Godless Florin, Coin Type from United Kingdom - detailed information

Godless Florin, Coin Type from United Kingdom (issued 1848 - 1849)
Coin TypeGodless Florin

The pre-decimal florin (2s) was a unit of currency equalling two shillings, or one tenth of a pound sterling, or twenty-four pence. The denomination was introduced in 1849 (with a pattern minted in 1848) as the first move towards decimalisation of the British coinage.

This first type of florin is known as the Godless Florin (or, in some earlier sources, the Graceless Florin) because the Queen's legend on the obverse omitted the traditional "DEI GRATIA" ("By the Grace of God") part. After much public outcry, the second ("Gothic Florin") issue starting in 1851 included it again. Thus, excluding the 1848 pattern, this is a one-year type and a "key date" on the florin series.

The general style of the first florins differs considerably from that of the rest of the contemporary coinage, especially in the obverse which uses the so-called "Gothic Portrait" of Queen Victoria not used on other British coins, excepting the ten new pence; they remained legal tender until 1993, when a smaller type of ten pence replaced them.

United Kingdom / Godless Florin - obverse photo

Within a beaded border, the obverse of the coin shows the young crowned bust of Queen Victoria, facing left; the effigy is by William Wyon and is widely known as her "Gothic Portrait".

The Queen's hair is braided and held back in a bun, with a braid looping around her ear. Her dress is decorated with rose, thistle and shamrock - the national plants of the constituent nations of the United Kingdom (England, Scotland and Ireland respectively). The artist's initials W.W. are in the field below right.

Around, the monarch's legend: VICTORIA REGINA (Victoria, Queen), followed by the date of issue: [year].

Obverse Inscription VICTORIA REGINA [year]
United Kingdom / Godless Florin - reverse photo

Within a beaded border, the reverse design depicts crowned cruciform (in a cross pattern) shields bearing the three lions passant of England (twice, in positions 1 and 3), the lion rampant of Scotland (2), and the harp of Ireland (4). The shields are contained within a deeply tressured circular panel. In the angles are two roses, a shamrock and a thistle - the national plants of England, Scotland and Ireland respectively. In the centre there is a double Tudor rose.

Around above, interrupted by St Edward's crown on top of the English shield, preceded by two decorative crosses and followed by one cross, the name of the denomination: ++ ONE FLORIN +; around below, its value as a fraction of the Pound Sterling: ONE TENTH OF A POUND.

Reverse Inscription ++ ONE FLORIN + ONE TENTH OF A POUND
EdgeMilledEdge InscriptionNone
Royal Mint
Royal Mint
Godless Florin: Details
CountryUnited Kingdom
CurrencyPound Sterling (pre-decimal)
Sub-type ofFlorin (Two Shillings)
Face Value2 (x Shilling)
CurrentNo (demonetised 1993)
Material0.925 Silver
DesignerWilliam Wyon
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
OrientationCoin Alignment (Axis 6)
Size28.0000 mm
Mass11.3104 g
Godless Florin: Photos
Pattern Coin - Florin, Queen Victoria, Great Britain, 1848
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Pattern Coin - Florin, Queen Victoria, Great Britain, 1848
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY