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Saturday, 25 February 2012

55) Transformation of a five shillings coin (crown) into the U.K. twenty-five pence and later the five Pound coin

55) Transformation of a five shillings coin (crown) into the U.K. twenty-five pence and later into the five Pound coin

The currency/coinage in use in the United Kingdom (U.K.) (as well some other countries till various points of time) until decimalisation was adopted by the U.K. in 1971 , consisted of 20 shillings to a Pound and 12 pence to a shilling, thus a British Pound consisted of 240 pence to a Pound. 
A few interesting coins consisting of multiple shillings were as under:
-          A florin which consisted of two shillings which was accepted in circulation till 1992, when it passed into history and was replaced by the new ten pence. (Please refer my blog post on the following link: Transformation of a two shilling coin (Florin) into the UK Ten Pence.
-          The half-crown  which consisted of two shillings and six pence or one-eighth of a Pound, which ceased to be in circulation upon decimalisation in 1971 and was not replaced by any other coin post-decimalisation.
-          The double florin (four shillings) has after decimalisation been replaced by the 20 pence coin/value.
-           The “crown” of five shillings was the highest denomination of non-bullion U.K coins in circulation and upon decimalisation were replaced by the twenty-five shilling coins. However, in practice, crowns were mostly commemorative coins and not used in general circulation. (As the name suggests, they were mostly issued in bulk upon the coronation of British Sovereigns).
-   While the replacements of multiple shillings are given above, as per valuations, the one shilling coin was replaced by the U.K. five pence post-decimalisation which was initially called the “bob” (a nickname for a shilling).
-          Based on par valuations to the U.K. Pound, shillings issued in various countries under British rule/influence included the Irish shilling, Australian shilling, New Zealand shilling, East African shilling and Somali shillings till they were replaced by their own local currencies following decimalisation in these countries. In British Ceylon, (present day Sri Lanka), a shilling was equivalent to eight fanams (also a recognised currency in several Indian kingdoms).

-          It is interesting to know that, at a time when UK still had shillings (made of silver till the 1940s), they were worth a considerable amount of money. A person having five shillings in his pocket was considered very well off. This is not the case with a U.K. twenty five pence (after decimalisation in 1971) or even the Five Pound coin which is its present day equivalent value since 1990.

Historical reference:
The British Crown was introduced as the replacement currency to the English Crown (first introduced in 1544 in gold, with the first silver crown being introduced in 1551 with Edward VI on horseback and a Coat of Arms on the reverse) and also, the Scottish dollar, in the United Kingdom (U.K.) in 1707 with a value of five shillings.  Initially, its weight was about one ounce during the 19th and 20th centuries; it was mostly treated as a Commemorative coin instead of circulating currency.

The Crown was initially struck as a large silver coin with 0.925 silver (or 92.5% silver) and 7.5% copper. From the nineteenth century, it was mostly used as a Commemorative coin. from the coronation of Edward VII onwards, (with the exception of George V)  it was  struck in a Sovereign’s coronation year apart from commemorating other important events. Even during the coronation of the present reigning Queen Elizabeth (the Diamond Jubilee of her reign is being presently celebrated in 2012 and commemorative coins issued by the Royal Mint), the Crown was issued but with an entirely changed composition of Cupro-nickel ( as silver was not used in U.K. coinage after 1947, as the prohibitive cost of silver during/after the two World  Wars had compelled the Royal Mint to introduce 50% silver in 1920 and to eliminate its use altogether in Coinage since 1947). Even in British India coinage Quaternary silver (50% silver) was used since 1940 and in 1947 i.e. the year of Indian Independence the coins issued did not contain any silver. 

Nevertheless, some Proof issues by the Royal Mint for sale to Collectors have been produced as gift items in silver (original composition of 92.5% silver), Gold and even Platinum.
Since 1816, the dimensions and weight of a crown have been standardised to have a diameter of 38.61 mm and weight of 28.28 gms. The term crown sized is generally used for large silver or cupro-nickel coins of about the same diameter even today. 

From 1544 to 1965, mostly there was no mention of the value of this coin, although it had an exchange value of 5 shillings. From 1927 to 1937 the word “crown” was engraved on the coin and from 1951 to 1960, the words “five shillings” were mentioned on the obverse instead of Crown. 
After decimalisation was introduced in the U.K. in 1971, the face value was kept at 25 new pence and later 25 pence (equivalent of five shillings/Crown), but the face value was not shown on any of these issues.
During Queen Victoria’s reign, “Gothic” design crowns were issued in 1947 and during George V’s reign although the Crown was not issued during his coronation “Wreath” design on the reverse crowns were issued, except in 1935 when the Rocking Horse design was engraved to commemorate George V’s reign’s Silver Jubilee. Crowns were issued to commemorate George VI’s coronation with 50% silver for the last time, before the switch to Cupro-nickel composition. 
The first coins issued with the revised composition were in 1951 celebrating the “Festival of Britain”. Later, they were issued in 1953 commemorating the coronation of the present reigning Queen Elizabeth II with the Cupro-Nickel composition, then again in 1953 ( British Exhibition in New York), in 1965 (marking/mourning the “death of Winston Churchill”).

 Issues after 1972 (i.e. after the decimalisation of U.K. coinage in 1971) were changed to 25 pence coins. Accordingly, Cupro-nickel 25 pence commemorative coins celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s 25th Wedding anniversary (1972) , her Silver Jubilee (1977), Queen Mother’s 80th Birthday (1980), Charles and Diana’s wedding (1981) etc. The 25 pence commemorative coins mentioned here were also issued with the same specifications as a crown (i.e. 38.61 mm in diameter and weighing 28.28 gms).
Interestingly, in 1990, it was felt that after decimalisation in 1971, the size, composition and value of the crown or 25 pence was not commensurate with its production costs, which far exceeded the value of the coin, hence, the value of the Crown was revised to “Five Pounds” by the Royal Mint and the value of Five Pounds is inscribed on Commemorative coin issues since 1990.
This revision gives the Crown coin a value consistent with its weight and size in relation to the current range of coins.
 Nevertheless, the value of crowns issued prior to 1990 continues at 25 pence. Thus, if you refer my post No.51 “Coins Commemorating London Olympic Games 2012 and Paralympics Games 2012” posted on 01.01.12 on this blog, you will notice that both the official Commemorative coins for the London Olympics as well as the London Paralympics have been issued in the Five Pound denomination with the same dimensions and weight as a Crown (i.e. 38.61 mm in diameter and weighing 28.28 gms). A reference link to this post is placed at the bottom of this post.

The above image is of a crown issued in 1953, celebrating the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the present reigning Sovereign. This coin is from the collection of young Kavish Hukmani, who is an avid numismatist and has recently, made an impressive presentation in his school/class on “coin collecting and cataloguing” as a hobby. This coin has been given to him by his class teacher as a complimentary gift in recognition of his enthusiasm for his hobby.
The image shows Queen Elizabeth II wearing a cap/beret and riding a horse. On the outer periphery the words “ELIZABETH.II.DEI.GRATIA.BRITT.OMN.REGINA.FEDEI.DEFENSOR” (Translated into English, it means “ELIZABETH II, BY THE GRACE OF GOD, OF ALL THE BRITONS, QUEEN, DEFENDER OF THE FAITH”.  Interestingly, I have noticed a flaw in the Inscription in the above coin. 

The term “FEDEI DEFENSOR” (Defender of the Faith) is used for Kings/Sovereigns while the term “FEDEI DEFENSATRIX” is the title given to a Queen. (Please refer my Post No. (53) “The story of the Australian Penny” posted on 12.02.12 - A reference link given at the bottom of this post). On either side of the Horse are two identical images of the Royal Crown with the inscription “E II R” (meaning Elizabeth II Regina). The coin is minted with a cupro-nickel composition. 
The Obverse designer is Gilbert Ledward and the theme is “The Queen’s Coronation”.
The Royal Mint having got used to using the term “Defensor” from the time of Edward VII’s coronation in 1902, have erroneously continued with the term even in the case of the Queen. I wonder, whether in the face of this glaring oversight, whether this coin qualifies as an “error coin” (like in the case of the Commemorative State quarters one lot of which was minted with the inscription “In God ,We Rust” in place of  (“Trust”). If the Crown issued in 1953, does qualify as an error coin, then the value of this coin would be much more than other issues during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.

