George VI 5 Shilling coin

Started by ghipszky, July 29, 2008, 10:14:53 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

ghipszky

Here is a beauty of a coin that measures 39mm. Here is the description that came with it:
FESTIVAL OF BRITAIN CROWN PIECE
     The first English Silver Crown Piece was minted in 1551.
Four hundred years later, on the occasion of the Festival of Britain, the Royal Mint has issued a Crown piece, bearing in its edge the Latin inscription MDCCCLI CIVIUM INDUSTRIA FLORET CIVITAS MCMLI---1851.
By the industry of its people the State flourishes 1951.
Anything else to be learned by this coins beautiful reverse??
Ginger

Figleaf

#1
The Saint George and the dragon reverse has an interesting history. For a very long time, England was an underdog in Europe. Other noble houses, such as Bourbon (France), Habsburg (Germany, Austria, Spain, Southern Netherlands) and Wittelsbach (Bavaria, Cologne, Luik/Li├Ęge) had more and richer lands and more power. At sea,  it had more strength, but not more than its competitors Portugal, Spain and the Northern Netherlands (in theory, France was in this group also, in practice its specialty was losing sea battles). Habsburg and Wittelsbach exhausted each other to the profit of Hohenzollern (Prussia). Bourbon fell in the French revolution, but France quickly regained strength under Napoleon.

The turning point came in the peninsular war and Britain became a European top player after the battle of Waterloo. This battle therefore had a huge importance on the national psyche. Everyone who had the space available had a model of the battle. The battle was replayed again and again with tin soldiers by otherwise perfectly sensible people. Wellington was a national hero, impossible to criticise, no matter how aloof, prejudiced against lower social ranks and foreigners of all description.

In this climate, Pistrucci, a cantankerous engraver at the London Mint, planned a huge medal in honour of Wellington. He succeeded in making the dies, but the Mint machinery couldn't muster enough power to strike the medal. However, there were also dies for much smaller medals, meant for making commercial copies for sale to the public and they had become useless. Since Pistrucci's design was much appreciated by Wellington himself and since the small reverse dies were the size of a guinea, the solution was to use the small dies as new reverse for guineas.

Wellington and Waterloo were so popular, that the design was used on a variety of British coin types. Your coin is one of them. By the time it was struck, gold coins no longer circulated, so putting it on the crown was a good move. The design is now definitely old-fashioned, the connection with Wellington was lost and the Battle of Britain overshadowed Waterloo, so the design is no longer used for circulation coins.

What amuses me is that there is a painting of Wellington's adversary, Napoleon, on horseback in a very similar flamboyant style. I am not sure if this was a disadvantage or not in the eyes of the iron duke >:D

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

translateltd

And see my original note on the thread where Ginger's album pictures were posted for the personal appeal that this coin has for me :-)
The Festival of Britain itself must have been quite an occasion for the British public in the austere immediate post-war years.

Martin
NZ

ghipszky

So far of the European coins I have posted this has the coolest reverse and means alot to the British people.
And it has a very meaningful history.
Ginger

BC Numismatics

Ginger,
  The 1951 Festival of Britain 5/- coin is also the only cupro-nickel 5/- that was struck only in Prooflike.

Yes,I have got one in my own collection.

Aidan.

ghipszky

I thought it was a proof like coin as it has that certain gleam about it. I think the design on the reverse is very noble.
Ginger

tonyclayton

Quote from: translateltd on July 30, 2008, 02:19:38 AM
And see my original note on the thread where Ginger's album pictures were posted for the personal appeal that this coin has for me :-)
The Festival of Britain itself must have been quite an occasion for the British public in the austere immediate post-war years.

Martin
NZ


I can actually remember seeing the crowns being struck at the Festival.  Considering my youth at the time I remeber a great deal of the visit I made there with my father.

It is quite hard to get one of these crowns without finger-marking! You can see mine at http://www.ukcoinpics.co.uk/g6/5s

ghipszky

Tony,
It must have been a very cool thing to see a coin like that, or any other coin, being minted at the festival.
Ginger

BC Numismatics

Ginger,
  It is quite possible that the British 1960 Polished Dies type 5 Shillings was struck at the Festival of Britain in New York.I've got one of those,which is actually a very scarce coin.

Aidan.

ghipszky

Now that would be really interesting if it were struck in New York. Interesting information as I always figured the Festival of Britain to be in London or something.
Ginger

translateltd

The 1951 Festival of Britain was definitely in the UK (I assume London), and was a one-off event.  I believe the 1960 event in New York was the British Exhibition - a different event altogether.  I've heard that at least some of the 1960 crowns were struck there, though don't know for certain, or how many in that case.  It would make it the only British coin struck in the US if true, though.

I've just finished compiling a quiz for a local club competition - that would have made a good question if I'd thought of it in time!

Martin
NZ



ghipszky

Thanks Martin,
That straightens that out then.
Ginger

tonyclayton

Quote from: BC Numismatics on September 01, 2008, 05:14:09 AM
Ginger,
  It is quite possible that the British 1960 Polished Dies type 5 Shillings was struck at the Festival of Britain in New York.I've got one of those,which is actually a very scarce coin.

Aidan.
The 1960 coins struck in New York are all polished die types, I believe. Theye are less common, but I would not go so far as to say scarce. There were 70,000 struck, compared with just over a million of the others.

As to the earlier comment regarding seeing coins struck, I have been round the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa, and also worked at IMI in Birmingham, who were the successor to Kings Norton Mint, and still used the KN mintmark.  Indeed, in 1968 I carried out trial mintings of tokens in titanium to see how well they struck, and still have the specimens we made (with an embargo on selling or otherwise disposing of them).

BC Numismatics

Quote from: tonyclayton on September 03, 2008, 11:23:51 AM
The 1960 coins struck in New York are all polished die types, I believe. Theye are less common, but I would not go so far as to say scarce. There were 70,000 struck, compared with just over a million of the others.

As to the earlier comment regarding seeing coins struck, I have been round the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa, and also worked at IMI in Birmingham, who were the successor to Kings Norton Mint, and still used the KN mintmark.  Indeed, in 1968 I carried out trial mintings of tokens in titanium to see how well they struck, and still have the specimens we made (with an embargo on selling or otherwise disposing of them).

Tony,
  I regard any coin that has a mintage figure of 999,999 coins & under as being scarce.I've only ever seen 2 of the Polished Dies 1960 5/-,of which one of them is my one.

Aidan.

tonyclayton

My polished die specimen is to be seen on
http://www.ukcoinpics.co.uk/qe/5s/index.html

I must correct my earlier statement.  The polished
die coins were NOT struck IN New York.  They were struck
IN London from polished dies for sale AT the British
Exhibition in New York