Goldcrest Standard A project of stages, operating at the edge of practicality

Following the Factory for Currency Failure, twopence coins were overstruck with goldcrest images.


Understanding money





  The guinea was the first English machine-struck gold coin used from the 17th century onwards. As a token of fixed value; it could be exchanged for one ‘pound’ of silver (which is currently worth over 600 ‘pounds’ of UK currency[1], which in itself hints at an interesting dynamic of dissipating monetary value over time).







  Within such a regime, the 17th century economy was dependent upon the health of silver reserves. When these reserves became weak and over-extended during the Napoleonic wars a crisis of ‘liquidity’ forced the government to move to a new reserve of value: the ‘Gold Standard’. Within the gold standard economic value was described and limited by the amount of gold held in reserve. The Gold Standard continued until its abandonment in 1931 following its perceived failure during the First World War, when again, the government needed to expand resources beyond the immediately tangible. Governments worldwide moved from ‘representational’ money to what is known as ‘fiat’ currency, the value of which is largely determined by market confidence.



    With concrete representation removed from value, measures of wealth have multiplied exponentially. In 2009 The Bank of International Settlements gave the size of the global derivatives markets as 1.4 quadrillion USD[1]. This figure is approximately 30 times larger than the worlds GDP of 45 Trillion USD and 20 times more than what it would cost to buy all the real estate on the globe (67 Trillion USD).




Taoist thinking considers Yin and Yang to be complementary forces that follow and initiate each other. Yang characteristics are hard, expansive and shiny. Yin characteristics are soft, and withdrawing. In Taoist boxing (t’ai chi ch’uan) a ‘yin’ or shrinking move can often be more appropriate and powerful than a ‘yang’ move. Following an aggressive expanding period of resource history (yang economics) we may well be due an extended period of contraction, whether we like it or not. Can we imagine what ‘Yin Economics’ would be like? Small, shriking, brown and fluffy perhaps?







This project proposes a new global currency regime where monetary value is determined by ecological value, based around the equivalence of one goldcrest with twopence. This art-led change in global understanding of value involves three modest steps:

  1. Achieve agreement of economists, government and markets, etc…
2. Construct a die bearing the image of a goldcrest
3. Overstrike redundant currency


Point 1 has not yet been achieved, but 2 and 3 are successful



Overstamped twopence coin.


Two pence has the same mass as a goldcrest Regulus regulus


Succesfully overstruck coins