5/- The British Crown, Part 1.

Started by UK Decimal +, October 28, 2009, 01:50:59 PM

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UK Decimal +

I think that I now have enough examples to start an article on the coins that are generally known as Crowns.   I do not propose to go back to the early history but only to cover examples issued within my lifetime.   This is long enough to show a number of varieties but first it is necessary to think about a general but major point.

What is a Crown?   For many years it was five Shillings (a quarter of a Pound) but the Crown survived decimalisation and was declared twenty-five New Pence.   As the cost of production exceeded the face value, it was later promoted to a value of five Pounds, which many will say is not the value of a true Crown, although I intend to cover the whole series here.   Over the years, some issues have not shown the value on them, although all the ones valued at five Pounds show this.   Put simply, 5/- until decimalisation (last issue 1965), 25p from decimalisation until 1990 (only issued 1972, 1977, 1980, 1981) and then £5 commencing in 1990.

At some stages in its existence, the Crown has been an important part of the coinage although in comparatively small quantities and the last 'regular' issue was in 1935 with a few in 1936 and a 1937 Coronation of Geogre VI, since when it has been treated as a commemorative coin.   I will try to cover them by year of issue.

Where possible, I will use scans of coins from my own collection although I may have to make use of pictures from the Royal Mint site which has an excellent page on recent Crown coins.

This part covers the pre-decimal Crown value 5 Shillings and will be continued with sections on 25 (New) Pence and 5 pounds (£5), in the 'decimal' section.

Bill.
Ilford, Essex, near London, England.

People look for problems and complain.   Engineers find solutions but people still complain.

UK Decimal +

#1
1951 Festival of Britain

1,983,540 were issued, all in 'Proof-like' state.   There is certainly a crispness to the finish which shows a high standard of manufacture.   The obverse shows the usual head of George VI with the initials HP on the truncation and the words FIVE SHILLINGS to denote the value.   The reverse is St. George and the Dragon by Benedetto Pistrucci and shows the year.   The edge is plain, with the lettering MDCCCLI CIVIUM INDUSTRIA FLORET CIVITAS MCMLI.

Bill.

EDIT 08 Dec 2009.   See also http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,1855.0.html for a discussion on this coin.

Bill.
Ilford, Essex, near London, England.

People look for problems and complain.   Engineers find solutions but people still complain.

UK Decimal +

#2
1953 Coronation

5,962,621 were issued into general circulation, plus another 40,000 in Proof.   The obverse by Gilbert Ledward shows Her Majesty on her horse "Winston" (side-saddle) together with FIVE SHILLINGS and appropriate wording.   The reverse by Cecil Thomas and Edgar Fuller is 'The four quarterings of the Royal Arms each contained in a shield and arranged in saltire with, in the intervening spaces, a rose, a thistle, a sprig of shamrock and a leek; in the centre the Crown and in the base the date of the year, 1953'.   Again, the edge is plain, worded FAITH AND TRUTH I WILL BEAR UNTO YOU.

Bill.

EDIT - "Winston" added 20 Nov 2009.
Ilford, Essex, near London, England.

People look for problems and complain.   Engineers find solutions but people still complain.

UK Decimal +

#3
1960 New York Exhibition

1,024,038 were issued for general circulation, plus another 70,000 from polished dies which I believe were prepared for sale at the Exhibition.   The latter version certainly appears 'crisper'.   Obverse by Mary Gillick shows the 'young' portrait of the Queen and includes the words FIVE SHILLINGS.   The reverse by Cecil Thomas and Edgar Fuller is as used on the 1953 Coronation issue, with the year 1960.   The edge has standard graining.

Bill.
Ilford, Essex, near London, England.

People look for problems and complain.   Engineers find solutions but people still complain.

UK Decimal +

#4
1965 Memorial to Churchill

19,640,000 issued, all to circulation standard.   The obverse by Mary Gillick shows the Queen with the year 1965 and appropriate wording.   The reverse by Oscar Nenom says it all and is a simple portrait of the famous man with just the word CHURCHILL.   The edge has standard graining.   The value is not shown.
________________

NOTE – This marks the end of the Five Shilling section.   The next four varieties will be decimal at twenty-five (new) pence.

Bill.
Ilford, Essex, near London, England.

People look for problems and complain.   Engineers find solutions but people still complain.

UK Decimal +

Scans of the first four Crowns have been added.

I have the second part of the article prepared, but will wait until the system will be able to accept more illustrations.

Any comments on the part already covered (my birth to decimalisation)?

Also, if there are any questions about any earlier Crowns, please ask now and we can try to keep the pre-decimal section together.   I'm sure that someone can provide pictures.

Bill.
Ilford, Essex, near London, England.

People look for problems and complain.   Engineers find solutions but people still complain.

UK Decimal +

#6
The previous issue was in 1937 (418,699 + 26,402 proof) for the Coronation of George VI in 1937 (as mentioned in the initial message).

It would seem logical that there was nothing much to celebrate during WW2, and the state of the economy at the end of the war would not warrant an issue.

Bill.
Ilford, Essex, near London, England.

People look for problems and complain.   Engineers find solutions but people still complain.

Figleaf

#7
Quote from: UK Decimal + on October 28, 2009, 01:50:59 PM
I do not propose to go back to the early history but only to cover examples issued within my lifetime.

Consider yourself encouraged to take it further back whenever you feel like it. Starting from George I, I have some copies (some really worn from circulation), but probably Tony may be better placed to help with illustrations. It might be an idea to contact him and see what ideas he has...

Quote from: UK Decimal + on October 28, 2009, 01:50:59 PM
At some stages in its existence, the Crown has been an important part of the coinage although in comparatively small quantities and the last 'regular' issue was in 1935 with a few in 1936 and a 1937 Coronation of Geogre VI, since when it has been treated as a commemorative coin.

I would argue that 1935 was a commemorative, so that the commemoratives and "circulation" series overlap.

The first English crown was struck in 1526, modelled on the French ecu au soleil. It was a gold coin tariffed at 4/6 struck by cardinal Wolsey and it is extremely rare. It was succeeded by the crown of the double rose (5/-), taking its name from the crowned initials of the king and queen on both sides of the shield. On this copy there is a crowned K on the right, for Katharine of Aragon. Other coins have an A (Anne Boleyn) or I (Jane Seymour).

The first English silver crown was issued in 1551 under Edward VI. Compare this with the 1953 issue...

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

UK Decimal +

#8
Thank you Peter, together with another person you suggested that the subject be split into the genuine 5 Shilling Crown and the later decimal versions.

I have decided to split the subject into three sections relating to the various values of 5/-, 25p and £5 and have changed the title to reflect this.

The Crown is one of the coins that I wish to collect and hopefully I shall soon have a few examples that are older than me.   I started with 1951 because it is the oldest that I have, the issue before that being 1937.   I can not remember ever seeing a Crown until I started collecting them.

I have very little knowledge of early coins and perhaps others would help to fill in the gaps so that we can make this a combined effort by various members.   I will be very interested in anything that you can produce.

Part 2 will appear in the 'Decimal' section.

Bill.   
Ilford, Essex, near London, England.

People look for problems and complain.   Engineers find solutions but people still complain.

tonyclayton

Further examples of crowns from other reigns can be seen on my website at
http://www.ukcoinpics.co.uk/5s.html
with links to two other pages for crowns of Victoria or later

UK Decimal +

I can give details of quantities issued in various grades of minting.   Years previous to this list are complicated by variations although there was an annual issue from 1927 to 1936.   Perhaps at some time in the future we can work backwards to cover them.


1937 Coronation George VI                     Circ    418,699.   Proof  26,402

1951 Festival of Britain.                         Circ  1,983,540 all prooflike.

1953 Coronation Elizabeth II                   Circ  5,962,621.   Proof  40,000.

1960 New York Exhibition                       Circ   1,024,038.  Proof  None.    Polished dies  70,000.   

1965 Churchill Memorial                         Circ  19,640,000.  Proof  None.    BU  None.

Note that only the true 'Royal' ones had proofs issued, the use of the description 'prooflike' and the 'polished dies' version.   These quantities represent the grade of manufacture and not how they were circulated.

Bill.
Ilford, Essex, near London, England.

People look for problems and complain.   Engineers find solutions but people still complain.

UK Decimal +

You've seen the traditional St. George and the Dragon design (1951).

Here is the 'art deco' version produced in 1935 for the Silver Jubilee of King George V.

Obverse by Bertram Mackennal, reverse by Percy Metcalfe.

Bill.
Ilford, Essex, near London, England.

People look for problems and complain.   Engineers find solutions but people still complain.

Prosit

It was my understanding that there were a few Churchill Crowns struck in a special finish.  Don't know weather you would call them presentation pieces, BU, Proof or what may you.  Is that information incorrect?

Dale

UK Decimal +

Quote from: dalehall on December 30, 2009, 03:49:30 PM
It was my understanding that there were a few Churchill Crowns struck in a special finish.  Don't know weather you would call them presentation pieces, BU, Proof or what may you.  Is that information incorrect?

Dale


I've never seen any reference to any produced in other than Circulation grade and also at that time Crowns only seem to have been struck in higher grade for Royalty or very important events, which would not apply to Churchill.

I understand that there are two slight variations of this coin, the difference being in the 'R' of 'CHURCHILL'.

If anyone can prove me wrong ...

Bill.
Ilford, Essex, near London, England.

People look for problems and complain.   Engineers find solutions but people still complain.

gs17590

Crowns have always been one of my favourite British silver coins, possibly due to the size and the range of patination. If anyone's interested I can post a few images and put together some related text to match.

Iain