Fiji Florin, Coins From The Island Colony: 1 Florin (Fiji, 1957)-Article

Updated: Dec 8, 2021

This coin is a 1st year Fijian Florin (Elizabeth II), dated 1957. 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 Queen Elizabeth II Fijian Florin entered circulation in 1957 and was last issued in 1965. On 20 November 1967, the British Pound Sterling was devalued. Causing Australia and New Zealand to consider perusing their own currency, Fiji followed suit. The Fijian Pound ceased being legal tender on 30 June 1972, replaced by the decimal Fijian Dollar. The Fijian Pound was replaced at 2 Fijian Dollars per Pound. Making it equal value to it's Australia and New Zealand counterparts.


The coin is a reeded-edged design made of a copper-nickel alloy and weighs 11.2 g. Its dimensions are

28.3 mm (1.114 in) wide and 2.15 mm (0.085 in) thick. Making it roughly similar to a US Half-Dollar in that aspect. This coin will be reviewed reverse first, as homage to its home nation.


Reverse

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

The observe 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.


The coin's issue date is divided along the left (“19”) and right (“57”). The coin's issuing nation (“Fiji”/top) and coin type (“Florin”) is listed along the top-bottom axis. Both sides are encircled by a 2-layer rim. It includes a ridged inner layer and a smooth outer rim. (Note: Not to be confused for the coin's rim.)

Observe

Fijian Florin reverse designed by Cecil Walter Thomas.
Fijian Florin reverse by Cecil Walter Thomas.

The observe features the 1st Portrait of Elizabeth II. The portrait is done in right-side profile, complete with the state crown. The portrait is wreathed by the text, “QUEEN ELIZABETH THE SECOND”. This example features surface discoloration, giving the appearance of corrosion. The portrait should feature a relatively moderate level of texture depth. (SEE: "Undamaged Example" below)


Pre-Decimal Fijian Pound Guide

10 Florin=1 Fijian Pound

20 Shilling=1 Fijian Pound

240 Pence=1 Fijian Pound


Size Comparison

A Fiji Florin with US Quarter for scale.
A Fiji Florin with US Quarter for scale.

Undamaged Example

Additional Notes

  • The reverse was engraved by English artist George Kruger Gray (1880-1943). Who also engraved the reverse of the Australian (Kangaroo) Penny.

  • In general George Kruger Gray's work primarily focused on designing the reverse of Commonwealth coins. He designed the majority of the Australian 2nd Series, up till the decimalization of 1966.

  • The Observe was engraved by English sculptor and medalist Cecil Walter Thomas (1885-1976), OBE FRBS. Renown for his work in church displays and private funerary memorials.

  • The memorial tomb of Bishop Edward Stuart Talbot, is widely regarded to be Cecil Walter Thomas' greatest work.

  • Excluding artistic refinements, Cecil Thomas' work on coins was primarily limited to the Florin and Sixpence. Having declined the Royal Mints' commission to design Britain’s post-decimal coinage.

  • 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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