Crown (British coin)
The British crown, the successor to the English crown and the Scottish dollar, came into being with the Union of the kingdoms of England and Scotland in 1707. As with the English coin, its value was five shillings. Always a heavy silver coin weighing around one ounce, during the 19th and 20th centuries the crown declined from being a real means of exchange to being a coin spent and minted for commemorative purposes only. In that format it has continued to be minted following decimalisation of the British currency in 1971. However, as the result of inflation the value of the coin was revised upwards in 1990 to five pounds; the coin's origins lay in the English silver crown, one of many silver coins that appeared in various countries from the 16th century onwards, the most famous example being the famous Spanish pieces of eight, all of which were of a similar size and weight and thus interchangeable in international trade. The kingdom of England minted gold Crowns in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The dies for all gold and silver coins of Queen Anne and King George I were engraved by John Croker, a migrant from Dresden in the Duchy of Saxony. The British crown was always a large coin, from the 19th century it did not circulate well. However, crowns were struck in a new monarch's coronation year, true of each monarch since King George IV up until the present monarch in 1953, with the single exception of King George V; the Queen Victoria "Gothic" crown of 1847 is considered by many to be the most beautiful British coin minted. The King George V "wreath" crowns struck from 1927 through 1936 depict a wreath on the reverse of the coin and were struck in low numbers. Struck late in the year and intended to be purchased as Christmas gifts, they did not circulate well, with the rarest of all dates, 1934, now fetching several thousand pounds each; the 1927 "wreath" crowns were struck as proofs only. With its large size, many of the coins were commemoratives; the 1951 issue was for the Festival of Britain, was only struck in proof condition.
The 1953 crown was issued to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, while the 1960 issue commemorated the British Exhibition in New York. The 1965 issue carried the image of Winston Churchill on the reverse, the first time a non-monarch or commoner was placed on a British coin, marked his death. According to the Standard Catalogue of coins, 19,640,000 of this coin were minted, a high number at the time, making them of little value today except as a mark of respect for the national war leader. Production of the Churchill Crown began on 11 October 1965, stopped in the summer of 1966; the crown was worth five shillings until decimalisation in February 1971. The last five shilling piece was minted in 1965; the crown coin was nicknamed the dollar, but is not to be confused with the British trade dollar that circulated in the Orient. In 2014, a new world record price was achieved for a milled silver crown; the coin was issued as a pattern by engraver Thomas Simon in 1663 and nicknamed the "Reddite Crown".
This was presented to Charles II as the new crown piece but was rejected in favour of the Roettiers Brothers' design. Auctioneers Spink & Son of London sold the coin on 27 March 2014 for £396,000 including commission. After decimalisation on 15 February 1971, a new coin known as a 25p piece was introduced. Whilst being legal tender, having the same decimal value as a crown, the 25p pieces were issued to commemorate events, such as: the 1972 piece was for the Silver Wedding anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. All of these issues were struck in large mintages, in plastic cases, in cupro-nickel, an alloy of 75% copper and 25% nickel. However, in addition to this, limited numbers of collectors' coins of these modern issues were struck to proof quality separately by the Royal Mint in sterling silver and presented with certificates of authenticity in boxes; the mintages for the silver proof 25p coins issued are as follows: 1972: 100,000 1977: 377,000 1980: 83,672 1981: 218,142Further issues continue to be minted to the present day with a value of twenty-five pence, from 1990, with a value of five pounds.
The legal tender value of the crown remained as five shillings from 1544 to 1965. However, for most of this period there was no denominational designation or "face value" mark of value displayed on the coin. From 1927 to 1939, the word "CROWN" appears, from 1951 to 1960 this was changed to "FIVE SHILLINGS". After decimalisation in 1971, the face value kept its five shillings equivalent at 25 new pence simply 25 pence, although the face value is not shown on any of these issues. From 1990, the crown was re-tariffed at five pounds in view of its large size compared with its face value, taking into consideration its production costs, the Royal Mint's profits on sales of commemorative coins. While this change was understandable, it has brought with it a slight confusion, the popular misbelief that all crowns have a five-pound face value, i
Penny (British pre-decimal coin)
The pre-decimal penny was a coin worth 1/240 of a pound sterling. Its symbol was d, from the Roman denarius, it was a continuation of the earlier English penny, in Scotland it had the same monetary value as one pre-1707 Scottish shilling. The penny was minted in silver, but from the late 18th century it was minted in copper, after 1860 in bronze; the plural of "penny" is "pence" when referring to a quantity of money and "pennies" when referring to a number of coins. Thus 8d is eight pence, but "eight pennies" means eight individual penny coins. Before Decimal Day in 1971 twelve pence made a shilling, twenty shillings made a pound, hence 240 pence in one pound. Values less than a pound were written in terms of shillings and pence, e.g. 42 pence would be three shillings and sixpence, pronounced "three and six". Values of less than a shilling were written in terms of pence, e.g. eight pence would be 8d. This version of the penny was made obsolete in 1971 by decimalisation, was replaced by the decimal penny, worth 2.4 old pence.
The kingdoms of England and Scotland were merged by the 1707 Act of Union to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. The exchange rate between the pound scots and the English pound sterling had been fixed at 12:1 since the Union of the Crowns in 1603, in 1707 the pound Scots ceased to be legal tender, with the pound sterling to be used throughout Great Britain; the penny replaced the shilling of the pound scots. The design and specifications of the English penny were unchanged by the Union, it continued to be minted in silver after 1707. Queen Anne's reign saw pennies minted in 1708, 1709, 1710, 1713; these issues, were not for general circulation, instead being minted as Maundy money. The prohibitive cost of minting silver coins had meant the size of pennies had been reduced over the years, with the minting of silver pennies for general circulation being halted in 1660; the practice of minting pennies only for Maundy money continued through the reigns of George I and George II, into that of George III.
However, by George III's reign there was a shortage of pennies: things had got so bad that a great many merchants and mining companies issued their own copper tokens e.g. the Parys Mining Company on Anglesey issued huge numbers of tokens. In 1797, the government authorised Matthew Boulton to strike copper pennies and twopences at his Soho Mint in Birmingham. At the time it was believed that the face value of a coin should correspond to the value of the material it was made from, so they had to contain one or two pence worth of copper; this requirement meant that the coins would be larger than the silver pennies minted previously. The large size of the coins, combined with the thick rim where the inscription was incuse i.e. punched into the metal rather than standing proud of it, led to the coins being nicknamed "cartwheels". These pennies were minted over the course of several years, but all are marked with the date 1797. By 1802, the production of issued provincial tokens had ceased. However, in the next ten years the intrinsic value of copper rose.
The return of minted token coinage was evident by 1811 and endemic by 1812, as more and more of the Government-issued copper coinage was melted down. The Royal Mint undertook a massive recoinage programme in 1816, with large quantities of gold and silver coin being minted. To thwart the further issuance of private token coinage, in 1817 an Act of Parliament was passed which forbade the manufacture of private token coinage under severe penalties. Copper coins continued to be minted after 1797, through the reigns of George III, George IV and William IV, the early reign of Queen Victoria; these coins were smaller than the cartwheel pennies of 1797, contained a smaller amount of copper. In 1857 a survey by the Royal Mint found that around one third of all copper coinage was worn or mutilated by advertisements. Two years Thomas Graham, the Master of the Mint, convinced William Ewart Gladstone Chancellor of the Exchequer, that so large a part of the copper coinage must be taken out of circulation that it was worth introducing a whole new coinage which would be "much more convenient and agreeable in use".
These new coins were minted in bronze, their specifications were no longer constrained by the onerous requirement that their face value should match the value of the base metal used to make the coin. These new coins were introduced in 1860 and a year the withdrawal of the old copper coinage began; the specifications of the bronze version of the penny were a mass of 9.45 g and a diameter of 30.86 mm, remained as such for over a hundred years. Pennies were minted every year of Queen Victoria's reign, every year of Edward VII's reign. George V pennies were produced every year to the same standard until 1922, but after a three-year gap in production the alloy composition was changed to 95.5% copper, 3% tin, 1.5% zinc, although the weight and size remained unchanged. Thereafter, pennies were minted every year for the remainder of George V's reign, although only six or seven 1933 coins were minted for the king to lay under the foundation stones of new buildings. A few pennies of Edward VIII exist, dated 1937, but technically they are pattern coins i.e. coins produced for official approval, which it would have been due to receive about the time that the K
British twenty-five pence coin
The commemorative British decimal twenty-five pence coin was issued in four designs between 1972 and 1981. These coins were a post-decimalisation continuation of the traditional crown, with the same value of a quarter of a pound sterling. Uniquely in British decimal coinage, the coins do not have their value stated on them; this is because previous crowns did so. The coins were issued for commemorative purposes and were not intended for circulation, although they remain legal tender and must be accepted at Post Offices; the coins weigh 28.28 g and have a diameter of 38.61 mm. Twenty-five pence coin issues were discontinued after 1981 due to the prohibitive cost to the Royal Mint of producing such large coins with such small value. From 1990 the "crown" was revived as the commemorative five pound coin, having the same dimensions and weight but a value twenty times as great; the two can be distinguished. The following 25p coins were produced
Half crown (British coin)
The half crown was a denomination of British money, equivalent to two shillings and sixpence, or one-eighth of a pound. The half crown was first issued in 1549, in the reign of Edward VI. No half crowns were issued in the reign of Mary, but from the reign of Elizabeth I half crowns were issued in every reign except Edward VIII, until the coins were discontinued in 1967; the half crown was demonetised on 1 January 1970, the year before the United Kingdom adopted decimal currency on Decimal Day. During the English Interregnum of 1649–1660, a republican half crown was issued, bearing the arms of the Commonwealth of England, despite monarchist associations of the coin's name; when Oliver Cromwell was made Lord Protector of England, half crowns were issued bearing his semi-royal portrait. The half crown did not display its value on the reverse until 1893. King Henry VIII 1526: the first English half crown was struck in gold. King Edward VI 1551: issued the first half crown in silver; the coin showed the king riding a horse.
Queen Mary I: the half crown was struck on Mary's marriage to Philip II of Spain in 1554 but was never issued for circulation. Three specimens exist. Http://www.petitioncrown.com/spare15_LK47.html Queen Elizabeth I: gold half crowns were issued again. At the end of the reign silver half crowns were issued. King James I: gold half crowns were issued again. During the reign silver half crowns were issued. King Charles I: silver half crowns were issued, including those struck as obsidional money, money of necessity during the Civil War period. Commonwealth of England: Oliver Cromwell silver half crowns were issued. During the years 1656 and 1658 milled half crowns were issued of Oliver Cromwell. King Charles II 1663–1685: silver half crowns were issued, this period saw the end of the hammered issue of half crowns. King James II 1685–1688: silver half crown. King William III & Queen Mary II 1689–1694: silver half crown. William III of England 1694–1702: silver half crown. Queen Anne 1702–1714: silver half crown.
King George I 1714–1727: silver half crown. King George II 1727–1760: silver half crown. King George III 1760–1820: silver half crown. King George IV 1820–1830: silver half crown. King William IV 1830–1837: silver half crown. Queen Victoria 1837–1901: silver half crown. King Edward VII 1902–1910: silver half crown. King George V 1910–1936: silver half crown, sterling silver until 1919 50% silver. King Edward VIII 1936: 50% silver half crown. Not issued for circulation. King George VI 1937–1952: 50% silver half crowns were issued until 1946 when the metal was changed to cupro-nickel. Queen Elizabeth II 1952–1970: the last half crown was issued in 1970 shortly before decimalisation. From George III, 1816, they had a diameter of 32 mm and a weight of 14.1 g, dimensions which remained the same for the half crown until decimalisation in 1971. The mintage figures below are taken from the annual UK publication COIN YEARBOOK. Proof mintages are indicated in italics. Half crown - View coins from the Commonwealth of England period, 1649–1660, including halfcrowns.
