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  • Britain’s shortest-lived circulating silver coin.

  • Unique historical coin issued for only 4 years (1887 – 1890)

  • First issued in 1887 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria

  • Nicknamed the “barmaid’s curse”

1887 Queen Victoria
Double Florin

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In 1887, to celebrate the Golden Jubilee (50th Anniversary of reign) of Queen Victoria, a new portrait of her was introduced onto the coinage. Along with the new portrait, a new silver coin was added into the coinage, this being the ‘double florin’, which during the pre-decimal time had a face value of four shillings. As such five Double Florins them equalled to one gold sovereign. 

Unfortunately, this coin quickly picked up the nickname the ‘barmaid’s curse’.

At the same time there was also a silver crown in circulation, and this coinage was worth five shillings. The size of the coin was just a mere 3mm bigger in diameter than the new four-shilling counterpart. As a result, in the dimly lit taverns of the nineteenth century Britain it was all too easy for patrons to run up a bill in excess of four shillings then slide this double florin across the bar, telling the barmaid “Here’s a crown,… keep the rest for yourself” - therefore depriving the hard-worked barmaid of a shilling - which in turn was always taken from her wages. As a result of this unpopularity the double florin was only ever struck in four years - 1887, 88, 89 and 90 - making it the shortest-lived circulating silver coin value in British history!


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