Great Britain 1851 florin

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Heritage sale 3037, lot 31153
Great Britain H3037-31153r.jpg

This specimen was lot 31153 in Heritage sale 3037 (New York, January 2015), where it sold for $25,850. The catalog description[1] noted, "Victoria Proof Gothic Florin 1851 PR64 NGC, Royal mint, plain edge. An extraordinarily rare coin, and possibly the rarest Victoria florin. This is the single graded example of this type by either PCGS or NGC, and just one of three total proof florins that have been graded by either firm. The last example of this type to have been sold at public auction was a full decade ago. That coin, sold by St. James (Auction 2, 11 May 2005, lot 458), was described as having a 'small scratch behind head, otherwise about FDC.' The description, along with the accompanying photograph, strongly suggests that the present piece is vastly superior to the St. James one. This coin has no flaws worthy of note and only the very lightest of handling marks visible under magnification. Despite the scratch noted on the St. James example, it still realized a hammer price of 7,500GBP (over $14,000 at the time). In the interim decade, the market in general, and for high-grade Victoria coins in particular, has gone up tremendously. As such, this is the sort of coin that is nearly impossible to estimate and so it may be best to just open it on the floor and let it run. From The Law Collection." The florin was introduced in 1848 in an attempted to decimalize the pound and in 1851, mintage of the half crown (2½ shillings) was suspended to get the new coin to circulate. The half crown resumed in 1874 and both were minted until the end of the sterling coinage in the 1960's.

Recorded mintage: 1,540 (likely all proofs).

Specification: 11.31 g, .925 fine silver, .336 troy oz ASW.

Catalog reference: KM 746.1, S-3891 var. (unlisted with plain edge), ESC-803 (R4, no distinction between plain and milled edge).


  • Michael, Thomas, and Tracy L. Schmidt, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 9th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2019.
  • [1]Bierrenbach, Cristiano, Warren Tucker and Scott Cordry, Heritage Signature Auction 3037, featuring the Empire, the Santa Catarina, the Law and the Santa Maria Collections, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2014.
  • Bressett, Kenneth E., A Guide Book of English Coins, Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, 2nd Ed., Racine, WI: Whitman Publishing, 1962.
  • Lobel, Richard, Mark Davidson, Allan Hailstone and Eleni Calligas, Coincraft's Standard Catalogue of English and UK Coins, 1066 to Date, London: Coincraft, 1995.
  • Rayner, P. Alan, and Maurice Bull, English Silver Coinage from 1649, 6th Ed., London: Spink & Son, 2015.
  • Skingley, Philip, ed., Standard Catalogue of British Coins: Coins of England & the United Kingdom, 46th edition, London: Spink & Son, 2011.

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