British Coins - Free information about British coins. Includes an online forum. Coins of the UK - A full history of the half crown. - Publishers of COIN YEARBOOK The History of the Half-crown
Florin (British coin)
The British florin, or two shilling coin, was issued from 1849 until 1967, with a final issue for collectors dated 1970. Valued at one tenth of a pound, it was the last coin circulating prior to decimalisation to be demonetised, in 1993, having for a quarter of a century circulated alongside the ten pence piece, identical in specifications and value; the florin was introduced as part of an experiment in decimalisation that went no further at that time. The original florins, dated 1849, attracted controversy for omitting a reference to God from Queen Victoria's titles. Throughout most of its existence, the florin bore some variation of either the shields of the United Kingdom, or the emblems of its constituent nations on the reverse, a tradition broken between 1902 and 1910, when the coin featured a windswept figure of a standing Britannia. In 1911, following the accession of George V, the florin regained the shields and sceptres design it had in the late Victorian Era, kept that motif until 1937, when the national emblems were placed on it.
The florin retained such a theme for the remainder of its run, though a new design was used from 1953, following the accession of Elizabeth II. In 1968, prior to decimalisation, the Royal Mint began striking the ten pence piece; the old two shilling piece remained in circulation until the ten pence piece was made smaller, earlier coins, including the florin, were demonetised. The drive for decimalisation of the currency in Britain dates as far back as 1682. Although nothing was done regarding early proposals, the adoption of a decimal currency in the United States and other nations in the late 18th and early 19th centuries renewed the call, commissions in 1841 and 1843 called for its adoption. In 1847, a motion was introduced in Parliament by Sir John Bowring calling for the introduction of a decimal currency and the striking of coins of one-tenth and one-hundredth of a pound. Bowring obtained strong support for his motion, the Russell government promised that a coin valued at one-tenth of a pound would be produced to test public opinion, with consideration in future to be given to the introduction of other decimal coins.
There was much discussion about what the coin should be called—centum and dime being among the suggestions—before florin was settled upon, not because of the old English coin of that name, but because the Netherlands had a florin, or gulden, of about that size and value. The first florins were struck in 1849, they were in the Gothic style, featured a portrait of Queen Victoria as a young woman, with the crowned cruciform shields of the United Kingdom shown on the reverse, the nations' emblems in the angles. The new florin resembles the Gothic crown of 1847. Unlike the crown's Gothic script, the 1849 florin has Roman lettering; the 1849 florin, issued in silver, had a diameter of 28 millimetres. The new coin made clear its value with the inscription ONE FLORIN ONE TENTH OF A POUND on the reverse. To aid in the decimal experiment, the half crown, near to the florin in size and value, was not issued between 1850 and 1874, when it was struck again at the request of the banks, surveys found that both coins played useful parts in commerce.
Each would continue to be struck, would circulate together, until decimalisation. These first coins were a shock to the public, as for the first time in nearly 200 years a British coin featured a portrait of the monarch wearing a crown. More of a shock, including to Queen Victoria herself, was the inscription on the obverse, VICTORIA REGINA 1849, omitting the usual D G for Dei Gratia from the coin's inscription; this resulted in it being known as the "Godless florin". Further controversy was caused by the omission of the usual abbreviation F D for Fidei Defensor: the Master of the Mint, Richard Lalor Sheil, an Irishman and a Roman Catholic, was suspected by some of plotting to overthrow the Protestant regime; the inscription had in fact been suggested by Victoria's husband. Sheil stated in the House of Commons that the inscription had been a mistake, the florin was redesigned for its next issue in 1851; the revised florin's diameter was increased to 30 millimetres, all the lettering on the coin was in Gothic script, resulting in it being known as the Gothic florin.
