Ultra-modern numismatist P.K. Saha forwarded the following press release from the Bank of Jamaica regarding a departure from the Jamaican tradition of unusual shapes for their circulating coins.
Bank of Jamaica wishes to advise that new-shaped One and Ten Dollar coins will go into
general circulation on 8 September 2009.
The current seven-sided design (heptagonal) of the One Dollar will be replaced by a round coin
with the heptagonal shape within the circle. The coin continues to bear the portrait of The Right
Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante, National Hero. All other technical specifications remain
The current scalloped-shaped design of the Ten Dollar will be replaced by a round coin with the
scalloped shape within the circle. The coin continues to bear the portrait of The Right Excellent
George William Gordon, National Hero. All other technical specifications remain unchanged.
Coins bearing the old designs remain legal tender and will continue to circulate alongside the
new-shaped coins until the stock of the old-shaped coins is exhausted.
Bank of Jamaica
Do any of our readers specialize in odd-shaped coins of the world? Is there a trend toward eliminating unusual shapes? If so, why? Are they just more expensive to produce than normal round coins?
The process of making gradual design changes is one of the oldest tricks in the marketing book. At first glance the old and new coins look very much alike despite their different shapes. It's like the new coins sport a picture of the old ones, which reminds me of the old practice of picturing the equivalent coin on a banknote of the same denomination. For example, many U.S. scrip notes of the 1830s pictured the equivalent Spanish coin or fraction thereof. Has some professor ever coined a word for this phenomenon?
QUICK QUIZ: how many different examples of picturing coins within a coin or banknote can you name? Provide images where possible, and we'll have some fun with this topic next week.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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