More Silver Coins of Great Britain

Posted by on May 8, 2012
1787 One Shilling obverse

1787 One Shilling obverse

More Silver Coins of Great Britain were introduced in the 1500’s. The “Shilling” was initially called “Testoon”, and worth 12 pence. The testoons were first struck under King Henry VII’s reign in 1502. At this time they were not very popular and these are extremely rare today. The testoons were not minted again until King Henry VIII had them reissued in 1544. In 1548, during King Edward VI’s reign, the testoon became known as “Shilling”. The name “shilling” is probably derived from the Teutonic root “skil” meaning “to divide”.

1787 One Shilling reverse

1787 One Shilling reverse

Shilling was originally used only as an accounting term to indicate one twentieth of a “Pound” which was derived from the Latin “Libre”. Shillings started being machine milled in 1658 with a weight of about 6.0 grams and ranging between 25 and 26 mm in diameter. As with all of the UK’s silver coins they were reduced from sterling to 50% silver in 1920 and 1946 was the end of using silver for circulating shillings.

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More Silver Coins of Great Britain were introduced in 1551 during King Edward VI. These include the “Threepence”, the “Sixpence”, the “Half Crown”, and the “Five Shilling” or “Crown”.

The threepence silver coins struck in 1551 thru 1800 generally weigh 1.5 grams and are 17 millimeters in diameter. It was signified by a “III” above the king. With the 1817 “Great Recoinage” the threepence was only struck for the colonies and the Maudy Ceremony. It was reduced to 1.4grams weight and a diameter of 16 millimeters. In 1845 the threepence returned to England. In 1921 as with all of the UK’s silver coins, the silver content was reduced to 50%. They continued to be minted until 1945. Since the threepence stopped being circulate in England in 1941 most of those minted from 1942–1945 were reclaimed for their silver.

1919 Sixpence obverse

1919 Sixpence obverse

The sixpence struck in 1551 weigh about 3.0 grams with a diameter of 21 millimeters. These were machine milled in 1561 to 1571 and then regularly in 1674 until 1816 when the “Great Recoining” reduced the sixpence to 2.8 grams and a 19 millimeter diameter. The sixpence silver content was reduced from the sterling standard of 92.5% silver to 50% silver content in 1920 and 1946 was the last year the sixpence would be struck with any amount of silver.

1919 Sixpence reverse

1919 Sixpence reverse

The silver “Half Crown” was introduced in 1551 and was sporadically struck over the centuries. In 1947 the silver content was dropped to 50% and discontinued in 1969. Proof silver half crown coins were struck in 1970, which were never legal tender.

1889 One Crown obverse

1889 One Crown obverse

The “Five-Shilling”, also called the “Crown”, was first struck in silver in 1551 and has King Edward on horseback. An interesting note is that these are the first English coins to have the Arabic numerals. The Silver Crown was sporadically minted with a significant absence after 1751 during the wars with France and the United States. In 1797, during King George III’s reign, Spanish silver coins were over stamped with a small oval profile of King Georges III’s and valued at 4s9d. There are other over stamped coins from that era until 1818. The silver content was reduced to 50% silver in 1920. The last silver crown was struck in 1946 under Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, when silver was no longer used in circulation UK coins.

1889 One Crown reverse

1889 One Crown reverse

The Silver “Threefarthing” were struck during Queen Elizabeth I’s reign between 1561 and 1582. The Silver “Threefarthing” was 14 millimeters in diameter and very thin. They were distinguished by a rose behind the Queen’s head.

There were “18 Pence Bank Tokens” and “Three Shilling Bank Tokens” released in order to handle the silver shortage during King George III’s reign from 1811 thru 1816. After these conflicts were resolved King George brought about a “Great Recoining” in 1817.

1928 One Florin

1928 One Florin

More Silver Coins of Great Britain continue with the three half pence which were issued from 1834 to 1862 for use in their colonies and never used in the UK. Then for domestic use there are the “Florin”. The florin was proposed in 1847 as a decimalization of the pound and the tenth pound, and equal to two shillings. These silver coins were the test to see if the public would accept it. It was first minted in 1849. The 1849 florin strikes omitted the traditional “DEI GRATIA” and are commonly called the “Godless Florin”. This was corrected on the 1852 dies. The silver florin continued to be struck and in 1927 had its silver content reduced to 50% silver and converted to cupronickel in 1967.

The last silver coin for this article of “More Silver Coins of Great Britain”, is the “Double Florin”, which is a four shilling silver coin. It has a weight of 22.6 grams and 36 millimeters in diameter. The double florin has the shortest production run of all British coins and struck from 1887 through 1890.

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