The coin was by the same designers. The bust of Victoria and the heraldry on the reverse were unchanged; the Latin inscription on the obverse read VICTORIA D G BRIT REG F D with the date, while the reverse read ONE FLORIN ONE TENTH OF A POUND. Despite a Royal Commission, the drive for decimalisation soon died out; the Gothic Florin was produced each year until 1887, excepting 1861 and 1882. From 1864 until 1879, many florins were struck with die numbers on the obverse (found to the right of Victoria's brooch part of a Mint investigation into how long it took coinage dies to wear out. Beginning with some 1867 issues, BRIT on the obverse was rendered BRITT, following the Latin practice in abbreviations of doubling a final consonant for a plural. Thus, Victoria's title changed from "Queen of Britain" to "Queen of the Britains", includin
The pound sterling known as the pound and less referred to as sterling, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, the British Antarctic Territory, Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence. A number of nations that do not use sterling have currencies called the pound. Sterling is the third most-traded currency in the foreign exchange market, after the United States dollar, the euro. Together with those two currencies and the Chinese yuan, it forms the basket of currencies which calculate the value of IMF special drawing rights. Sterling is the third most-held reserve currency in global reserves; the British Crown dependencies of Guernsey and the Isle of Man produce their own local issues of sterling which are considered equivalent to UK sterling in their respective regions. The pound sterling is used in Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands, Saint Helena and Ascension Island in Saint Helena and Tristan da Cunha; the Bank of England is the central bank for the pound sterling, issuing its own coins and banknotes, regulating issuance of banknotes by private banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Banknotes issued by other jurisdictions are not regulated by the Bank of England. The full official name pound sterling, is used in formal contexts and when it is necessary to distinguish the United Kingdom currency from other currencies with the same name. Otherwise the term pound is used; the currency name is sometimes abbreviated to just sterling in the wholesale financial markets, but not when referring to specific amounts. The abbreviations "ster." and "stg." are sometimes used. The term "British pound" is sometimes incorrectly used in less formal contexts, it is not an official name of the currency; the exchange rate of the pound sterling against the US dollar is referred to as "cable" in the wholesale foreign exchange markets. The origins of this term are attributed to the fact that in the 1800s, the GBP/USD exchange rate was transmitted via transatlantic cable. Forex traders of GBP/USD are sometimes referred to as "cable dealers". GBP/USD is now the only currency pair with its own name in the foreign exchange markets, after IEP/USD, known as "wire" in the forward FX markets, no longer exists after the Irish Pound was replaced by the euro in 1999.
There is apparent convergence of opinion regarding the origin of the term "pound sterling", toward its derivation from the name of a small Norman silver coin, away from its association with Easterlings or other etymologies. Hence, the Oxford English Dictionary state that the "most plausible" etymology is derivation from the Old English steorra for "star" with the added diminutive suffix "-ling", to mean "little star" and to refer to a silver penny of the English Normans; as another established source notes, the compound expression was derived: However, the perceived narrow window of the issuance of this coin, the fact that coin designs changed in the period in question, led Philip Grierson to reject this in favour of a more complex theory. Another argument that the Hanseatic League was the origin for both the origin of its definition and manufacture, in its name is that the German name for the Baltic is "Ost See", or "East Sea", from this the Baltic merchants were called "Osterlings", or "Easterlings".
In 1260, Henry III granted them a charter of protection and land for their Kontor, the Steelyard of London, which by the 1340s was called "Easterlings Hall", or Esterlingeshalle. Because the League's money was not debased like that of England, English traders stipulated to be paid in pounds of the "Easterlings", contracted to "'sterling". For further discussion of the etymology of "sterling", see sterling silver; the currency sign for the pound is £, written with a single cross-bar, though a version with a double cross-bar is sometimes seen. This symbol derives from medieval Latin documents; the ISO 4217 currency code is GBP, formed from "GB", the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 code for the United Kingdom, the first letter of "pound". It does not stand for "Great Britain Pound" or "Great British Pound"; the abbreviation "UKP" is used but this is non-standard because the ISO 3166 country code for the United Kingdom is GB. The Crown dependencies use their own codes: GGP, JEP and IMP. Stocks are traded in pence, so traders may refer to pence sterling, GBX, when listing stock prices.
A common slang term for the pound sterling or pound is quid, singular and plural, except in the common phrase "quids in!". The term may have come via Italian immigrants from "scudo", the name for a number of coins used in Italy until the 19th century.
