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The Victorian coins that were meant to transform our currency…but were blamed for famine instead.

In 1971 the UK switched to a decimal currency, leaving the old £sd (pounds, shillings and pence) behind and introducing the decimalised coins we know today. You might even remember decimal day yourself, or using conversion charts and rhymes to learn the new currency. And if you’re like me, then you’ll probably remember the excitement of seeing the new coins in your change. 

But decimalisation actually started under Queen Victoria, when two new decimal denominations were introduced. These were coins that were blamed for sickness, famine, and the unemployment of barmaids. In fact, they were so controversial that decimalisation had to be delayed for over a century!

The Godless Florin

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1849 Victorian Florin – nicknamed the ‘Godless Florin’

The florin first appeared in 1849 with a value of 1/10th of a pound, or 10 pence. It was rumoured to have borrowed its name from a similar shaped coin from the Netherlands and was issued as a test to help the public warm to decimalised currency. However, its introduction didn’t go as well as hoped. 

The Gothic Head portrait of Victoria was used on the first florins that were issued, and it featured the monarch wearing a crown for the first time in over 200 years. Another unusual design change was the exclusion of the abbreviation “D.G”, meaning “by the grace of God”. In a society where religion was important, the coin was thought to have angered God, so it became known as the ‘Godless Florin’ and was reportedly blamed for Cholera outbreaks and famine at the time.

The Godless Florin was quickly withdrawn from circulation in 1851 and was replaced by a Gothic florin, which had the same design, but included the “D.G” inscription in an attempt to appease the public.

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Left: 1851 Victorian Florin with ‘D.G’ inscription, Right: 1849 ‘Godless’ Florin

The Barmaid’s Ruin

Attempt number two at decimalisation came in the form of a double florin, equivalent to 1/5th of a pound. It was introduced in 1887 and featured the new Jubilee Head portrait of Queen Victoria, but it was withdrawn by the end of 1890 making it one of the shortest circulating denominations in British history.

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1887 Double Florin, nicknamed ‘The Barmaid’s Ruin’

One of the features that makes the double florin stand out in history is that it was almost indistinguishable from the crown coin. Neither carried the denomination and the only difference between the two, apart from the value, was that the double florin was 2mm smaller – not something that was easy to spot by eye.

This meant that the coins were easily confused, and the story goes that crafty patrons would trick barmaids into accepting the double florin as a crown. The double florin then became known as the ‘barmaid’s ruin’, because this act resulted in barmaids losing their jobs.

The first attempts at decimalisation happened over 170 years ago, and although the double florin was withdrawn from circulation after just four mint years , the florin was much more successful, surviving until 1993 before it was demonetised. It circulated alongside the 10p coin, which was introduced in 1968 to try and help the public warm to decimalisation – this time it was finally successful!

The Victorians experienced monumental changes in culture, industry, technology, and empire in their time, but it seems they just weren’t ready for the change of their currency.


Queen Victoria Double Florin Main 300x208 - The Victorian coins that were meant to transform our currency…but were blamed for famine instead.

If you’re interested…

Own a piece of history with the ‘Barmaid’s ruin’, the coin that caused barmaid’s to lose their jobs. Click here to order it today>>>

FIRST EVER: Haynes Manual Collector Ingots just revealed

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I expect like me, you get all misty eyed and nostalgic when you think about the memories of owning your first car. What was yours?  Mine was a magnificent brown Mini no less!  The dream of re-creating the Italian Job was never far away from mine and my teenage mates’ minds! 

And again, if you’re like me, a tinkerer, almost certainly there was only one thing you HAD to buy next.  The Haynes Manual for your car.  It was the home mechanic’s Bible.

The Haynes Manual – British Classics in their own right

Their attention to detail was second to none.  Complete with hundreds of accompanying photos in every new edition, the “Haynes” for your car was an absolute must-have.

Fast forward 40+ years, and like many of the cars they featured, the Manuals THEMSELVES have become widely known as British design classics.  Renowned for their classic cover designs, and iconic cut-away illustrations

Haynes ingot set product lifestyle 1 - FIRST EVER: Haynes Manual Collector Ingots just revealed

Today I’m announcing a collecting first

So, over the last few months, I’m delighted to announce that we have been working directly with Haynes to bring you a new and exclusive edition of the Haynes Manual – the FIRST EVER Haynes Manual Collector Ingot.

That’s right, for the FIRST TIME EVER, the classic Haynes Manual covers are being faithfully reproduced in miniature on a series of Limited Edition Silver-Plated Ingots – created using the prized and sought-after ORIGINAL artwork provided by Haynes themselves!

And as you can see from the enclosed photographs, the first Ingot is a perfect limited edition recreation of the Haynes Manual book cover in miniature, including the instantly recognisable strip-down of the iconic (and my first car!) Mini.


Your invitation to SAVE £10.00 when you order today

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Today, I would like to personally invite you to own this FIRST EVER Haynes Manual Silver-Plated Ingot for JUST £9.99 – an exclusive £10.00 SAVING. Importantly, each Ingot has been struck to the very highest mirror-shine Proof finish. What’s more, your Ingot has also been plated in 999/1000 Fine Silver. Since the first Manual was published in 1966, over 150 million Haynes Manuals have been sold globally.  And that’s when you realise where the collectible significance of this newly released Silver-Plated Ingot lies. Because only 9,995 Ingots have been authorised. Almost certainly, that’s far from enough for all the car enthusiasts and collectors in Britain, let alone the rest of the world.  

Click here for more information and to secure yours >>>

What goes in to developing not one but THREE brand new portraits…

It’s surprising, in this new digital age, just how ‘hands-on’ designing a coin is. In fact, it’s very much the job of a master craftsman.

Never was this more evident than when the Isle of Man Treasury chose to mark the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria with three new coins, each with a brand new portrait.

The man they turned to was renowned sculptor Luigi Badia and here’s the remarkable process of how these coins were developed.

First Stage – Pencil designs   

Like most products across all industries, designing a coin starts with pencil sketches. These are then amended, potentially many times, until a final sketch is produced and approved.

Victoria 200th Birthday Gold Proof One Pound Three Coin Set Draft Set - What goes in to developing not one but THREE brand new portraits…

Second Stage – Plaster modelling

The second stage is arguably the most visually stunning. The sculptor, Luigi Badia in this case, will turn their sketches into a 3D ‘Plaster’ design. The skill involved in this process is really very impressive as every tiny detail must be modelled.

The plaster is far larger than the actual coin size to allow for this detail to be captured. The design will be resized in the next step of the process.   

Queen Victoria 200th Luigi Badia Coin Plasters Image 1 - What goes in to developing not one but THREE brand new portraits…

Third Stage – Digital Modelling

It’s during this stage where technology has certainly helped the design process. The 3D ‘Plaster’ designs are scanned and a digital file, called a greyscale, is created.

An engraving machine then uses this file to cut the design into a piece of steel that’s the actual size of the final coin. This will then be used to make the dies that will actually strike the coins.

Victoria 200th Birthday Gold Proof One Pound Three Coin Set Digital Set 1 - What goes in to developing not one but THREE brand new portraits…

Fourth Stage – Coin Striking

This final stage is when the physical coin comes to life. The specially prepared die is used to ‘strike’ the design onto a metal ‘blank’. The metal used for the blank can vary widely, from cupro-nickel to silver and gold.

Only once the mint is perfectly happy with the quality of the struck coins will they be issued.


The Queen Victoria Silver Antique £5 Set

Victoria 200th Birthday IOM Silver Antique Five Pound Three Coin Set - What goes in to developing not one but THREE brand new portraits…

This set is the only way to own all three of these stunning, specially commissioned Antique Silver £5 Coins.

Just 495 of these stunning sets are available worldwide and exclusive to The Westminster Collection.

You can secure yours today for a down payment of just £54 >>