The Commonwealth Florins

Contents:

Description of the standard issue florins
Obverse master die types
Mints of issue
Commemorative issues
Individual dates
Standard-issue florins

The florins of Edward VII and George V share a common reverse designed by W. H. J. Blakemore.

The series commenced in 1910 with a single year of issue bearing the effigy of Edward VII. The obverse design was by George W. de Saules.

King Edward VII died on 6th May 1910 and George V assumed the British throne. Australian florins bearing George V's effigy were minted in London, Birmingham, Melbourne and Sydney during the years 1911 to 1936. There are no obverse die varieties reported for any of the florins of that period, suggesting that there was a single master die for the entire George V series. The obverse design was by Sir Edgar B. Mackennal.

With the death of George V in 1936 the crown passed to his elder son, Edward VIII but he abdicated before any Australian coins were struck bearing his likeness. His younger brother assumed the throne as George VI.

At this time Australian coinage was undergoing radical chages in design. In particular, the Arms of Australia which had adorned the reverse of all the silver issues since 1910 had been obsolete since 1912 and was being replaced. Starting in 1938, florins were minted with a new and very cluttered reverse design by George Kruger Gray featuring the Australian Coat of Arms. The kangaroo and emu are more stylistic than their earlier counterparts but at least the emu looks a little more comfortable.

The left-facing portrait of George VI is depicted on an obverse designed by Thomas (Humphrey) Paget.

With George VI's death, his eldest daughter, Elizabeth, became Queen in 1953. The obverse design for subsequent florins was by Mary Gillick and depicted Elizabeth II facing to the right. The reverse design introduced in 1938 continued in use until the cessation of minting in 1963.

Obverse designs

1.

Obverse of a 1910 florin depicting Edward VII. There are 167 rim beads. Designer was George W. De Saules.


2.

This image shows the obverse of a 1917 florin but is typical of all the George V florins. It was designed by Sir Edgar B. Mackennal. There are 168 rim beads.


3.

Another die designed by Sir Edgar B. Mackennal, this one was only used for the 1927 Canberra florin. It has 164 rim denticles.


4.

Another single-issue die, this one was used for the 1934-35 Melbourne Centenary florin. It was designed by Percy Metcalf.


5.

First of the George VI obverses. This one was used for coins minted between 1938 and 1950. The designer was Thomas Humphrey Paget.

There are 146 rim beads.


6

Second of the George VI obverses. IND IMP was eliminated from the legend, (necessary because India became an independent nation in 1947) and F.D. was expanded to FIDEI DEF.

I counted 147 rim beads.


7.

Obverse designed by Mary Gillick used for the early Elizabeth II florins. The rim embellishment was changed from denticles to discrete round beads of which there are 113.


8.

Same as obverse 7 except that F:D: has been restored to the legend. This was used for florins from 1956 onwards.


Issuing mints

The early coins of the series were all minted in London but some of the 1914 issue and most of the 1915 issue were sub-contracted to Heaton & Sons of Birmingham. The Birmingham coins can be identified by the mintmark H under the date on the reverse. From 1916 onwards florins were all struck in Melbourne with two exceptions.

In 1924, 1925 and 1926 the Sydney mint shared the job of striking florins. There is no way known to distinguish the Melbourne and Sydney mintings by inspecting the coins.

During World War II there was an increased demand for coinage and the Australian mints could not handle the workload. In 1942, 1943 and 1944 a substantial portion of the florins issued were struck at the U.S. Mint in San Francisco. These florins carry an "S" mintmark in the exergue above the date.

Now for the individual coins:-

Edward VII & George V florins
1909
1910
1911
1912
1913
1914
1915
1916
1917
1918
1919
1921
1922
1923
1924
1925
1926
1927
1928
1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936

George VI & Elizabeth II florins
1938
1939
1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
1946
1947
1951
1952
1953
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958
1959
1960
1961
1962
1963


The commemorative issues

Four separate commemorative florins were struck to celebrate events which were considered significant in Australian history.

Year of issue and occasion marked
1927
Opening of the (temporary) Parliament House in Canberra
1935
Centenary of Melbourne
1951
50 years of Australia's existence as a nation
1954
First visit of a reigning monarch to Australia.

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Most recent revision: 26th November 2000.
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