Silver is a chemical element with symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, lustrous transition metal, it exhibits the highest electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, reflectivity of any metal; the metal is found in the Earth's crust in the pure, free elemental form, as an alloy with gold and other metals, in minerals such as argentite and chlorargyrite. Most silver is produced as a byproduct of copper, gold and zinc refining. Silver has long been valued as a precious metal. Silver metal is used in many bullion coins, sometimes alongside gold: while it is more abundant than gold, it is much less abundant as a native metal, its purity is measured on a per-mille basis. As one of the seven metals of antiquity, silver has had an enduring role in most human cultures. Other than in currency and as an investment medium, silver is used in solar panels, water filtration, ornaments, high-value tableware and utensils, in electrical contacts and conductors, in specialized mirrors, window coatings, in catalysis of chemical reactions, as a colorant in stained glass and in specialised confectionery.
Its compounds are used in X-ray film. Dilute solutions of silver nitrate and other silver compounds are used as disinfectants and microbiocides, added to bandages and wound-dressings and other medical instruments. Silver is similar in its physical and chemical properties to its two vertical neighbours in group 11 of the periodic table and gold, its 47 electrons are arranged in the configuration 4d105s1 to copper and gold. This distinctive electron configuration, with a single electron in the highest occupied s subshell over a filled d subshell, accounts for many of the singular properties of metallic silver. Silver is an soft and malleable transition metal, though it is less malleable than gold. Silver crystallizes in a face-centered cubic lattice with bulk coordination number 12, where only the single 5s electron is delocalized to copper and gold. Unlike metals with incomplete d-shells, metallic bonds in silver are lacking a covalent character and are weak; this observation explains the low high ductility of single crystals of silver.
Silver has a brilliant white metallic luster that can take a high polish, and, so characteristic that the name of the metal itself has become a colour name. Unlike copper and gold, the energy required to excite an electron from the filled d band to the s-p conduction band in silver is large enough that it no longer corresponds to absorption in the visible region of the spectrum, but rather in the ultraviolet. Protected silver has greater optical reflectivity than aluminium at all wavelengths longer than ~450 nm. At wavelengths shorter than 450 nm, silver's reflectivity is inferior to that of aluminium and drops to zero near 310 nm. High electrical and thermal conductivity is common to the elements in group 11, because their single s electron is free and does not interact with the filled d subshell, as such interactions lower electron mobility; the electrical conductivity of silver is the greatest of all metals, greater than copper, but it is not used for this property because of the higher cost.
An exception is in radio-frequency engineering at VHF and higher frequencies where silver plating improves electrical conductivity because those currents tend to flow on the surface of conductors rather than through the interior. During World War II in the US, 13540 tons of silver were used in electromagnets for enriching uranium because of the wartime shortage of copper. Pure silver has the highest thermal conductivity of any metal, although the conductivity of carbon and superfluid helium-4 are higher. Silver has the lowest contact resistance of any metal. Silver forms alloys with copper and gold, as well as zinc. Zinc-silver alloys with low zinc concentration may be considered as face-centred cubic solid solutions of zinc in silver, as the structure of the silver is unchanged while the electron concentration rises as more zinc is added. Increasing the electron concentration further leads to body-centred cubic, complex cubic, hexagonal close-packed phases. Occurring silver is composed of two stable isotopes, 107Ag and 109Ag, with 107Ag being more abundant.
This equal abundance is rare in the periodic table. The atomic weight is 107.8682 u. Both isotopes of silver are produced in stars via the s-process, as well as in supernovas via the r-process. Twenty-eight radioisotopes have been characterized, the most stable being 105Ag with a half-life of 41.29 days, 111Ag with a half-life of 7.45 days, 112Ag with a half-life of 3.13 hours. Silver has numerous nuclear isomers, the most stable being 108mAg, 110mAg and 106mAg. All of the remaining radioactive isotopes have half-lives of less than an hour, the majority of these have half-lives of less than three minutes. Isotopes of silver range in relative atomic mass from 92.950 u