• 1 Florin 1848-1849, KM# 745, United Kingdom (Great Britain), Victoria
  • 1 Florin 1848-1849, KM# 745, United Kingdom (Great Britain), Victoria
Description

The British florin, or two shilling coin, was issued from 1849 until 1970. The original florins, dated 1849, attracted controversy for omitting a reference to God from Queen Victoria's titles; that type is accordingly known as the "Godless florin", and was in 1851 succeeded by the "Gothic florin", for its design and style of lettering.

Victoria (1819–1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she adopted the additional title of Empress of India. She inherited the throne at the age of 18, after her father's three elder brothers had all died, leaving no surviving legitimate children. Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in 1840. Their nine children married into royal and noble families across the continent, tying them together and earning her the sobriquet "the grandmother of Europe". Her reign of 63 years and seven months is known as the Victorian era and was longer than that of any of her predecessors. It was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire.

Obverse

Crowned and robed bust of Queen Victoria as a very young woman facing left, wearing the Tudor Crown. Her hair is loosely braided with a long plait exposing the ear and tucked into the back of her crown. The tip of the crown cuts into the beaded edge and the inscription is bold capital letters. The engraver's initials W.W. are in relief to the right of the effigy.

For the first time since the coinage of Charles II (in nearly 200 years) a British coin featured a portrait of the monarch wearing a crown. Even more of a shock, including (allegedly) to Queen Victoria herself, was the inscription on the obverse, VICTORIA REGINA, omitting the usual D G for Dei Gratia (By the Grace of God) from the coin's inscription. Further controversy was caused by the omission of the usual abbreviation F D for Fidei Defensor (Defender of the Faith): the Master of the Mint, Richard Lalor Sheil, an Irishman and a Roman Catholic, was suspected by some of plotting to overthrow the Protestant regime. The inscription had in fact been suggested by Albert, Prince Consort, Victoria's husband. Sheil stated in the House of Commons that the inscription had been a mistake, and the florin was redesigned for its next issue in 1851.

The Tudor Crown, also known as the King's Crown or Imperial Crown, is a widely used symbol in heraldry of the United Kingdom. While various crown symbols had been used for this purpose for many years previously, the specific Tudor Crown design was standardised at the request of Edward VII. It was never intended to represent any actual physical crown, although in shape it bears a close resemblance to the small diamond crown of Queen Victoria.

Engraver: William Wyon

VICTORIA REGINA 1849
W.W.

Reverse

Crowned cruciform shields bearing the three lions passant for England, the lion rampant within a double truessure flory for Scotland, and the Gaelic harp for Ireland. In the angles are the national floral emblems: Scottish Thistle, English Rose and Northern Irish Shamrock. Tudor rose (sometimes called the Union rose) in the center, surrounded by the denomination. All contained within a tressured circular panel with crowns.

The royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom, or the Royal Arms for short, is the official coat of arms of the British monarch. The shield is quartered, depicting in the first and fourth quarters the three passant guardant lions of England; in the second, the rampant lion and double tressure flory-counterflory of Scotland; and in the third, a harp for Ireland.

The new coin made clear its value with the inscription ONE FLORIN ONE TENTH OF A POUND. To aid in the decimal experiment, the half crown (two shillings and sixpence, or one-eighth of a pound), near to the florin in size and value, was not issued between 1850 and 1874, when it was struck again at the request of the banks, and surveys found that both coins played useful parts in commerce.

Engraver: William Dyce

ONE FLORIN
ONE TENTH OF A POUND

Edge

1 Florin (2 Shillings)

Godless Florin
KM# 745 Sp# 3890
Characteristics
Material Silver
Fineness 0.925
Weight 11.31 g
Diameter 28 mm
Thickness -
Shape round
Alignment Coin
Mint
Royal Mint

Related coins

Gothic Florin

Silver, 11.31 g, ⌀ 30 mm
Jubilee Head

Silver, 11.31 g, ⌀ 29.5 mm
3rd portrait, Old Head

Silver, 11.31 g, ⌀ 28.3 mm