The Crowns of George VI

The five-shilling coin was intended to commemorate the ascension of George VI to the British throne and as such was supposed to be a single-year issue for 1937 only. Its commemorative value was somewhat diminished when it was re-issued in 1938, albeit in a smaller quantity.

Characteristics
Denomination
5/-
Composition
Sterling silver (92.5% silver, 7.5% copper)
Diameter
38.5mm (1.5")
Weight
28.27g (1 oz)
Obverse design
Thomas (Humphrey) Paget
Reverse design
George (Kruger) Gray
Mint
Melbourne
Mint mark
None
Mintage 1937
1,008,000
Mintage 1938
101,600

Common obverse and the two reverses

Obverse.

1937 reverse.

1938 reverse.

Grading hints

The obverse is typical of the George VI coins and there are no markers specific to the crowns. The reverse has several features which are worth checking. Note that the commentary is my personal opinion and may not reflect standards generally in use.

Grading markers.

1. Orb on top of crown.

There is a horizontal rim and a vertical band running from the rim to the base of the cross. This feature quickly wears flat and its presence is a good indicator for a truly uncirculated coin.


2. Large central bulb on Fleurs-de-Lis

The bulbs each feature a vertical ridge which should be sharply defined in an uncirculated coin. In an EF coin the ridge will still be visible but will be somewhat rounded. VF coins will not show the ridge.


3. Jewels in headband

In an uncirculated coin these will be sharply-defined. The apex of the square jewel will be a sharp point and the rectangular jewel will have a sharp ridge. The "pearls" will not show any hint of flatness.


4. Struts at the sides of the crown

In an uncirculated coin these should have sharp angles. The top surface should be flat and the corners should not be rounded.

Various private mints have created replica or "fantasy" crowns featuring Edward VIII. Here is one. It is features a reverse which is similar to the genuine crown but not identical. Furthermore the weight is only 20.1g and the edge is plain rather than reeded. These items have limited numismatic value and are best considered as curiosities.

Edward VIII

Obverse featuring uncrowned head of Edward VIII. Other "coins" were struck featuring a crowned head.

The reverse is similar to that on a genuine crown but by no means identical. The lettering is smaller and the near strut of the crown is much wider.

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Revised 5th February 2000.
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