Author Topic: Coins without denominations  (Read 1970 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline <k>

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 23 377
Coins without denominations
« on: May 21, 2015, 04:44:30 PM »


George III sixpence, 1819, from the website of our member Tony Clayton: Coins of the UK.

This was not the only coin of the reign that did not carry its denomination. How common was this in earlier days, and when were the last examples?
« Last Edit: November 14, 2015, 08:43:52 AM by Niels »
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Offline FosseWay

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3 629
  • Göteborg, Sverige
Re: Coins without denominations
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2015, 06:39:49 PM »
Having no denomination was the rule rather than the exception for most of history. The earliest English coins I can think of that have a stated denomination are the shilling, sixpence and threepence of the last couple of years of Edward VI's reign - these have XII, VI and III respectively next to the king's head. From then until Victoria's reign coins with denominations are still relatively unusual, though they get commoner, especially on the small silver.

As far as I can work out, the first time all circulating UK coins carry the denomination in words and/or figures is around 1920, when all the gold (which didn't then and hasn't since carried any denomination) is taken out of use, and there are no crowns in circulation.

Answering your question about when the last examples were means entering the minefield of the definition of "coin" and "circulation". As said, the sovereign and its half and multiples carry no mark of value, and never have (in their UK plumage), and these are still minted. The last UK base metal coin I can think of without a denomination is the Charles and Diana crown (1981). The last coin intended to circulate that has no denomination is probably the crown of the 1893-1901 issue. I don't think crowns were every very popular in use, but the number of those and their immediate predecessors with the Jubilee head that turn up in very well-used condition suggests they must have circulated. Apart from them, all the larger silver of the Jubilee head issue carried no denomination.

Offline <k>

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 23 377
Re: Coins without denominations
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2015, 06:53:41 PM »
Thanks, FosseWay. I suppose recognising a coin by its size, shape and design was fine, given that a large proportion of people was illiterate - though supposedly they could read numerals. If we removed the denominations from today's coins, most people probably would not notice.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Offline Figleaf

  • Administrator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32 397
Re: Coins without denominations
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2015, 10:46:39 PM »
However, removing denominations would be quite inconvenient for foreign visitors and immigrants. Even spelling out denominations, rather than using numerals is a handicap for them, especially since size doesn't matter. :)

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

Offline Afrasi

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2 636
  • To do is to doo be dooh ...
Re: Coins without denominations
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2015, 11:07:28 PM »
Another one is the Churchill Crown.

Offline FosseWay

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3 629
  • Göteborg, Sverige
Re: Coins without denominations
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2015, 07:19:12 PM »
Another one is the Churchill Crown.

I didn't mention that one because it's neither the first nor the last commemorative crown without a denomination, but yes, quite right.

In terms of 20th century crowns:
1902 - St George & Dragon (Pistrucci) - no denomination
1911 - ditto.
1927-34 - "Christmas" crowns - denomination given as "Crown"
1935 - "Rocking horse" crown - denomination given as "Crown"
1937 - Royal arms - denomination given as "Crown"
1951 - St George - denomination given as "Five Shillings"
1953 - Five Shillings
1960 - Five Shillings
All the later ones (1965, 72, 77, 80, 81) - no denomination

Offline Alan71

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1 177
  • Derby, UK
Re: Coins without denominations
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2015, 10:46:33 PM »
And, of course, this year's commemorative 50p has no denomination on it.  I've read that the ones to be issued into circulation will have the denominations on (so presumably the design will be amended) but seems an odd thing to do.