British Shilling Coin Prices
There are three main types of Victorian shilling, and each of these has
sub-types, some of which are scarce.
Type One: Young Head 1860
All basically have the Young Head portrait of the Queen on the obverse,
with a ONE SHILLING design as for William IV on the reverse.
First Head. WW on truncation. 1838-39
Second Head. WW on truncation. 1839 proof only
Second Head. No initials. 1839-1863. 1850 and 1854 are rare.
Second Head. Die Number on reverse just above the date: (see example)
Third Head. No Die Number. 1867 (rare proofs)
Third Head. Die Number. 1867-1879
Fourth Head. Die Number. 1878-1879 (both rare)
Fourth Head. No Die Number. 1879-1887
The various heads show a maturing of the portrait as time passes.
A list of die numbers can be accessed by following this link.
Type Two: Jubilee Head 1887 coin
All show the Jubilee portrait on the obverse and a shield in a garter
on the reverse.
Small Head. 1887-1889 (1889 scarce)
Large Head. 1889-1892
Type Three: Old Head
All show the veiled 'Old Head' on the obverse and three shields within
a garter on the reverse, with a rose between the upper two shields.
Small Rose on Reverse. 1893-1895
Larger Rose on Reverse. 1895-1901
The small rose version of the 1895 is the scarcer type of that date.
The first type (1911-1916-1919) continued with the Edward VII reverse
In 1920 the silver content was reduced from 92.5% to 50% because of a
dramatic rise in the price of silver. This second type was issued from
1920 to 1926. Problems with the alloy because of poor appearance after
wear meant a slight change in the alloying additions in 1922 and again
During 1926 the obverse was modified to have a lower relief. This is
very obvious, but confirmation can be effected by looking at the
truncation on the head. The initials BM are smaller and close to the
back (right) of the truncation. This third type was issued from 1926 to
During 1927 a new reverse design was issued in proof sets, and then
uniquely the 1927 shilling in the new design was issued for
circulation. This fourth type continued until 1936.
The reverse design for all Edward VII shillings shows a lion rampant on
a crown, a design carried on unchanged by George V. The 1905 coin is
very scarce, especially in top condition. This shilling coin is 1906
A pattern shilling of Edward VIII does exist, in the same design as the
later George VI Scottish shilling. This picture of shilling is 1937
The issues of George VI and Elizabeth II are unusual in that two
different designs were issued each year (except 1952), an English and a
Scottish version. They were not distributed solely in the relevant
countries, but circulated equally alongside each other.
The English shilling of George VI has the lion standing left on a large
crown, while on the Scottish shilling the lion is facing, holding a
sword & sceptre flanked by St Andrews Cross and a thistle.
The metal used changed to cupronickel in 1947.
A design change took place in 1949 with the removal of the words IND
IMP on India becoming an independant republic.
Because of the high demand for nickel in the Korean War no 1952
shillings were issued, although extremely rare Proofs of the English
version do exist.
The English shilling of Elizabeth II has three 'leopards' facing left, 1958
in a shield, while the Scottish shilling has a rampant lion. 1955
In common with other denominations, the 1953 coins differ from later
issues in having a weaker bust and the extra words BRITT OMN in the
The last regular issue shillings were minted in 1966. Two years later
the new five-pence piece with identical dimensions began to be issued
prior to decimalisation in 1971, although proof shillings dated 1970
were issued later.
Shillings and 5p coins circulated together until the end of 1990, when
they were superseded by a new smaller 5p coin. Thus ended the 488 year
history of the shilling
Part 2 The History of Milled Shilling Coinage
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