mrbrklyn's Blog

01 Feb 2022

More Food for thought - Uruguay

Coins - World | mrbrklyn

The Food for All program from the United Nations is one of the many coin programs designed to raise money charitable funds or raise public advocacy for causes. Usually they are international programs and make an interesting wrinkle in the collecting of commeratives.
The United Nations, Food for All program is such and example and elsewhere you can find articles written about the FAO coinage. In my opinion, must of the coinage for the FAO program is dreary, but there are some exciting exceptions, including this 1969 design that came out of Uruguay.
The coin channels the native South American Indian culture, but not in a passive, nostalgic, often political context, but refreshing modern context that draws from West Abstraction Art movements, which were themselves influences by primitivism" of Africa and native tribe worldwide . So things have come in a circle.

The resulting coin design is a true work of art, and now often copied, especially in British 50P series of coins. This coin deserves a place in a design exhibit at MOMA, along with the 1963 Type E Jaguar Roadster and the 1998 iMac Desktop Computer. The proof version was distributed with a diagram map explain all the symbolism packed in the coin, and the silver slab, without a traditional offset rim, has a unique feel in the hand. The silver is warm, and commands respect. It is a worthy coin

We have 5 examples, 2 bronze, and 3 silver. We had another one which was robbed with the entire collection in 2014. But we have wall size prints of the coin printed on a large form commercial color printer that hangs on the wall near the front door.

In addition to the wonderful obverse and reverse, there is also a nice inscription on the rim

The reserve includes a representation of the creation myths of South America. Surrounding it is a cornucopia of stylized food stuffs, wildlife, and agricultural tools. It is much more ambitious than the usual "Food for All" representation and obviously someone gave this far more thought that the usual perfunctory designs by other UN nations.

At the center is the creators face. Around it is, from the top and around, an Eel, Oxen Yoke, seeds, a bird (supposedly with seed), a fruit tree branch, a shovel (looks like an arrow). a fishing buoy, a water tray for washing seed, fruit tree stakes (swiggles), an axe, in the corner a plowshare, a cow, a lizard, a grain mortar, at carpenter's square, and the universal man without race (looks like a house). This description is directly from the paperwork with the proof version of the coin.

The coin was minted in CASA DE MONEDA CHILE in Santiago, Chile.

The work is designed by Fransisco Matt who has a full catalog of Latin American abstract art that is displayed around the world. He is a superior artist and engraver, often working in Metal and Canvas.


This is a wonderful PDF on his work https://franciscomatto.org/pdfs/bibliografia/2007_el_misterio_de_la_forma.pdf
Their is quite a bit written on the design in Uruguay Museums, this one in Spanish.


The coin has an incuse design which makes grading a bit difficult. As such, the fields are actually the high points of the coin, and the details are "carved" into a flat slab of precious metal. The coin was design is based on the well know artist, Joaquin Torres Garcia, who's works encompassed Constructive Universalism, and was a friend of Picasso and Gaudi. http://www.artnet.com/artists/joaqu%C3%ADn-torres-garc%C3%ADa/

It was engraved by Francisco Matto Vilaró , and the edge letters says REPUBLICA ORIENTAL DEL URUGUAY So . The Obverse is a reworking of the commonly themed stylized sun that is on many Uraguay coins.. there are two variants and we seemed to have been lucky enough to obtain both.

There are TWO varieties - tear drop and no tear drop - See below



Level 7

I enjoyed this. Especially the design of the coin. Great shots. I have never seen these before and its nice to pick up something new!!


Level 4

It is nice to find designs that are not just unique, but artful and speak to you. This design is one of the best ever as far as I am concerned.


Level 5

Interesting design. Interesting reading.


Level 4

these are among the best coin photos I'd ever taken and this coin just loves to Model for you. That image of the rim is a killer shot.


Level 4

This is truly one of the great designs... and the bronze one is awesome. It is easy to over pay for it, though. It shouldn't price much above $30.


Level 6

Nice blog. Lots of interesting information! Thanks! ; )


Level 6

Well I have an old Apple ll C. I still need a E Type Jag. Boy do I need one. This is an excellent blog. I learned quite a bit. Great photos as well. I'm a big fan of Mexican, Central, and South American coins. Thanks.

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