Bitch on the Blog

March 20, 2014


Filed under: Architecture — bitchontheblog @ 07:35
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Not quite as simple a question as it sounds: Why are coins round?

My two favourite British coins are the 50 p and the 20 p. Both are round but they have edges. So I am delighted with the new One Pound Sterling design. You’d be able to identify it in the darkest of darknesses, just by fingering it. Yet, it too is, more or less, still round.

Why not a square, an oval, or a really long coin? A thick one, a wafer. No, not an invisible. That won’t work.

Let yourself get carried away in a dreamy moment and you might wish to speculate on the hierarchy of coins: Gold, silver, brass. And, yes, that sweetest of coins, the penny – in any country’s denomination – does hold a special place in my heart.



  1. Good idea. Square coins. Then they won’t roll away, never to be found, when you drop them.

    Comment by bikehikebabe66 — March 20, 2014 @ 14:05 | Reply

    • That’s brilliant, Cynthia. Yes, the ever rolling away from you coin. Hadn’t thought of that.

      And then there are bank notes. I like notes. Particularly when they are crisp. Maybe an oddity of mine: I find it far harder to spend an unlined fiver than a tattered one. Which is why I always ask for pristine notes when I draw out cash. Saves me money.

      Mind you, don’t know what it’s like in the States, here in Britain they are going to introduce some sort of plastic bank notes. How that’s going to work I do not know: You can’t fold them for starters. And they are probably slippery, slip sliding away. Plastic on aesthetic grounds alone questionable. And you know what the reasoning is? The plastic makes the bank notes more difficult to forge. Forge? Who has time to forge? Is there no end to human paranoia? Health and safety? Fences? Always wishing to be on the safe side of life?

      One of these days I see mankind so clammed up and clamped down they won’t be able to open up that orifice that makes us flush the toilet. The upside being that we’ll save on water. What a slogan: “Save the planet, blow your bowels”.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — March 21, 2014 @ 09:52 | Reply

  2. We have had, square shaped and octagonal shaped ones too. They were for the smaller denominations and they are rapidly getting out of circulation as the lowest unit is increasingly getting to be a rupee.

    Comment by rummuser — March 20, 2014 @ 14:43 | Reply

    • You know, Ramana, I so like the ‘rupee’. There is romance to a rupee. Eastern promise. Markets. Colour. Haggling. Princes. Khol. Men with head gear. In dresses (Kaftan by another name and all the other garments you have instructed your readers in). If I don’t curb my enthusiasm NOW we’ll end up belly dancing two paragraphs down.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — March 21, 2014 @ 10:06 | Reply

  3. catching up with you – disagree with some posts, agree with others, that’s life, that’s opinionated people. I’ve been known to have a few. Suicide? You have never touched her tempting hem my dear.

    Coins? we should be able to insert one into our wrists and pass through the world sans wallet, sans passport. Coins are passé.


    Comment by wisewebwoman — March 20, 2014 @ 16:33 | Reply

    • Good to hear from you, WWW. Did go over to yours earlier. As yet have to chisel a (not so) perfectly formed opinion/answer/view. Yours is strong tobacco.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — March 20, 2014 @ 16:40 | Reply

    • Passé? Oh dear….. There is no hope for me then….. I do love those things that are described as passé. Books. Vinyl records. Valve radios. Neck ties. Cravats. Harris Tweed sports jackets. Only a short while ago I could have included my beloved tan brogues but I increasingly see them on the feet of male models in the press so perhaps there is hope for the world yet.

      Comment by magpie11 — March 21, 2014 @ 13:35 | Reply

    • About passé….. I have always appreciated women wearing skirts(not those tight ones that…well, least said) and once had the temerity to audibly compliment a colleague on hers. Another colleague immediately responded, “But they’re sooo passé.” I was of course labelled as sexist.

      Comment by magpie11 — March 21, 2014 @ 13:39 | Reply


    Fifty Pence and Twenty pence pieces are (apparently) equicurved heptagons…. I loved the old Threepenny piece with its 12 sides and picture of Armeria maritima aka (sea) Thrift. Not that I am at all thrifty.

    I loathe modern “copper” coins as they are made of some ferromagnetic material and then copper plated……

    I wonder if the middle bits of the proposed coins will be able to be pushed out?

    Does anyone else feel (everso slightly) that all these “celebratory” and “commemorative” designs used on British coinage rather de value our money? You never know what you are likely to find next.
    in your purse ot pocket.

    Comment by magpie11 — March 20, 2014 @ 18:34 | Reply

    • I don’t think ‘celebratory’, commemorative designs “devalue our money”. I am not a collector of anything yet, when the Angel was little, I went through a peculiar phase of buying all sorts of limited edition Royal Mint Coins for him at a far higher price than the actual coin’s value. Rather touching: My father bought his grandson the last five pound Deutschmark coin before the Euro took over.

      Makes you think, doesn’t it, Magpie: I am not particularly nationalistic other than that I obviously know where I come from even if I haven’t lived there most my adult life. Yet, the Deutschmark? I know few Germans who don’t mourn its loss. It is a symbol. Adenauer and all that. It is strange, maybe worth looking into, how we – nostalgically – define nations via their currency. The lira conjuring up a different image to, say, the Dollar. Yes, who’d have thought how much romance there is in denomination.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — March 21, 2014 @ 10:22 | Reply

      • You have something there…. I still find myself thinking in “real” money at times….. a daily paper costing eleven shillings? (55pence for those as don’t know). My father once opined (good at opining was my father…. perhaps that is where I get it from… that it would be a shame to see the “Half Crown Loaf” in fact he expressed ad esire never to live to see it. He didn’t. Half a Crown , two shillings and sixpence, Twelve and a half pence……Now we can understand inflation and the devaluation of currency….. I can still do Long Division of pounds, shillings, pence and farthings….. Were there not Schillings and pfennigs in Germany? (Please excuse wayward spelling if it is such.).
        The Dollar does have quite a romantic History. It came from a European silver mine I understand..

        Our two offspring were bought variously Sovereign and Half sovereigns which have apparently increased in value. Somewhere they also have some proof coins and silver proof coins of various denominations….

        As for celebratory coins:I suppose that I am nostalgic for the solidity, the “heft”of earlier coins.

        Comment by magpie11 — March 21, 2014 @ 13:28 | Reply

  5. First of all, what a pleasant surprise chancing upon your comment on my blog. In all honesty (which is rare for a lawyer), I had missed you! Every time I visit your blog and browse through the posts, I find myself being challenged to understand the intention and purpose behind each posts. There are moments when I wonder if perhaps you are revealing a little bit about yourself with every post, going about the task with sophistication and subtlety instead of explosive candidness which is the hallmark of the less evolved like myself 😉 Oh Ursula, will I ever understand? I wonder 🙂

    Comment by Ashok G.V. — March 23, 2014 @ 15:18 | Reply

    • Oh, yes, my dear Ashok, out of sight doesn’t mean out of mind.

      Seems you have been going through a lengthy phase of enlightenment. I wish you well. That transitional phase when you are still with one foot in your youth, the other in the adult world, is no doubt one of the most confusing, searching and difficult ones. For the ‘child’ and for the parent. When your kids are little it’s easy: You love them, you feed them, when they fall over you comfort them, you sit them on your lap, you read them a story or push little cars round the floor. You sing to them. And wipe their noses. HA. When they are 22 (plus or minus a few years) all you can do is be there – if and when they want your attention. You listen. Listen some more. Throw in your own pound’s worth of not so much wisdom as what you have gleaned from life. Luckily my son will come to me with anything. Yet, sometimes, a little wistfully – not that I let on to him, I wish I could just sing him a lullaby. On another note: An endlessly fascinating and mesmerizing process to see the apple of your eye spread his wings.

      Will you “ever understand” my utterings, Ashok? You will. Even if you don’t.

      Good to have you back on the scene.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — March 26, 2014 @ 12:57 | Reply

  6. Round coins don’t poke holes in your pants pockets Ursula. Those corners could get mighty uncomfortable – just saying. I do like the idea of thin ones though, much less weight in my purse.

    Comment by reneejohnsonwrites — March 26, 2014 @ 01:18 | Reply

    • Good point. Hadn’t thought of that, Renee. My only excuse being that, since I am a woman, I don’t carry coins in my trouser or jacket pockets. They are all safely incarcerated in my purse.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — March 26, 2014 @ 12:32 | Reply

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