Bertram Mackennal as coin wore.

In the below pictures of a shilling and florin, I have circled on the reverse the high points that normal wear away first. These high points show wear but are all still visible, compared to the high points on the obverse which have already worn away.

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160503161908_13273.jpg

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GROOVIE COINS

Kruger Gray most certainly always ensured his rim and lettering were the higher points of the coin, and in the case of the florin and half crown the shield. This meant the detail in the body of his designs were preserved for the longest time. 

Another classic is the tick in which he raised the rope that holds the bundle of reeds. These X's ensured always that the protea design in the center of the coin was preserved.

 

161024135821_1928 3dx R800 R.jpg

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From the half crown it is evident that even when the obverse was long gone worn away, the reverse still held detail lady Good Hope, the Orange tree, wagon and wildebees. 

It seems Kruger Gray was well ahead of his time in his designs. His coins were made to last.

170831175656_du460a.jpg

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Pierre_Henri

Great post - well done !

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15 hours ago, Pierre_Henri said:

Great post - well done !

Thank you Pierre. I'll be looking at other countries coins done by KG, to see if his other coins were as resistant to wear. 

regards Robert

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I've sampled photos from listings once again and have used coins New Zealand and Britain. 

New Zealand as with other African countries opted to use obverse designs by Percy Metcalfe for king George V. 

I'm not sure if this was because the designed proved more resistant to wearing than the standard Mackennal obverse or if New Zealand wanted to differentiate their coinage from Australia. 

From the below picture the wearing on the 6 pence and shilling reverse by Kruger Grey are more evenly in line with their obverses respectively. But on the half crown reverse many raised flat surface designs surround the crest, thus preserving more details as opposed to its obverse that is already in Fine condition.

180214165910_ab130a KG.jpg

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In the example of the British shilling, we see classic Grey vs Mackennal engravings. 

I'm not sure who the designer for the early reverse shilling was shared by both king Edward and George V, but the improvement on Grey's design is apparent. Both coins in the photo show similar wear but Grey's design clearly retains more detail.

180920153623_c3768-1924-shilling (3).jpg

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Pierre_Henri

Very informative - we have a star upcoming numismatist here!

I was not aware of the differences between the two designers re. the Great Britain coins in such a close period - the 1920s in your example.

Regarding the Georgian silver issues of the 1900s, in my view, the British and New Zealand designs are ugly, while the Australian design  are so-so and the South African issues are truly beautiful

The Canadians have lost it all together - they have a history of bad designs and soft struck coins that are simply last in the line.

Pierre

Edited by Pierre_Henri

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Pierre_Henri
On 10/8/2018 at 6:54 PM, Pierre_Henri said:

Very informative - we have a star upcoming numismatist here!

I was not aware of the differences between the two designers re. the Great Britain coins in such a close period - the 1920s in your example.

Regarding the Georgian silver issues of the 1900s, in my view, the British and New Zealand designs are ugly, while the Australian design  are so-so and the South African issues are truly beautiful

The Canadians have lost it all together - they have a history of bad designs and soft struck coins that are simply last in the line.

Pierre

I am talking about post George V issues here - so I am referring to silver coins struck after 1936 ... 

Since then, for example, the Canadians have struck coins that were sub standard - softly struck and an eye sore ...

Our beautiful Union coins lost it in 1953 with the Elizabethan II issues that were almost on par with the Canadian issues -  mostly softly struck and nothing to look at - but still better than the Canadians could do ...

 

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Cold Sea

Hi Pierre, I'm not sure what you mean by soft strikes, but the thickness of a planchet plays a role in weak strikes. I think it speaks for itself that the thinner the planchet, the more accurate the striking distance must be (especially with older presses and technology). Worn dies can also play a part, and as Grooviemovies pointed out, the rim helps protect the coin against wear. A worn looking coin with a good rim will indicate a weak strike, and will be classified as an error coin. There are some interesting articles about the SA Mint processes that can be found in old engineering publications where some of the challenges are discussed.

I am not sure if the designer or engraver has any say in the thickness of the planchet, but an interesting topic for further reading.

 

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Pierre_Henri
On 10/11/2018 at 7:18 PM, Cold Sea said:

Hi Pierre, I'm not sure what you mean by soft strikes, but the thickness of a planchet plays a role in weak strikes. I think it speaks for itself that the thinner the planchet, the more accurate the striking distance must be (especially with older presses and technology). Worn dies can also play a part, and as Grooviemovies pointed out, the rim helps protect the coin against wear. A worn looking coin with a good rim will indicate a weak strike, and will be classified as an error coin. There are some interesting articles about the SA Mint processes that can be found in old engineering publications where some of the challenges are discussed.

I am not sure if the designer or engraver has any say in the thickness of the planchet, but an interesting topic for further reading.

 

Maybe it is not the striking of the coins per se, but most Canadian coins from the 1950s onward are truly ugly specimens in my estimate

The boxed commemorative examples  that I have sold on BoB, are unnaturally shiny and look like cheap imitations of real coins - they just do not "strike" me as collectible coins.

If one compares the silver USA dollars vs. their Canadian counterparts, there is simply no comparison - the USA silver issues are truly brilliant whilst the Canadian issues look like they were designed and struck in someones backyard in downtown Ottawa ...

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