This 1849 gold full sovereign features the "gothic portriat" of Queen Victoria, earning the coin the epithet of "Godless Florin", again thanks to its obverse design. The reverse, however, shows the crowned shields of Englands, Ireland and Scotland, with both sides of the piece being engraer by William Wyon.
Spink reference 3890. There are two types listed under this reference. 'WW' where WW initials are present in between where the bust meets the beading and the date. The second type is 'WW obliterated' where the initials have nearly completely been obliterated by the inner circle. The WW obliterated type is rarer.
The coin in aFine has some nice dark and rainbow tones. The 'Fair' example shows the outline of the Queen and all writing on the coin is legible.
Photographs shown may not be the actual coin and may differ in terms of grade, die numbers, design flaws and other minor details. Contact us if you require a photograph prior to purchase.
It is surprising then that the unpopularity of this design was so badly misjudged at the time.
The main problem was that the words "Dei Gratia" (By the Grace of God), had been omitted from the lettering. Part of the "decimalisation movement" must have included a "new age" element. Although the portrait on the godless florin is a very rich and beautiful design, as is the reverse design, the wording was kept simple, almost minimalist. The only word in Latin is "REGINA" (Queen). Human nature seems to dictate that some of us will always resist any change, no matter how obviously beneficial, so most innovations need to be beyond criticism in order to be accepted readily.
In keeping with this "clean" style was the omission of the full Royal titles in Latin, apart as noted, from the word Regina. Along with the rest of the titles went "Dei Gratia". If this had been the only omission, then the criticism becomes more understandable. I can only assume that the opponents of decimalisation and a religious lobby must have conspired with the lower elements of the popular press to rouse up sufficient antipathy and outcry that the issue was killed dead in its tracks. The fact that it took three years to resume the issue of florins raises interesting questions about the commitment to the decimal programme, and over the planning of its implementation. It may even have been a major reason why the complete switch to decimalisation eventually took 122 years!
It represents a tentative step towards decimalising the Pound Sterling, and a similar Florin, the 'Gothic Florin' was introduced a few years later, this time with the words 'Dei Gratia' included.
Apart from the pattern issue of the previous year, this was the only coin of its type released for circulation, due to the controversy over its omission of the words 'Dei Gratia' (Grace of God) from the design.
The edge is milled.
Bust of Queen Victoria, crowned, and with a long hair braid, wearing a dress richly embroidered with roses, shamrocks and thistles.
The engraver's initials W.W. for William Wyon, appear raised to the right of the bust. In some rarer cases W.W. has been obliterated by the inner circle.
The controversial obverse inscription reads:
"VICTORIA REGINA 1849"
Crowned cruciform shields bearing three lions passant for England, lion rampant for Scotland, and harp for Ireland. In the angles are roses, a shamrock and a thistle. In the centre there is a double rose. All contained within a deeply tressured circular panel.
The reverse design was also by William Wyon.
The reverse legend reads:
"ONE FLORIN ONE TENTH OF A POUND"
|Silver Weight Troy Ounces||0.3636|
|Fineness / Carat||0.925 Sterling Silver|
|Obverse Designer||William Wyon|
|Reverse Designer||William Wyon|
|Issuing Monarch||Victoria (1837-1901)|
|Mint / Brand||The Royal Mint|
|Obverse Grade||Reverse Grade||Price||Availability|
|Fine||gFine||£60.00||Out of Stock|
|aFine||aFine||£45.00||Out of Stock|
|Fair||Fair||£25.00||Out of Stock|
|gVF||gVF||£150.00||Out of Stock|
|14 July 2019||gVF||gVF||£150.00|
|23 November 2019||Fair||Fair||£25.00|
|16 March 2020||Fine||gFine||£60.00|
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Bullion coins are provided as is and on occasion may have some minor scratches or edge knocks. These are not regarded as faulty or damaged goods as their gold content and value as a bullion coin is not affected. Any coin sold for a value less than a 180% intrinsic is considered a bullion coin.
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If you would like to know more about Queen Victoria, the Florin or some of the nation's other significant pieces of coinage we recommend the following: