Christopher Ironside

Christopher Ironside FSIA 1970, OBE 1971, FRBS 1977 (11 July 1913 – 13 July 1992) was an English painter and coin designer, particularly known for the reverse sides of the new British coins issued on decimalisation in 1971.

He began his career as a painter, studying at the Central School of Arts and Crafts. During World War II he served in the Directorate of Camouflage, working for the Air Ministry in Leamington Spa.

After the war he worked for the Ministry of Town and Country Planning, as Education Officer for the Council of Industrial Design, but gave up the post in 1948 due to increasing design commissions. His subsequent known work included: 1951 design contributions to the Festival of Britain, South Bank Exhibition; 1952 ballet stage and costume design with his brother for Sylvia, the revival production choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton, first choreographed by Louis Merante to music by Leo Delibes in 1876; 1953 design for Pall Mall for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II; 1964 he collaborated with his brother Robin on the Shakespeare commemoration issue of stamps and first day covers. He taught part-time at the Royal College of Art from 1953 to 1963. His paintings were exhibited at two main shows, shared with his elder brother Robin, at the Redfern Gallery in 1944 and at Arthur Jeffress in 1960. He received an OBE in 1971.

Ironside designed various coins for the Royal Mint, including the reverse of the pre-2008 British 50 pence, ten pence, five pence, two pence, and one penny coins, as well as the former half penny coin. He has designed coins for the Isle of Man, Singapore, Tanzania, Brunei, Qatar and ppDubai]]. He designed commemorative medallions including: the Britannia Commemorative Society's Medallion No.7 "The Spanish Armada" and No.42 "The Royal Navy"; the medal for the 1974 Centenary of Sir Winston Churchill's birth "This was Their Finest Hour"; the brass relief memorial for the Earl and Countess Mountbatten in Westminster Abbey; and, the brass relief for the 16th Duke of Norfolk in Arundel Castle (Fitzalan Chapel).

His collection of earlier concept sketches, plaster moulds and submission entries for the decimilisation competition are now housed in the British Museum.

He was married twice: to Janey Acheson (one daughter, the journalist and novelist Virginia Ironside), and after the marriage was dissolved in 1961 to Jean Marsden (two daughters and one son).

Contents

Bahrain (1965)

History

Bahrain is a small island state located in the Persian Gulf, its strategic location been fought over for numerous centuries. In the mid eighteen century, the al-Khalifa clan took power over the island, but required British protection to maintain its rule. Bahrain became a British Protectorate from 1861 to 1971, supposedly self-governing but with the British in charge of foreign and security policy, as Britain established its control and influence in the broader region. The 1913 agreement between the British and the Ottoman Empires formally established Britain’s sphere of influence over Bahrain. In 1971, in the wake of Britain’s ‘East of Suez’ strategic extraction, Bahrain’s protectorate status was surrendered and Bahrain became self-governing under the rule of Sheikh Isa al-Khalifa.

Before the formation of UAE and independence of other Gulf states (in 1971), the Indian Rupee and Gulf Rupee were commonly used in this region. In the early to mid 20th century, the Indian Rupee was extensively used as currency in the countries of the Persian Gulf and Arabian Peninsula. To reduce the strain put on India's foreign reserves by gold smuggling caused by this external use of the rupee, a separate currency was created. The Gulf rupee was introduced by the Indian government in 1959 as a replacement for the Indian Rupee, for circulation exclusively outside India.

Two states, Kuwait and Bahrain, replaced the Gulf Rupee with their own currencies (the Kuwaiti Dinar and the Bahraini Dinar) after gaining independence from Britain in 1961 and 1965, respectively. The Kingdom of Bahrain established the Bahrain Currency Board in 1965 and issues the First Issue coin and note set of the Bahraini Dinar: Bank notes of BD10, BD5, BD1/2 and BD1/4 and 100 fils denominations; and, coins in denominations of 100 Fils, 50 Fils, 25 Fils, 10 Fils, 5 Fils and one Fils. The bank notes had the denomination and the emblem of the State on their face together with the traditional sailing boat, a Dhow.

The Royal Mint Advisory Committee

The Royal Mint Advisory Committee (RMAC) was established in 1922 with the personal approval of King George V with the role to raise the design standard of coins within the United Kingdom and its Empire. To a certain extent this role, connected with the Royal Mint that circulated the coins, allowed the government a degree of economic control of its vast Empire.

In the beginning of the 1960s, there was a proposal by the RMAC for a joint currency for Bahrain, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The Committee had at this stage appointed Christopher Ironside on a term contract and asked him to provide prototype designs for these coins. Three sets were prepared and presented, the first set depicted each denomination within its own geometric Arabic design which was favoured by the Committee; the second set, which was a thematic set depicting a goitred gazelle (Arabian gazelle now extinct), a peregrine falcon, a local fish, a mosque, an Arab dhow, oil derricks, and a date palm; and, a third set of Arabic designs. A file note, dated 24 February 1966, says: "The project for a common Gulf currency looks like being shelved for the time being and instead Qatar and Dubai are aiming to issue a joint currency in the near future."

The designs that were presented in the three sets were labelled as “Designs for Arabian Gulf coins”, and while these actual designs were never taken further, one does note that the design ideas do eventually appear in the coins of the countries in the region; namely Kuwait adopts an Arab dhow, Qatar and Dubai adopt a goitred gazelle, and Bahrain adopts the palm.

The designs for the United Arab Emirates coins (1972), designed by Geoffrey Colley another British artist who produced commissions for the Royal Mint, use a few of these themes. He may have had reference to these sets or have been inspired by them.

An overlay of the date palm sketch by Christopher Ironside in the Second Set on the 1965 Bahraini coins shows a remarkable similarity in design and scale of the palm tree, and of the text location. However, currently there are insufficient records to attribute the 1965 First Series coin set to Christopher Ironside.

Description of Coins

  • 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 Dirhams (A.1385-1411/C. 1965 - 1992). Struck by the Royal Mint, London.

These coins were struck as:

  • 1 Fils in bronze, 15mm dia. (1965–1966, 3 Million coins minted). Design: Date palm on the obverse, value on reverse.
  • 5 Fils in bronze, 2g, 18mm dia. 1966-1969 (8M). Design: as above.
  • 10 Fils in bronze, 5g, 24mm dia. 1966-1969 (8,5M). Design: as above.
  • 25 Fils in cupro-nickel, 2g, 16mm dia. 1966-1969 (11M). Design: as above.
  • 50 Fils in cupro-nickel, 3g, 20mm dia. 1966-1969 (7M). Design: as above.
  • 100 Fils in cupro-nickel, 6g, 25mm dia. 1966-1969 (8M). Design: as above.
  • A total 45,5 million coins minted (Individual mintage, in millions of coins, indicated in brackets above).

Tanzania (1966)

History

At the end of the First World War and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, in 1919, the newly formed League of Nations granted Britain the mandate to govern former German East Africa - which acquired the name of Tanganyika. The British policy encouraged indigenous African administration along traditional lines, through local councils and courts. A legislative council was established in Dar es Salaam, but African members were not elected to this council until after the Second World War. At the end of the war and the formation of the United Nations, the UN obligates local political development. British rule comes to an end in 1961 after a relatively peaceful transition to independence.

Julius Kambarage Nyerere, born in 1922, becomes the first Prime Minister of Tanganyika in 1961 and President of Tanganyika in 1962 until his retirement in 1985. He played a major part in the negotiations which in 1964 led to the union of the independent states of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, a union which brought Tanzania into existence. Monetary arrangements in Tanzania prior to l919 were different on the Mainland from those for Zanzibar, since the former was under German rule, while the latter had its own government. The currency on the Mainland was the German Rupee, made of silver, while the subsidiary coin was the Heller, which was 1/100 of the Rupee. In Zanzibar, the Indian Silver Rupee and its subsidiary coins were in circulation. In addition, shells and cattle used to serve as a store of value, and, to a certain extent, even as a medium of exchange. Commercial banking was introduced in the country in 1905, when the Deutsch-Ostafrikanische Bank opened its office in Dar es Salaam. This bank had a concession from the German Government to issue its own notes and coins, which helped the bank to meet the demand for coins in exchange for its notes. A temporary mint was set up in Tabora.

After World War One, the Mainland became a mandate territory of the United Kingdom and its monetary system was aligned to that of Kenya and Uganda, through the establishment of the East African Currency Board (EACB) in December 1919. Following gaining independence, the decision to dissolve the EACB and to establish separate Central Banks in Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda, the Bank of Tanzania Act, 1965, was passed by the National Assembly in December 1965, and the Bank was opened by the first President of Tanzania Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere on June 14, 1966. The First Issue Set of coins were issued in 1966 with a portrait of J. K. Nyerere on the obverse and African wildlife animals on the reverse. This set included circulation and commemorative sets. The last circulation coins with this first portrait were dated 1984. All regular types with this portrait have the word “TANZANIA” and the date above the portrait and the Swahili words “RAIS WA KWANZA” (roughly meaning “First President”) below. Both the obverse and reverse were designed by Christopher Ironside.

Description of Coins

  • 5, 10, 20 and 50 Senti; 1 and 5 Shilingi denominations (1966; circulation up to cir. 1984).

These coins were struck as:

  • 5 senti in bronze, 4g, 22,5mm dia. 1966-1984 (170 Million coins minted), dodecagonal (12-sided). Design: Sailfish.
  • 10 senti in nickel-brass, 5g, 25mm dia. 1977-1984 (48M), scalloped. Design: Running Zebra.
  • 20 senti in nickel-brass, 5g, 24mm dia. 1966-1984 (100M), round. Design: Running Ostrich.
  • 50 senti in copper-nickel, 4g, 21mm dia. 1966-1984 (56M); nickel-clad steel 1988-1990 (10M). Design: Bush rabbit.
  • 1 Shilingi in copper-nickel, 8g, 27,5mm dia. 1966-1984 (118M); nickel-clad steel 1987-1992 (slight change to design) (15M). Design: Outstretched arm holding a flaming torch.
  • 5 Shilingi in copper-nickel, 13g, 31mm dia. 1971- 1980 (19M), decagonal. Design: Value centre with four cell containing designs of crops and a resting bull.
  • A total 511 million coins minted (Individual mintage, in millions of coins, indicated in brackets above).

Reference:

  1. The British Museum, The Christopher Ironside Collection; Objects: Pencil drawn sketches.
  2. Private conversation Peter Dijkhuis and Jean Ironside.

Qatar and Dubai (1966)

History

The British settlement and administration of the Middle East began with the continued expansion of the British East India Company who had trade links across the Persian Gulf between the Far East, India and Britain. The Company set up a regional headquarters in Basra and later in the Aden Settlement (1839) as an anti-piracy station to protect British shipping interests in the region. Later the Trucial States (a group of 11 sheikdoms including Abu Dhabi and Dubai; called so because they had a truce with Britain) were brought into the British Empire with a similar purpose. British involvement in the region expanded to Egypt, due to the construction of the Suez Canal (1859), as well as to Bahrain, Qatar, and Muscat. During this period these States fell under the protectorate of Britain. In 1890’s Germany put forward a plan for a Berlin-Baghdad Railway, with Kuwait being the southern extension. There was a growing fear in the Britain that Germany was a rising power and would use this railway to give them greater access to the Persian Gulf, consequently the British signed an agreement in 1899 with the Shaikh of Kuwait that, in return for British protection, Kuwait would not enter into negotiations with any foreign power without British consent. As a consequence, most of these Protectorates’ foreign affairs were dealt with by the British Foreign Office. After the First World War the British influence in the Middle East reached its maximum extent with the inclusion of Palestine, Transjordan, and Iraq.

At first, Indian rupees were introduced to Aden and the Gulf States, and later during the First World War to Mesopotamia. However, the British government had already learned from experience in Canada, India, and Hong Kong, that it was highly impractical to impose a new currency in the place of already existing practices. The East African shilling was originally used in Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika but it soon spread to Zanzibar and British Somaliland, eventually crossing from the horn of Africa to Aden on the Arabian coast in 1951, where it replaced the rupee in that territory. In 1961, the dinar unit replaced the shilling in Aden and in the same year Kuwait adopted the dinar as a new unit of account to replace the Indian rupee. In 1966 the rupee was replaced by the dinar in Bahrain, and in Abu Dhabi, while in Qatar, Dubai and the remaining Trucial States, the rupee was replaced by the Saudi Riyal.

The Royal Mint Advisory Committee

The Royal Mint Advisory Committee (RMAC) was established in 1922 with the personal approval of King George V with the role to raise the design standard of coins within the United Kingdom and its Empire. To a certain extent this role, connected with the Royal Mint that circulated the coins, allowed the government a degree of economic control of its vast Empire.

Qatar and Dubai

In the beginning of the 1960s, there was a proposal by the RMAC for a joint currency for Qatar and Dubai (the remaining Trucial States). The Committee had at this stage appointed Christopher Ironside on a term contract and asked him to provide prototype designs for these coins. Three sets were prepared and presented, the first set depicted each denomination within its own geometric Arabic design which was favoured by the Committee; the second set, which was a thematic set depicting a goitred gazelle (Arabian gazelle now extinct), a peregrine falcon, a local fish, a mosque, an Arab dhow, oil derricks, and a date palm; and, a third set of Arabic designs. A file note, dated 24 February 1966, says: "The project for a common Gulf currency looks like being shelved for the time being and instead Qatar and Dubai are aiming to issue a joint currency in the near future."

In the mid-1960s Qatar and Dubai entered a currency union and organised the design and production of their own coin set. This joint currency was issued in 1966. The country names and denominations appear on the obverse, whilst a relatively simple design of a goitred gazelle adorns the reverse of all the coins (originally destined for the common currency to be used by Arab states of the Persian Gulf). The obverse and reverse of the coins were designed by Christopher Ironside.

It is not known if the coins for Kuwait, depicting a two sail dhow, were a further refinement of the dhow design prepared in Series C by Christopher Ironside for currencies in the Persain Gulf. On 2 December 1971 the United Arab Emirates was formed from the emirates of Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain after Britain ceased its role as Protectorate in the Persian Gulf. From a review of the new coins that emerged for the UAE, one would suggest that Christopher Ironside’s designs set the template or strongly influenced their design. The United Arab Emirates dirham was introduced in 1973. It replaced the Qatar and Dubai riyal at par. The Qatar and Dubai riyal was in circulation since 1966 in all of the emirates except Abu Dhabi, where the dirham replaced the Bahraini dinar at 1 dirham = 0.1 dinar.

Description of Coins

  • 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 Dirhams (A. 1386–1389/ AD.1966 - 1969); Qatar and Dubai.

These coins were struck as:

  • 1 Dirhem in bronze, 1,5g, 15mm dia. 1966-1969 Ahmad II period (1966, 1 Million coins minted). Design: Gazelle on the reverse, value on obverse.
  • 2 Dirhams in bronze, 3,75g, 22mm dia. 1966-1969 (4M). Design: as above.
  • 5 Dirhams in bronze, 3,75g, 22mm dia. 1966-1969 (4M). Design: as above.
  • 10 Dirhams in bronze, 3,75g, 22mm dia. 1966-1971 (2M). Design: as above.
  • 25 Dirhams in copper-nickel, 3,5g, 20mm dia. 1966-1969 (4M). Design: as above.
  • 50 Dirhams in copper-nickel, 6,5g, 25mm dia. 1966-1969 (2M). Design: as above.
  • A total 17 million coins minted (Individual mintage, in millions of coins, indicated in brackets above).

Reference:

  1. The British Museum, The Christopher Ironside Collection; Object: Pencil drawn sketch of a design for a 25 Dirham coin, (obverse) the English inscription is around the edge with the central inscription in Arabic; (reverse) the inscription is around the edge with an image of a goitred gazelle in the centre seen side on facing right.
  2. The British Museum. Block with mounted copies of suggested designs for Arabian Gulf currency, Series A. (obverse) block with twelve photographs of designs for the obverse of Arabian Gulf currency. Ornamental patterns at centre. Arabic script and numerals around the edges of the coins.
  3. The British Museum. Block with mounted copies of suggested designs for Arabian Gulf currency, Series B. (obverse) block with eleven photographs of designs for the reverse of Arabian Gulf currency. Pencil and pen annotations. Ornamental patterns with value at centre. Arabic script around the edges of the coins.
  4. The British Museum. Block with mounted copies of suggested designs for Arabian Gulf currency, Series C. (obverse) block with fifteen photographs of designs for the reverse of Arabian Gulf currency. Pencil annotations. Designs with oil refinery, eagle, gazelle, fish, palm tree, mosque or dhow at centre. Arabic script around the edges of the coins.
  5. Private conversation Peter Dijkhuis and Jean Ironside.

Brunei (1967)

History

Early trade between the numerous islands of Malaysian, the Philippines and Indonesia used the cowrie shells as currency to trade. Brunei issued tin coins denominated in pitis in 1868. These were followed by a one cent coin in 1888. This cent was one hundredth of a Straits dollar used commonly between the islands. In 1959, a new constitution was written declaring Brunei a self-governing state, while its foreign affairs, security, and defence remained the responsibility of the United Kingdom. It is assumed that the control of the currency and mintage was still undertaken by the United Kingdom.

As a protectorate in the early 20th century, Brunei used the Straits dollar and later the Malayan dollar and the Malaya and British Borneo dollar until 1967, when it began issuing its own currency. This occurred at the same time as the abdication of Sultan Omar in 1967 in favour of his eldest son, Hassanal Bolkiah, who became the 29th ruler.

The Brunei Currency Board was established in 1967 and introduced the Brunei Dollar as the new currency of Brunei, replacing the Malaya and British Borneo dollar after the Currency Union Agreement between Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei was terminated and all three countries issued their own currencies. The interchanging of currencies continued until May 8, 1973 when Malaysia terminated the agreement with Singapore and Brunei. The Currency Interchangeability Agreement between Singapore and Brunei is still existent. On 27 June 2007, Singapore and Brunei celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Currency Interchangeability Agreement with the joint-issue of the commemorative $20 notes.

First Series (1967): The decision was taken to adopt a native Bruneian currency called the Brunei dollar, which was divided into 100 cents (or sen in Malay). The portrait of Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin III (ruled 1950-1967) was depicted on the obverse. The reverse of these coins was designed by Christopher Ironside.

Second Series (1968–1977): Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah acceded to the throne upon the abdication of his father. The obverse changed to reflect the new Sultan’s face but the reverse and coin’s technical specifications remained the same.

Third Series (1977–1992): Text change but coins remain unchanged.

Fourth Series (1993- current): New portrait of Sultan facing forward is adopted; reverse of coins remains the same.

Description of Coins

  • 1, 5, 10, 20, 50sen and Dollar denominations.
  • Inscription to obverse: KERAJAAN BRUNEI TWENTY SEN 1966

These coins were struck as:

  • 1 sen in copper-plated zinc, 1g, 17mm dia. (18,5M). Reverse design: representation of flower or blossom.
  • 5 sen in Aluminium, 2g, 16mm dia. (25,5M). Reverse design: representation of a bird in flight.
  • 10 sen in cupro-nickel, 2g, 19mm dia. (45M). Reverse design: representation of a land animal.
  • 20 sen in cupro-nickel, 4g, 23mm dia. (32M). Reverse design: representation of a tree.
  • 50 sen in cupro-nickel, 7g, 27mm dia.(13M) . Reverse design: Coat of Arms.
  • A total 104 million coins minted (Individual mintage, in millions of coins, indicated in brackets above).
  • A 10 Dollar coin depicting a portrait of Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin III on the obverse, and dollar signs on the reverse was prepared by Ironside but was never taken into production (see British Museum collection).

Reference (Brunei):

  1. The British Museum, The Christopher Ironside Collection; Object: Pencil drawn sketches of designs for the obverse and the reverse of coins from Brunei.
  2. “Standard catalog of world coins: 1901-2000”, Colin R. Bruce (pg. 282).
  3. Private conversation Peter Dijkhuis and Jean Ironside.

Jamaica (1969)

History

Historically, Jamaica’s coinage shares a rich history of Spanish and British Colonial Empire influences as the island played an important part in the global trading routes between the Old and the New Worlds. The coins which circulated consisted of a mixture of many denominations struck in widespread areas of the globe by the more important commercial powers and their minting dependencies in the New World. Later, as part of the British Empire, changes to the design to the coins were made when British sovereigns changed, the sizes were reduced in 1937 and an up-dated version of the coat of arms was used in 1964 following independence in 1962. In October 1960, the Bank of Jamaica was given the sole right to mint coins and produce banknotes in Jamaica. Their notes were released on May 1, 1961 in the denominations of 5s, 10s, £1 and £5. On 30 January 1968, the House of Representatives unanimously approved the report of the Select Committee of the House, which had been appointed to study and make recommendations on the decimalization of Jamaica's currency. The chief recommendations were that: 1. the currency should be decimalized on the basis of the 10/- unit; 2. the names of the major and minor units should be 'dollar' and 'cent' respectively; and, 3. the change should take place some time in September/October 1969.

The Committee recommended that, as far as was possible, the new coins should be the same size and weight as the denominations in the pounds, shillings and pence, to which the public had become accustomed. With regard to the notes, it was recommended that portraits of national heroes should replace the portrait of the Queen and that the motto should be incorporated in the design of the new notes. It was felt that there would be some advantage to be gained through association, if the new notes could be the same size and have the same basic colours as their equivalents in the sterling denominations. The introduction of a decimal currency provided the opportunity for the introduction of a complete Jamaican coinage as formerly, the coins (with the exception of the penny and halfpenny), were the same as those used in the United Kingdom. The reverse of the decimal coinage was designed by C. Ironside.

With regard to the design, it was decided that the portrait of the ruling British monarch, which had appeared on the obverse of all coins, would be replaced by the Jamaican coat of arms, with national symbols on the reverse depicting aspects of the island's flora and fauna, images that reflect the ideals of the newly independent country. The coins, minted by the British Royal Mint, were first put into circulation on the 8th September 1969. They were all made from cupro-nickel with the exception of the 1cent, which was made from copper. In 1970 the metallic composition of the 1cent was changed to bronze.

Description of Coins

  • 1, 5, 10, 20 and 25 penny/cent denominations (1969; circulation up to cir. 1990).
  • The Franklin Mint and Royal Mint have both been striking the 1 cent through 1 Dollar coinage. The 1970 issues were all struck with dies similar to/or Royal Mint without the FM mint mark. The Royal Mint issues have the name JAMAICA extending beyond the native headdress feathers, while those struck after 1970 by FM have the name within the headdress.

These coins were struck as:

  • 1 cent in bronze, 4g, 21mm dia. 1969-1974 ( 65Million coins minted); Aluminium 1975-2002 (108M), only proofs cast after 1987. Design: Ackee fruit, the national fruit.
  • 5 cent in copper-nickel, 2.8g, 20mm dia. 1969-1989 (82M); nickel-plated steel 1990-1993. Design: American crocodile.
  • 10 cent in copper-nickel, 5.75g, 23,5mm dia. 1969-1989 (145M). Design: Butterfly within leafy sprigs of the lignum vitae, the national flower.
  • 20 cents in copper-nickel, 11g, 29mm dia. 1969-1990 (18M). Design: the national tree, blue mahoe.
  • 25 cent in copper-nickel, 14.5g, 32mm dia. 1969-1894 (20M). Design used for 25th Bank of Jamaica Anniversary. Design: National bird, the swallow-tailed humming bird retrieving nectar from a flower
  • The reverse of the above by C. Ironside.
  • A total 450 million coins minted (Individual mintage, in millions of coins, indicated in brackets above).
  • 50 cents (introduced 1976; ceased circulation 1989); 1, 5, 10 & 20 Dollar coins (by other designers).
  • ½ penny denomination used up to 1969; coat of arms on the reverse, designer Percy Metcalfe.

Reference (Jamaican Coins):

  1. The British Museum, The Christopher Ironside Collection; Object: Pencil drawn sketch of a design for the reverse of a 10 dollar coin from Jamaica (Item 143). This could possibly be the Jamaica 1975 10 Dollar Coin, Sterling Silver Proof. Commemorative coin honouring Christopher Columbus who discovered the island in 1494. Obverse features Christopher Columbus, his ship the Nina is in the background. Reverse shows the Jamaica coat of arms flanked by a male and female Arawak Indian; 0.925 sterling silver, 45mm, mintage 29,000. Minted by The Franklin Mint.
  2. “Standard catalog of world coins: 1901-2000”, Colin R. Bruce (pg. 1263-1265).
  3. Bank of Jamaica: http://www.boj.org.jm/currency_history.php
  4. Numista: http://en.numista.com/catalogue/pieces5787.html
  5. Private conversation Peter Dijkhuis with Jean Ironside.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)(1970)

History

On the 16th of October 1945 the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations was founded in Quebec City, Canada. Their goal was to "modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices and ensure good nutrition for all". In 1968, the FAO started the Money and Medals programme to help spread its message of the urgent need to increase food and agricultural production across the world. They encourage governments to use their coinage to promote this important message.

In 1970’s they initiated a panel of coins to “draw attention to the most important challenge of our time, that of providing food, training and work for a rapidly expanding world population”. These coins had two purposes, to serve as daily reminders, over the period of a generation, of the national and international efforts needed to meet the challenge of world food development, and to provide, through seigniorage as funds to help finance such development (seigniorage: is a tax added to the total price of a coin, i.e. the metal content and production costs, that a person has to pay to the mint, the monies of which are then sent to the sovereign country). People buying these FAO coin panels were thus making a personal contribution toward tackling the challenge set by this programme.

The 1970’s FAO coin panel was the first international coin issue in monetary history. There were 23 contributing designers from around the world, amongst them Stuart Devlin, William Gardner and Christopher Ironside (set-out below).

Description of Coins

The complete set of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 1970 Coin Set; 45 coins representing 33 countries; 10,000 numbered box sets mounted in a red cardboard album.

Coins of the British Commonwealth; reverse by Christopher Ironside.

These coins were struck as (Board 1):

  • Jamaica: 1 cent in bronze, 2g, 21mm dia. 1975-2000; shaped 12-sided; (Mintage 15M). Struck by the Royal Mint London; Design: Ackee the national fruit of Jamaica; Inscription: The national fruit.
  • Rwanda: 2 Francs in aluminium, 1,5g, 23mm dia. 1970; scalloped with 16 notches (Mintage 5M). Struck by the Royal Mint, London. Design: Boy filling coffee basket symbol of the Rwanda Savings Bank; Inscription: Augmentons La Production (Let us increase production).
  • Egypt: 10 Piastres in copper-nickel, 1970; (Mintage 500,000). Struck by the Royal Mint, London. Design: Livestock, fruit and cereals; Inscription: Grow more Food. (Can’t confirm if the Ironside design was used on this coin, however the description given in FAO notes does fit a coin with this design which was included in the series).

Reference (FAO)

  1. The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations Booklet, 1968–1974; coins 1969-1970.
  2. There are designs prepared by Christopher Ironside held in the National Achieves in Kew that illustrate other themes relating to the idea of Food for all the World, namely: 5c Deer; 5c Ram, 5c Fish and 5c Chickens. It does not appear that these designs were ever used.
  3. Private conversation Peter Dijkhuis and Jean Ironside.

Isle of Man (1970)

History

The Isle of Man has had its own coinage intermittently since 1709, the first issue of the Earl of Derby, until the final issue of Queen Victoria in 1839. The Royal Mint struck a Crown (25 pence) for I.O.M. in 1970.

Under the provision of the Manx Decimal Currency Act of 1970, a decimal series of coins were prepared and released on the 20th October 1971 (½, 1, 2, 5, 10 and 50 new pence coins). The reverse of most of these coins was designed by Christopher Ironside. This set had the same composition and size as the corresponding British coins. From 1972 onwards, production of the coinage and commemorative crowns was transferred from the Royal Mint to Pobjoy Mint. The word "new" was removed from the coins in 1976. The designs for the coins following on from this set, for the period 1976 to 1979, tended to follow the same design theme as the decimal set.

As well as producing non-circulating commemorative designs, the Isle of Man regularly changes the designs on their circulating coins, usually at intervals of approximately five years. One reason for this is to increase sales to collectors, which is an important source of income for the Isle of Man. Many subjects on commemorative coins have appeared, usually on denominations of 25p (crowns), 50p, £1 and £2. Coinage from 1971 on has been continuous and is struck by Britain's Pobjoy Mint.

Description of Coins

  • Same currency denomination as the UK.

These coins were struck as:

1971 First Decimal Set (issued from 1971 to 1974):

  • ½ New penny, bronze; 2g, 17mm dia. (300,000 minted); reverse Cushag yellow field flower regarded as the national flower.
  • 1 New penny, bronze; 4g, 20mm dia. (1M mintage); reverse design of a ring chain cross based on 10th and 11th Century Norse decorations.
  • 5 New pence, cupro-nickel; 5g, 24mm dia. (100,000 minted); reverse design showing the Tower of Refuge, which was erected in 1832 on the rock near the entrance to Douglas Harbour, notorious as a place of shipwreck .
  • 10 New pence, cupro-nickel; 11g, 28mm dia. (1,6M); reverse design the Tree Legs of Man, the official arms of the Isle of Man. This is a traditional design that has appeared on a long line of IOM coins,
  • 50 New pence, silver; 13g, 30mm dia. (Mintage 100,000); septagonal; reverse design a Viking ship.
  • 1 Crown; cupro-nickel; 38mm dia. Manx cat by C. Ironside. Commemorative Silver 1970. This is a very traditional design motif dating back to the 1700s.
  • On all of the above: obverse of QEII by Arnold Machin; reverse by Christopher Ironside.
  • 2 New penny bronze; reverse design of two falcons by Kruger-Gray.
  • A total of 3,2million coins minted (Individual mintages indicated in brackets above).

1971 Independence Proof: Coin set of 9 coins in fitted case, 750 issued.

1975 Silver and Proof coin sets: 1 New penny; 1975 gold Proof (600 minted); 10 New pence; 1975 silver (20,000 minted) and gold proofs (600 minted); and, 10 pence; 1976 silver (20,000 minted) and 1977 gold proofs (12,000 minted).

Reference (Isle of Man):

  1. The British Museum, The Christopher Ironside Collection; Object: Pencil drawn sketch of a design for the reverse of a 50 New pence coin from Isle of Man (Item 79 & 80), dated 1960’s: the inscription is around the edge with a central image of an eagle (seen side on) stood above a child in a basket. Design not used.
  2. “Standard catalog of world coins: 1901-2000”, Colin R. Bruce (pg. 1155-8).
  3. http://en.numista.com/catalogue/pieces19123.html (see series).
  4. Private conversation Peter Dijkhuis with Jean Ironside.

Gibraltar (1971)

History

In the 1970s as part of the UK’s decimalisation of its currency, other countries under its sovereignty changed their currency accordingly.

Description of Coins

  • 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 25p, 50p, and 1 pound.
  • Gibraltar's coins are the same weight, size, shape and metal as UK coins, although the designs are different.
  • 25 New Pence (= 1 Crown), copper-nickel, 38mm dia.; round, 1971 (75,000 minted by the Royal Mint; silver proofs, 20,000 minted). Obverse design: Queen Elizabeth II by Arnold Machin; reverse design: Barbary Ape by C. Ironside.
  • The use of the Barbary Ape appears to be a continual theme with the introduction of a new Barbary Ape design on the 5 pence coin put into circulation in 1988 and currently still in circulation.

Reference (Gibraltar):

  1. The British Museum, The Christopher Ironside Collection; Object: Pencil drawn sketch of a design for the reverse of a 25 pence coin from Gibraltar (Item 112 & 176), namely, a first inscription around the edge of the coin with the coat of arms of Gibraltar in the centre - with a second inscription forming part of this.
  2. “Standard catalog of world coins: 1901-2000”, Colin R. Bruce (pg. 924).
  3. Private conversation Peter Dijkhuis and Jean Ironside.

Mauritius (1971)

History

Following the Napoleonic Wars, by the Treaty of Paris (1814), Mauritius became the possession of the British Empire from 1814 up to independence in 1968. The British administration established by law in 1876 the rupee as the local currency of Mauritius. The rupee was chosen due to the massive inflow of Indian rupees following Indian immigration to Mauritius. The Mauritian rupee was introduced in 1877: 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 cents coins, with the lower three denominations in copper and the higher two in silver. Coin production ceased in 1899 and did not recommence until 1911, with silver coins not produced again until 1934, when ¼, ½ and 1 rupee coins were introduced. In 1947, cupro-nickel 10 cents were introduced, with cupro-nickel replacing silver in 1950.

In 1971 a new set of coins and banknotes were introduced by the Royal Mint. This set has Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse and a range of heraldic motives on the reverse. Some of the reverse designs for this set were designed by Christopher Ironside.

In 1987, a new series of coins was introduced which, for the first time, did not feature the portrait of the monarch.

Historically, the Seychelles, a dependency of Mauritius, used the same coins. It was not until 1948 that the Seychelles issued their own 1, 2 and 5 cents. However, they did continued with the Mauritian design for lower value coins, a design dating back to the 1850s.

Description of Coins

Rupees and cents (design cir. 1971).

These coins were struck as:

1971 Mauritius Independence Proof Set: Set of 9 coins in fitted case, 750 issued, comprising:

  • 200 rupees, gold, 27mm dia.; (2,500 minted); Obverse: Elizabeth II; reverse design courting couple by C. Ironside.
  • 10 rupees, silver, 35mm dia.; Reverse design of a Dodo by C. Ironside. Historically the Dodo was a native bird from the island which was exported and hunted to extinction.

Other coins in this set include:

  • 1 rupee, cupro-nickel, 29mm dia. Reverse design coat of arms in shield.
  • ½ rupee, cupro-nickel, 23mm dia. Reverse design stag by G. Kruger-Grey.
  • ¼ rupee, cupro-nickel, 19mm dia. Reverse design crown, rose, fleur-de-lys, floral emblem by G. Kruger-Grey.
  • 10 cents, cupro-nickel, 23mm dia. Reverse design scalloped, value “10”.
  • 5, 2 and 1 cent, bronze (28,23,17mm dia.). Reverse design value in circle.

1974 t0 1975 World Wildlife Fund Silver Proof Coin Collection. In the early 1970s the WWF organised for each of twenty-four different countries to issue two proof silver crowns, each depicting some form of endangered species from their particular region of the planet. Mauritius issues the following two coins:

  • 25 rupees, silver, 38mm dia. Obverse: Elizabeth II; reverse Blue Swallowtail Butterfly on flower.
  • 50 rupees, silver, 42mm dia. Reverse Mauritius Kestrel by C. Ironside (see below, originally this design was to be used on a 25 rupees coin).

1988, Mauritian Proof: 250 Rupees, gold. Obverse: The Rt. Hon. Jugnauth (designer unknown); reverse: Dodo design by C. Ironside.

Reference (Mauritius)

  1. "Standard catalog of world coins: 1901-2000”, Colin R. Bruce (pg. 1430).
  2. The British Museum, The Christopher Ironside Collection.
  • Object: Pencil drawn sketch of a design for the reverse of a 10 rupee coin from Mauritius.
  • Object: Pencil drawn sketch of a design for the reverse of a 25 rupee coin from Mauritius (Item 108 & 166); The inscription is around the edge of the coin with a central image of a bird with a lizard like creature in its claws. The annotation is below the design on the left.
  • Object: Three identical mounted drawings of different sizes for a Mauritius 200 Rupee coin. (obverse) The inscription is around the edge of the coin with a central image of a man and woman lounging around outside surrounded by trees and foliage. The annotation is directly below the design. This is repeated for each of the three coins (Item 139).

Malta (1972)

History

In 1967 the Currency Decimalisation Committee recommended, and the Maltese Government later approved legislation in 1971, for the decimalisation of the local currency. The British coins that were in local circulation (¼d, ½d, 1d, 3d, 6d, 1/-, 2/-, 2/6, the 5/- (Churchill Crown), and the 5p, 10p and 50p), were demonetised in stages, and in May 1972 a new set of Maltese coins was issued. The Malta pound, which was renamed Maltese lira (Lm) in 1983, was retained as the currency unit. On 13 December 1974, Malta was proclaimed a Republic within the Commonwealth. To commemorate this event, a 25 cents coin in nickel brass was issued in June 1975.

It appears that the brief for the new coins was twofold, one to proclaim the country’s independence; and two, to feature distinguished personalities, historical monuments/edifices, Maltese flora and fauna and folkloristic articles. These coins were designed by Christopher Ironside.

Apart from coins for general circulation, sets of Proof (8,000 issued), Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) and Silver Set were issued. The decimal sets were struck at The Royal Mint, in London. Although the Gold and Silver sets are dated 1972, they were issued by the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM) in Rome, on the 30th of January 1973. There are 15,648 complete sets of Lm50, LM20 and Lm5 gold coins.

On the 13th December 1974, a new Constitution was approved in Parliament and Malta was proclaimed a Republic within the Commonwealth. Following this event, a new emblem was adopted on the obverse of the coins. However, 2000 Gold and Silver sets of the 1975 (fourth series) issue had already been minted. This limited number was released by the Government mint, but subsequent 1975 Malta Coins, although identical in the obverse, bore the new Emblem on there reverse side. On March the 5th, 1976, an agreement was signed by The Central Bank of Malta and The Franklin Mint Corporation of Pennsylvania, USA, granting the latter the exclusive rights to mint, distribute and sell the Decimal Proof coins of Malta. This agreement expired on December 31, 1978.

Description of Coins Eight coins were issued in the following denominations: 2 mils, 3 mils, 5 mils, 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 50 cents. The mils were in aluminium, the 1 cent in bronze, and the rest in cupro-nickel.

These coins were struck as:

  • 2 mils in aluminium, 1g, 20,3mm dia., scalloped, 1972-1986 (100,000). Obverse design: Maltese cross (reference to the Knights of St John and the occupation of Malta). The Maltese cross is the national symbol of Malta and is displayed as part of the Maltese civil ensign. The obverse perimeter design of four fishes and the reverse design of plant leaves around edges with denomination in the centre standard to all coins.
  • 3 mils in aluminium, 1,5g, 23mm dia., scalloped, 1972-1986 (71,000). Obverse design: Maltese bee wings outspread over a honeycomb. Historically the bee has long been the symbol of industry and hard work, while the honeycomb represents the manifestation of divine harmony in nature.
  • 5 mils in aluminium, 2,1g, 26mm dia., scalloped, 1972-1986 (4,5M). Obverse design: figure of a water carrier.
  • 1 cent in bronze, 7g, 26mm dia., round, 1972-1986 (10M). Obverse design: George cross.
  • 2 cent in copper-nickel, 17mm dia. 1972-1986 (13M). Obverse design: Knights Hospitaler wearing an elm.
  • 5 cent in copper-nickel, 5,6g, 23mm dia., round, 1972-1981 (5M). Obverse design: temple altar found in the Mnajdra, a megalithic temple complex in Malta (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
  • 10 cent in copper-nickel, 11g, 28,5mm dia., round, 1972-1981 (10M). Obverse design: Grand Master's barge.
  • 50 cent in copper-nickel, 13g, 32,9mm dia. 1972-1981 (10M). Obverse design: man with sword and shield flanked by two women.
  • A total 52½ million coins minted (Individual mintage, in millions of coins, indicated in brackets above).

Reference (Malta)

  1. The British Museum, The Christopher Ironside Collection; Object: Pencil drawn sketches of designs for the obverse and the reverse of coins from Malta.
  2. “Standard catalog of world coins: 1901-2000”, Colin R. Bruce (pg. 1417).
  3. Private conversation Peter Dijkhuis and Jean Ironside.

Kuwait (1976)

Description of Coin

Commemorative coin, uncirculated.

This coin was struck as:

  • 2 Dinars in 50% silver and 50% nickel (although some descriptions state 99% silver), 28g, 38mm dia. 1976 ( 70,00 minted; uncirculated); The 15th Anniversary of the National Day of the State of Kuwait. Obverse carrying the profiles of Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah, who was the last Sheikh and first Emir of Kuwait and who witnessed the independence of Kuwait, and his half-brother Sabah Al-Salim Al-Sabah who succeeded him and was Emir at the time the coin was struck; reverse depicting the gate of the old wall of Kuwait City; a dhows, a traditional sailing boat used throughout the region; and, an oil derrick, the main source of wealth for the country.
  • Christopher Ironside designed the obverse, while the reverse is not documented.

Reference (Kuwait)

  1. The British Museum, The Christopher Ironside Collection; Object: Pencil drawn sketch of a design for the obverse of a Kuwait commemorative coin; inscription around the edge with a central image of two male heads facing right.
  2. Private conversation Peter Dijkhuis and Jean Ironside.

Singapore (1985)

History

Singapore’s first set of circulation coins following independence from the UK in 1963, known as the Marine Series, were issued in 1967. These were designed by Australian Stuart Devlin who deviated considerably from the original brief set by the Singapore Mint which was to design coins showing the national flower (Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid) and other orchids to signify Singapore as a garden city. Devlin felt that the orchids were too similar to effect a distinctive design for each coin and consequently he presented alternative designs which were adopted:- 1cent Fountain in front of high-rise flat block; 5cents Great white egret; 10cents Great crowned seahorse; 20cents Swordfish; 50cents Firefish; and, $1 Squinte, the mythical merlion (Devlin was also responsible for the first decimal designs of Australia). These coins were in circulation from 1967 to 1985.

Singapore’s next series of coins, designed in cir. 1981 and put into circulation 1985 were known as the Floral Series. These were designed by Christopher Ironside. The brief was to highlight the botanical diversity of Singapore as part of a government effort to foster national pride and identity. The Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid was chosen as the country's national flower in 1981.

Description of Coins

  • 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent, 1 Dollar denominations (design cir. 1980; circulation 1985 - current).
  • The obverse design bears the Singapore Arms in the centre surrounded by the word "SINGAPORE" in the four official languages around the circumference of the coins. The year-date is below the Singapore Arms.

These coins were struck as:

  • 1 cent in bronze, 2g, 18mm dia. 1985-1990; copper-plated zinc 1992- current (636M). Stopped minting in 2002. Shows Singapore’s national flower, Vanda Miss Joaquim.
  • 5 cent in aluminium-bronze, 1,6g, 16mm dia. 1985- current (520M). Shows the fruit salad plant (Monstera deliciosa).
  • 10 cent in copper-nickel, 2,8g, 19mm dia. 1985- current (1,300M). Shows the star jasmine (Jasminum multiflorum).
  • 20 cents in copper-nickel, 6g, 24mm dia. 1985- current (900M). Shows the powder-puff plant (Calliandra surinamensis).
  • 50 cent in copper-nickel, 7g, 24mm dia. 2nd Dec 1985- current (450M). Stopped minting 2007. Shows the yellow Allamanda (Allamanda cathartica).
  • 1 Dollar in Aluminium-bronze, 6g, 22mm dia. 28th Sept 1987- current (660M). Stopped minting 2006. Shows periwinkle (Lochnera rosea).
  • The reverse of the above by C.Ironside.
  • 5 Dollar in Copper-nickel, commemorative issue 25-Years of Nation Building (possibly Christopher’s design), 1984.
  • A total 4,5billion coins minted (Individual mintage, in millions of coins, indicated in brackets above).

Reference (Singapore)

  1. There is a possibility that the original design work is stored in the National Archives, Kew.
  2. Private conversation Peter Dijkhuis and Jean Ironside.

References


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