Great Britain 1852 florin

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Heritage sale 3004, lot 21916
photo courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries
This specimen was lot 21916 in Heritage sale 3004 (New York, January 2010), which sold for $2,990. The catalog description[1] noted,
"Great Britain. Victoria Proof Gothic Florin 1852, PR64 NGC, reeded edge, extremely rare, a coin of exquisite eye appeal, the bright reflective mirror surfaces sheathed in truly beautiful and rarely seen sun-gold iridescence, the obverse having royal-blue and purple hues around the periphery. Faint hairlines are the reason for the '64' grade, but these are overwhelmed by the coin's beauty. Rims are high but not squared off, a characteristic of some of the Proofs of Record, made for museums from polished dies rather than from deliberately made special dies as was the case for, say, the proofs of 1839. The cataloguer has never seen another of this date."
This florin was Britain's first attempt to decimalize the pound (1 florin = 2 shillings = 1/10 pound). It must have been popular, as it was struck in several variations 1848-87. There was even a brief issue of double florins. Full decimalization would have to wait until the 1960's, when the florin became the ten pence coin.

Recorded mintage: 1,861,000 plus a small number of proofs.

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

Catalog reference: S.3891, KM 746.3.


  • Michael, Thomas, and Tracy L. Schmidt, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 9th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2019.
  • 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.
  • [1]Tucker, Warren, and Scott Cordry, Heritage Signature Auction 3004: World Coins, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2009.

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