In the next issue of Crowns during Queen Elizabeth II’s in 1960 (as shown above),(commemorating the British Exhibition in New York), the term was reduced to a simple abbreviation “F.D.”, so we have no way of knowing whether this error was ever detected and acknowledged by the Royal Mint .

The reverse of the Crown issued in 1953 on Queen Elizabeth II ascension to the throne. This face shows the Royal Shield from the Royal Coat of Arms (also carried on the One Pound coins issued from 2008 onwards).
The Reverse Designers are Cecil Thomas/Edgar Fuller. The theme is the four quarterings of the Royal Arms each contained in a shield and arranged in saltire with a rose, a thistle, a sprig of shamrock and a leek . In the centre is the Royal Crown .
At the bottom is mentioned 1953 indicating the year of issue.
The edge inscription reads :”FAITH AND TRUTH I WILL BEAR UNTO YOU”.

A photo of Kavish is given below:

I have purchased a five Pound Coin from the Royal Mint commemorating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. 

On the reverse is her image as a young “Regina” (Queen) wearing only a laurel crown/wreath, designed by Ian Rank-Broadley, (inspired by the famous design of Mary Gillick, which is also found on the Australian penny viz:"The story of the Australian Penny” mentioned two posts before on this blog).The inscription reads "DIRIGE DEUS GRESSUS MEOS (MAY GOD GUIDE MY STEPS).

On the obverse is a present day image of the Queen designed by Ian Rank-Broadley too. The coin has the same specifications as the Crown. 
Thus, these coins, inter alia, tell of the story of a young Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation (through Kavish’s Crown/five shillings) and of her continuing reign through the Diamond Jubilee celebration 5 Pounds issue, having the same specifications as a Crown.
 A Fairy tale story indeed!!


Transformation of a two shilling coin (Florin) into the UK Ten Pence 

Coins Commemorating London Olympics and Paralympic Games: 

 The story of the Australian penny:

Other Links:


1) Commemorating the Bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo & Exile of Napoleon to St. Helena: (Part I) A One Crown commemorative coin brought out by Ascension Island 

2) 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain: A 50 Pence coin issued by the Royal Mint, UK

3) Inspirations from Scottish History: The Legend of King Bruce & the Spider on Pound Banknotes

British Crown Dependencies:  

4) Currency & Coinage of the States of Jersey 

5) Currency & Coinage of the Bailliwick of Guernsey 

6) Coinage of Gibraltar (A British Overseas Territory): An Uncirculated Decimal Coin Collection Set issued by the Tower Mint UK in 2010

7) Specimen Pound Banknotes from the States of Jersey 

8) The Isle of Man: An Uncirculated Decimal Coin Collection set issued by Pobjoy Mint, UK in 2015 

9) Currency & Coinage of Gibraltar (A British Overseas Territory) 

10) Banknotes of the 2010 Series from the States of Jersey bearing identical Serial numbers across all denominations

11) Currency & Coinage of Bermuda 

12)  Postage Stamps: "Man of Steel": A Superman Movie: A set of stamps issued by the States of Jersey commemorating Henry William Dalgliesh Cavill, a local lad, who played Superman in the Movie

Gold Coins:

13) Gold Sovereigns minted by MMTC-PAMP in 2013 & 2014 in India under licence from the Royal Mint UK, bearing the "I" Mint Mark

14) Gold Half-Sovereigns struck in 2014 by MMTC-PAMP in India for the first time ever under licence from the Royal Mint, UK, bearing the "I" Mint Mark

Silver Coins:

15) A 20 Pound silver coin minted by the Royal Mint UK for the first time. The Reverse design depicts the familiar St. George slaying the dragon image seen on Gold Sovereigns 

British India Coinage:

16) East India Company Quarter Anna coin which is one of the first issues under the Coinage Act 1835

17) Victoria Coinage : When she was Queen & afterwards Empress 

18) Edward VII King & Emperor coinage 

19) George V King Emperor coinage

20) George VI : The last of the british India Emperors  

21) The British Empire : A Case of Numismatic "Segregation" (A Guest Post by Rahul Kumar) 

Other British Royals: 

22) Prince George's Christening Ceremony celebrated with coins issued by the Royal Mint, UK

23) Commemorating Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation in 1953: A Five Pound Coin issued by the Royal Mint, UK in 2013 showing the Imperial State Crown 

24) Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebrations: A Five Pound Commemorative Coin issued by the Royal Mint UK in 2012 

25) The Royal Coat of Arms of the UK: Great british 2012 Coin set (Uncirculated) issued by the Royal Mint, UK 

26) 1) The Portrait collection: Various Portraits of Queen Elizabeth II on Coinage. 2) The 4th & Final circulating coinage of the portrait of QE II by Ian Rank-Broadley and the first edition of the queen's portrait made by Jody Clark, both struck in 2015

Some British coinage

27) Transformation of a Five Shilling Coin (Crown) into the UK Twenty-five pence and then the Five Pound coin

28) Transformation of a Two Shilling Coin (Florin) into the UK Ten Pence  

29) The contribution of the Great British One Pound coins in keeping alive the historical legends/emblems/heritage of the United Kingdom (from 1983 onwards)  

Other Commemorative Coins:

30) The 350th Anniversary of the Guinea: A Two Pound coin celebrating the milestone issued by the Royal Mint UK in 2013 

31) Commemorating the 100th Birth Anniversary of Christopher Ironside with his Royal arms design on a 50 pence coin issued by the Royal Mint UK in 2013 

32) Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the London Underground: Two Pound coins minted by the Rpyal Mint UK showing the "Roundel" logo and a train emerging from a tunnel

33) Commemorating the Bicentenary of Charles Dicken's birth with a two Pound coin celebrating his Literary contributions in the Victorian Era 

34) Coins commemorating the London Olympics 2012 and London Paralympics 2012

35) Commemorating 50 Years of World Wildlife Fund (WWF)  with a 50 Pence coin issued by the Royal Mint, UK in 2012 

36) An Alderney Five Pound Coin commemorating the Centenary of the ill-fated Titanic (15.04.2012) 


37)Fort St. George, Chennai (Part I) : The Advent of the East India Co. in India & other related articles


  1. Hello,

    I do have a coin as per your post , 1953, five shillings which I am holding since late 50.What is the current value in Rupees.? Since it was given as a gift and lost contact, I do not mind to sell to the needy for this error coin value(FEDEI DEFENSOR

  2. Thank you for your comment. You could check up the current quotes for this coin on e-bay. Also, you could mention your contact details so that any interested visitors to this blog may get in touch.

  3. The above image is of a crown issued in 1953, celebrating the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the present reigning Sovereign.


  4. Thank you, Robert. Visited your website. Very interesting !!

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    1. Thank you for your appreciative comment.

  6. Thanks for sharing such a nice blog. You can select best silver coins Nagpur from Anupam Silver on this occasion for gifting your loved ones.

  7. I do have a coin as per your post , 1953, five shillings which I am holding since 5yr.What is the current value in Rupees.? Or dollar coin value(FEDEI DEFENSR
    Thanks with regards
    Karnataka do have a coin as per your post , 1953, five shillings which I am holding since late 50.What is the current value in Rupees.? Or dollar coin value(FEDEI DEFENSR
    Thanks with regards

    1. Hello Raghav,
      Thank you for visiting my blog . I guess the best place to arrive at an approximate present value of your coin would be to average out the quotes being posted by sellers on an auction site like e-bay.
      Happy Collecting !!