The Australian Florin Silver Coins were one of several coins issued by the commonwealth of Australia when the country was utilizing the Australian Pound as its official currency. The florins made their debut in 1910 and were struck until 1963 when the country started the process of moving to the Australian Dollar and the decimalization of that currency.
Upon their introduction, each Australian Florin was struck from 92.5% silver with an actual silver weight of .3363 troy ounce. The composition of the florin was changed in 1946 when the silver content was lowered to 50% (.1818 troy ounce of actual silver weight).
Australian Florin Silver Coin History
When Australia was first colonized, there was no official currency of the region. That changed in 1825 when the colonies switched to using British currency owing to the fact that they were British colonies. This use would see its end a few years after the federation of the colonies in 1901 as the new federal government was given the power to mint coinage.
The process of moving to an Australian currency was a relatively slow one and it was not until 1910 that the first Australian coins were issued, including the Australian Florin. Other strikes making their debut that same year included the Three Pence Coin, the Six Pence Coin and the Shilling – all denominations of the Australian Pound.
From 1910-1915, most of the Australian Florins were struck by the Royal Mint in London. However, some of the 1914 and 1915 issues were produced by Heaton & Sons of Birmingham (indicated by an ‘H’ mintmark by the date). By 1916, production of the Silver Florins was moved within country to the Melbourne Mint.
Florins were struck in Australia from that point on, with the only exception occurring during World War II. From 1942-1944, production of the strikes was supplemented by the San Francisco branch of the United States Mint. These strikes contain an ‘S’ mintmark indicating their different mint of origin.
The 1910 Florins contained a portrait of King Edward VII of England on their obverse. Due to his death, his portrait was replaced in 1911 with that of King George V which ran on the obverse until King George VI started appearing in 1938. Finally, Queen Elizabeth II was featured on the obverse from 1953 until the end of florin production in 1963.
Typically, the reverse of the florins showcased an image of the Australian Coat of Arms throughout their entire run. The only exceptions to this were special commemorative florins such as the 1927 Parliament House Commemorative Florin, the 1934-1935 Centenary of Victoria / establishment of Melbourne Commemorative Florin, the 1951 50 Years of Federation Commemorative Florin and the 1954 Royal Visit Commemorative Florin.
Owing to their large size, heightened detail and additional commemorative strikes, the Australian Florin is the most collected Australian coin of the era.