4/- The British Double-Florin

Started by UK Decimal +, December 31, 2009, 11:28:55 AM

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UK Decimal +

4/- The British Double-Florin

I'm now starting on new ground, as previously I have only taken a real interest in coins of the decimal era, but with that collection well filled I have started 'working backwards' to find some interesting pre-decimal coins.

The title, Double-Florin, shows that this coin, value four shillings, was worth two Florins and I will show the title hyphenated to avoid any confusion with a single Florin.   The Florin, worth two Shillings or twenty-four Pence, was introduced in 1848 as an early attempt at decimalisation and proved quite a popular coin, but the Double-Florin was only struck in 1887 to 1890 and was unpopular because at 36mm and weighing 22.6g it was too similar to the Crown (38mm, 28.3g).   Crown, Double-Florin and Florin were all struck in Silver.

At decimalisation, the Double-Florin was re-valued as Twenty New Pence and I have not been able to find any record of it being demonetised, so these coins could still be valid currency.   If you have any knowledge of this, please let us know.

Although only struck in four years, the Double-Florin runs to nine lines of entry in Coin Yearbook 2010 and Krause as shown below, together with the quantities struck and prices from CY2010 which show the comparative scarcity of the various versions.

1887 Roman 1   (483,347)                                     price F £10, VF £20, EF £40, UNC £80
1887 Roman 1 Proof   (Incl. above)                         price UNC £300
1887 Arabic 1   (Incl. above)                                 price F £10, VF £20, EF £40, UNC £80
1887 Arabic 1 Proof   (Incl. above)                         price UNC £300
1888   (243,340)                                                 price F £12, VF £32, EF £80, UNC £120
1888 second I in VICTORIA inverted 1 (Incl. above)   price F £20, VF £35, EF £80, UNC £250
1889   (1,185,111)                                              price F £15, VF £23, EF £40, UNC £ 100
1889 inverted 1 (Incl. above)                                price F £20, VF £35, EF £80, UNC £300
1890   (782,146)                                                 price f £12, VF £33, EF £55, UNC £110

I have the 'common' versions for 1889 and 1890 and will be watching for others.   Scans of both are shown here and if anyone has any other variations perhaps they would add scans of them to try to complete the picture.

Bill.
Ilford, Essex, near London, England.

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

Figleaf

#1
We know the story of how the conservatives prevented decimalization for another 80 years, but what if decimalization had succeeded? What would a decimal coin series have looked like under Victoria (£1 = 100 vpence, 1 vpence = 10 vmil.) My proposal:

Gold: £5, 2, 1, 1/2 (50 vpence)
Silver: double florin (20 vpence), florin (10 vpence), shilling (5 vpence), 2 vpence, 1 vpence
Bronze: 5 vmil, 2 vmil, 1 vmil

At first sight, this looks like what happened 80 years later, but there are important differences. Gold coins (and paper) would not have changed at all. It would have been necessary to marginalize or demonetize the crown, but otherwise, all coins down to the shilling would have remained unchanged. The 2 and 1 vpence would have been new. Why make them in silver? because the sixpence and threepence were in silver and these are the successors to these coins. Bronze coins would have been completely new. The name mil does not come out of thin air. It was used in some British colonies for the value of 1/1000 of the main unit. Why three coins? because they succeed the penny, halfpenny and farthing.

Suppose that Britain would not have chosen for a perfect 1-2-5 system as above, but would have accepted an imperfect (because of the 2 pounds) 1-2.5-5 system such as the Netherlands and the US used at the time. This would actually have simplified the series:

Gold: £5, 2, 1, 1/2 (50 vpence)
Silver: crown (25 vpence), florin (10 vpence), shilling (5 vpence), sixpence (2.5 vpence), 1 vpence
Bronze: 5 vmil, 2.5 vmil, 1 vmil

Now, all coins down to sixpence would be unchanged.

Further simplification could have been achieved by making the shilling, not the pound the unit of account of a 1-2.5-5 series (1 shilling = 100 mils). The coins series would have been:

Gold: £5, 2, 1, 1/2 (10 shillings)
Silver: crown (5 shillings), florin (2.5 shillings), shilling (1 shilling), sixpence (50 mils), threepence (25 mils)
Bronze: 10 mils, 5 mils, 2.5 mils

In this solution all paper, gold and silver would have been unchanged.

The funny thing is that in the two simplified solutions, there is no need for the double-florin.

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

UK Decimal +

I like these suggestions, particularly the vpence and vmils.

I also remember that 6/8 was a third of a pound and 100d was 8/4.   All that wasted learning!

Bill.
Ilford, Essex, near London, England.

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

translateltd

Quote from: UK Decimal + on December 31, 2009, 06:56:48 PM
I like these suggestions, particularly the vpence and vmils.

I also remember that 6/8 was a third of a pound and 100d was 8/4.   All that wasted learning!

Bill.

No learning is ever wasted!


Figleaf

I learned to use a slide rule and to calculate with logarithms. I consider both wasted learning. >:D I never learned how to get toothpaste back into the tube. That would not have been useful either, but it would have been more fun than logarithms.

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

UK Decimal +

Quote from: translateltd on December 31, 2009, 08:51:50 PM
No learning is ever wasted!


True.   A few days ago, I had a few pre-decimal coins in my hand and absent-mindedly started adding up their value.   £sd came back to me as though I'd been using it continuously.

Bill.
Ilford, Essex, near London, England.

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

gs17590

1887 Double Florin - Arabic 1