Shilling, Shield, Coin Type from United Kingdom - detailed information

Shilling, Shield, Coin Type from United Kingdom (issued 1887 - 1892)
Coin TypeShilling, Shield

The pre-decimal shilling (1s), also abbreviated in sums as e.g. 1/- for one shilling, was a unit of currency equalling one twentieth of a pound sterling, or twelve pence sterling; the "s" in the abbreviation is not from "shilling" but from "sestertius" - the Roman coin which was the ancestor of the denomination. It was used in the United Kingdom, and earlier in Great Britain and England.

This type of shilling was struck as part of a new coinage in gold and silver to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria - fifty years on the throne, 1837-1887. The coins all shared a new "Jubilee" obverse of the Queen by Joseph Edgar Boehm, adapted from his own Jubilee medal. The new obverse proved unpopular and was only used until 1893.

The reverse is adapted from the Second Issue shilling of King George IV (1823 - 1825), which is the same as the sixpence of King George IV issued from 1824 to 1825. In a return to earlier tradition, the value and denomination are not shown on the coin. The size of the sixpence was so close to the gold half sovereign in size and design that a sixpence with the same reverse was quickly withdrawn. The shilling did not last very long either and was only produced until 1892, when it was superseded by a new type featuring three shields on the reverse.

The composition is Sterling Silver (0.925 silver) and the coins have 0.1682 oz ASW (ounce of Absolute Silver Weight). When the currency became decimal in 1971, shillings were re-denominated as five new pence; they remained legal tender until 1990, when a smaller type of five pence replaced them.

United Kingdom / Shilling, Shield - obverse photo

The obverse of the coin shows an older bust of Queen Victoria facing left, wearing the small imperial crown, a long veil falling behind her head, a pearl necklace and earrings, the Ribbon and Star of the Garter and the badge of the Imperial Order of India.

The effigy was created by Joseph Edgar Boehm to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria (50 years on the throne), 1837-1887, and is known as her "Jubilee Head" portrait.

Around, the monarch's legend: VICTORIA DEI GRATIA BRITT: REGINA F: D:. Translated from Latin: Victoria, by the Grace of God, Queen of the British, Defender of the Faith.

The effigy was initially smaller, then shown with increased size relative to the rest of the design; the change took place in 1889, in which year coins with the two versions were issued; they are known as the "Small Head" (1887 to 1889) and the "Large Head" variety (1889 to 1892).

United Kingdom / Shilling, Shield - reverse photo

The reverse of the coin shows the crowned and garnished shield bearing bearing the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom within the Garter of the Order of the Garter, with the motto HONI · SOIT · QUI · MAL · Y · PENSE · inscribed on it.

"Honi soit qui mal y pense" is an Anglo-Norman maxim which means "Shame on whosoever would think badly of it," or "May he be shamed who thinks badly of it". Its literal translation from Old French is "Shame be to him who thinks evil of it."

The shield is quartered, depicting in the first and fourth quarters the three passant guardant lions of England; in the second, the rampant lion and double tressure flory-counterflory of Scotland; and in the third, a harp for Ireland.

The crown on top is St Edward's Crown, named after Saint Edward the Confessor, one of the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England. It has been traditionally used to crown English and British monarchs at their coronations since the 13th century, with a two-century gap between 1689 and 1911 so King George IV was not himself crowned with it.

Around below, divided by the pendant of the Garter, the date of issue [year].

Reverse Inscription HONI · SOIT · QUI · MAL · Y · PENSE · [year]
EdgeMilledEdge InscriptionNone
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Shilling, Shield: Details
CountryUnited Kingdom
CurrencyPound Sterling (pre-decimal)
Sub-type ofShilling
Face Value1 (x Shilling)
CurrentNo (demonetised 1990)
Material0.925 Silver
DesignerLeonard Charles Wyon
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
OrientationMedal Alignment (Axis 0)
Size23.5000 mm
Mass5.6552 g
Shilling, Shield: Photos
Great Britain 1887 shilling KM-761
Copyright: CoinFactsWiki / CC BY-SA
Notes: Common reverse (1887 - 1892).
Great Britain 1887 shilling KM-761
Copyright: CoinFactsWiki / CC BY-SA
Notes: Queen Victoria, "Small Jubilee head" (1887 - 1889).
Coin - Shilling, Queen Victoria, Great Britain, 1890
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Notes: Queen Victoria, "Large Jubilee head" (1889 - 1892).