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Godless florin, 1849




























Elizabeth II florin, 1953

Florin

Except for the short period during the reign of Edward III in the 14th century, when a gold florin was struck by the Royal Mint, the florin did not feature as part of the British coinage until 1849.

It was introduced as a concession to enthusiasts for a decimal system of coinage, being one-tenth of a pound in value. It owed its name not to any resemblance in shape or value to the gold florins of Edward III but to the fact that it was about the same size as Dutch and Austrian florins current at that time. Its first issue aroused public indignation owing to the omission of the words DEI GRATIA and FIDEI DEFENSOR from Queen Victoria’s titles, the coin thereby commonly being known as the Godless or Graceless florin. This omission was soon corrected and the florin proved to be a useful addition to the silver circulation, if sometimes troublesome because of its close similarity in size to the half-crown.

During the run-up to decimalisation the florin was superseded in 1968 by the new 10p, its exact decimal equivalent, and it continued in circulation alongside the 10p until 1993.