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Fiji Florin, Coins From The Island Colony : 1 Florin (Fiji, 1934)-Article

Updated: Dec 22, 2021

This coin is a 1st year Fijian Florin (George V), dated 1934. The Fijian Florin represented the largest denomination coin, of the Fijian Pound. The Fijian pound was a non-decimal currency, which included coins in ½ Pence, 1 Pence, 3 Pence, 6 Pence, 1 Shilling, and 1 Florin denominations. One Florin was equal to 2 Shillings or 1/10th Fijian Pound.


The King George V Fijian Florin was amongst the first Fijian coins and had a brief circulation. Entering circulation in 1934 and was last issued in 1936. King George V's reign ended on 20 January 1936. His death a has been attributed due to smoking related health problems. Which plagued the latter part of his reign. The King George V Florin was succeed by a coin bearing George VI, his second son.


Overall, the coin is a reeded-edged design made of 0.500 grade silver and weighs 11.31 g. Its dimensions are 28.5 mm (1.114 in) wide and 2.15 mm (0.085 in) thick. Making it roughly similar to a US Half-Dollar (30.61 mm/1.205 in), in size. Like the majority of British Imperial coinage. This coin was mint by the Royal Mint, London.


Observe

Fijian Florin observe designed by Percy Metcalfe.
Fijian Florin observe by Percy Metcalfe.

The observe features a portrait of King George V (1865-1936), based on Sir Bertram Mackennal's famous bust. The portrait depicts King George V in right-side profile, complete with the state crown. This portrait is wreathed by split text, it reads “George V King Emperor”. With the word "Emperor" separated from the left-side text. This is done intentionally due to sperate royal titles. As King George V was also Emperor of British India.


Notably this style of split text was only copied by the 1937 King George VI Florin. Replaced by full wrap around text on later designs. Additionally the observe features beading along the inner rim. Unlike other variants of the Fijian Florin, the beading is interrupted. It ends at the shoulders of King George V. Due to the portrait fully extending to the observe's rim. All other Florins feature portraits that end along the neckline.


Reverse

Fijian Florin reverse designed by George Kruger Gray.
Fijian Florin reverse by George Kruger Gray.

The reverse prominently features the Fijian Coat of Arms. The Fijian coat of arms is Cross of Saint George as its base. At its head is a lion bearing a Cocoa pod in its forepaws. Cocoa representing the prime cash crop of the island. Each corner of the cross features a different aspect. The upper left features 3 sugar canes, a cash crop.


On the upper right is a coconut palm, a staple food. Whose wood provides wood for boats and rafts. At the lower left is dove bearing an olive branch. And finally on the lower right is a bundle of bananas, a source of food and trade.


In regards to the coin's reverse text uses a basic format. With the exception of the Three Pence is format is standard to coin's of the Fijian Pound. In addition to a wide array of British and British Imperial coinage.


The coin's issue date is divided along the left (“19”) and right (“34”). The coin's issuing nation (“Fiji”/top) and coin type (“Florin”) is listed along the top-bottom axis. Both sides of the coin utilize a 2-layer rim. It includes a textured inner rim and a reeded outer rim. Unlike the beaded observe, the reverse inner rim features squared ridges.


Pre-Decimal Fijian Pound Guide


10 Florin=1 Fijian Pound


20 Shilling=1 Fijian Pound


240 Pence=1 Fijian Pound



Size Comparison

A 1934 Fiji Florin with US Half Dollar for scale.
A 1934 Fiji Florin with US Half Dollar for scale.
 

Additional Notes

  • English artist Percy Metcalfe (1895-1970) was best known for designing the "Barnyard Collection" coin series, for the Irish Free State.

  • Percy Metcalfe designed the infamous 1936 Fijian Penny (King Edward VIII). This is the only brief exception of the George Kruger Gray designed Fijian Penny run (1934-1936/1936-1945).

  • English artist George Kruger Gray (1880-1943) engraved the reverse of the Australian (Kangaroo) Penny.

  • George Kruger Gray's work primarily focused on designing the reverse of Commonwealth coins.

  • George Kruger Gray designed the majority of the Australian 2nd Series, up till the decimalization of 1966.

  • Five versions of the Fijian Florin were produced and circulated from 1934-1965.

  • The Fijian Pound became obsolete with the adoption of decimalization, in 1969.

  • Fijian Florin versions: George V (1934-1936), George VI (1937), George VI (1938-1945), George VI (1942-1943), and Elizabeth II (1957-1965).

  • Fijian Florin range from composition, which include Copper-Nickel alloy, .500 Grade and .900 Grade Sliver.

  • The Elizabeth II (1957-1965) is the only Fijian Florin that it minted from Copper-Nickel alloy.

  • The standard Sliver Florin is minted from .500 Grade Sliver, the exception being the George VI (1942-1943).

  • The George VI (1942-1943) Florin was minted from .900 Grade Sliver, by the US Mint, San Francisco.

  • Due to disrupted supply lines during WWII (1939-1945), the US Mint (San Francisco) was contracted to supply coinage to distant British colonies.

  • In 1970, Fiji transitioned a British colony to a self-governing commonwealth lead by a Governor-General.

  • In 1987, Fiji transitioned to a republic after establishing the Office of the Fijian Presidency.

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