Author Topic: Is the double-florin really still legal tender?  (Read 1104 times)

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Offline Alan71

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Is the double-florin really still legal tender?
« on: June 07, 2017, 10:38:04 PM »
This has probably been answered on the forum before, but Wikipedia states:

"The coin was introduced as part of a short-lived attempt at decimalization of the currency, after an earlier attempt had spawned the florin. As with the sixpence, Shilling, and Florin the coin was not demonetized as part of the 1971 decimalization. Unlike those coins it has not been subsequently called in, and it remains legal tender for 20 pence. The coins are not likely spent, though, as the silver content of each coin is worth far more than 20 pence."

Is this true?  If so, it's effectively non-circulating legal tender, and as it only had a four-year lifespan (1887-90) and the coins were silver, it would be a very stupid person indeed that tried to redeem the coin for 20p, but why has its legal tender status remained?  Its sister coins (in terms of weight-value relationship) the sixpence, shilling, florin and half-crown definitely aren't legal tender (not sure about the pre-decimal crowns, I'm assuming they still are?).

It just seems odd.  I suppose if it was excluded at decimalisation, there hasn't been any reason to formally call them in since (unlike said sixpence, shilling and florin). 

And following on from this, I wonder how long it circulated for and when the last one was spent as money?  Obviously no one still alive to ask, but did they only disappear when silver content of new coins was reduced to 50% after the First World War?
« Last Edit: June 07, 2017, 10:51:03 PM by Alan71 »

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Is the double-florin really still legal tender?
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2017, 02:24:12 PM »
I am not too interested in legal tender status. As you note, you must be of world class stupidity to spend one for 20p. The question is more whether it was ever used as money.

Just to put the question in perspective: have you ever seen a double florin below EF? If not, would they really have circulated, or would they have been quickly put aside as souvenir, conversation piece or nuisance? You can easily find crowns and halfcrowns of this period worn to the bone.

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

Offline FosseWay

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Re: Is the double-florin really still legal tender?
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2017, 08:35:05 PM »
Just to put the question in perspective: have you ever seen a double florin below EF?

Yes. I have several.

The one below is one of my better examples.

Offline WillieBoyd2

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Re: Is the double-florin really still legal tender?
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2017, 09:05:31 PM »
I just received this one recently:


Britain double florin 1887
Silver, 36mm, 22.56gm

I don't plan to spend it either.

:)
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Offline Alan71

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Re: Is the double-florin really still legal tender?
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2017, 11:10:22 PM »
Thinking about it more, since I started this topic, I suppose it's simply avoided being officially withdrawn because it hadn't circulated for so long anyway.  Even the issue of the 20p in 1982 therefore gave no valid reason to officially end its legal tender status.

I still think that it was this coin that stopped a 20p issue at decimalisation.  There was such a desire to cling to the weight-value relationship in coins, but the double-florin had been so unpopular.  The answer?  Avoid the issue until it becomes obvious that a 20p is needed.  And thankfully, by then they had the balls to break the weight-value ideology (indeed, not even applying it to its relationship with its seven-sided sibling, the 50p, with the latter still weighing a gram more than two and a half 20p coins).

Offline malj1

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Re: Is the double-florin really still legal tender?
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2017, 12:29:09 AM »
The four shillings coin was known as the "barmaids ruin" as in poorly lit pubs of the 19th century it was often mistaken for a crown and the incorrect change was given. This I can understand having seen the old gas lighting myself as a child. I remember in particular the local library with gaslight on the walls making it very hard to see the book titles on the shelves; they didn't have the colourful paperbacks of today either. There was also the paraffin lighting in the outer parts of the country in those times.

Therefore after just four years the coin was discontinued.
Malcolm
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Offline mrbadexample

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Re: Is the double-florin really still legal tender?
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2017, 12:21:54 AM »
Yes, still legal tender as far as I'm aware. I think the greatest difficulty would not be finding someone stupid enough to spend one, but finding a shopworker who would accept it.  :D

There are two varieties of the 1887 - with an Arabic 1 as the ones pictured above, and a Roman I as per the attached. This coin is a particular favourite of mine as it represents two things: firstly, it is the nicest coin I have ever bought from ebay, and secondly, it is the best photo I've managed to take of any coin. It has proof-like fields which I am unable to properly capture, however.

Offline mrbadexample

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Re: Is the double-florin really still legal tender?
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2017, 12:36:51 AM »
Just to put the question in perspective: have you ever seen a double florin below EF? If not, would they really have circulated, or would they have been quickly put aside as souvenir, conversation piece or nuisance? You can easily find crowns and halfcrowns of this period worn to the bone.

Peter

I think this could be partly explained by their lack of popularity, partly due to their lower mintage compared to the half crown, and partly due to the short duration of issue. Any 1887 coins are easily found in high grade as they were put away as jubilee souvenirs, but the 1888-1890 are a little more difficult to locate in top grades in my (somewhat limited) experience.

Offline malj1

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Re: Is the double-florin really still legal tender?
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2017, 12:47:39 AM »
I have two that I found in the secret compartment of a desk, 1887 and 1888, along with the Melbourne University papers and results for the same two years. This leads one to speculate they were a gift from his parents.

The blackened side of one was uppermost and thickly layered with dust after being concealed for around a century.

British coins of course were current in Australia until 1910 when our own currency was issued.
Malcolm
Have a look at  my tokens and my banknotes.