Fiji Florin, Coins From The Island Colony: 1 Florin (Fiji, 1942)-Article

This coin is a 1st year US produced WWII-era Fijian Florin (George VI), dated 1942. 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.


Wartime Fijian coins dating 1942-1943 are of particular interest. As the US Mint (San Francisco) produced coins on the behalf of Great Britain. Due to the British Royal Mint's inability to supply coinage to Britain's distant colonies. All US produced coins also feature a letter "S" mint mark, representing the US Mint (San Francisco).


Overall, the coin is a reeded-edged design made of 0.900 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.


Observe

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

The observe features a portrait of King George VI (1895-1952), designed by Percy Metcalfe. This portrait depicts King George VI in left-side profile, complete with the state crown. The portrait is wreathed by split text, it reads “George VI King Emperor”. With the word "King" and "Emperor" separated in the left-side text. This is done intentionally due to separate royal titles. As King George V was also Emperor of British India.


Notably the earlier 1937 King George VI Florin featured a different style of split text. Due to King George VI's portrait fully extending toward the rim. This created a gap preventing true warp-around text to be used. While also creating a break in the beading, seen running along this coin's inner rim.


The initials "P.M." can be seen along the portrait's neckline. Representing English artist Percy Metcalfe.


Reverse

Fijian Florin reverse 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. Below 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, representing peace. 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 (“42”). 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.


Additionally it should be noted, the reverse features an "S" mint mark. This small mint mark located directly below the Fijian Coat of Arms. Since British produced Fijian coins lack mint marks. This "S" can be used as a quick identification aid. Particular amongst beginner collector's, learning the difference between the 2 types.


Pre-Decimal Fijian Pound Guide


10 Florin=1 Fijian Pound


20 Shilling=1 Fijian Pound


240 Pence=1 Fijian Pound


Size Comparison

A 1942 Fiji Florin with US Half Dollar for scale.
A 1942 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.

8 views0 comments