With the exception of a two year issued silver crown (1937-38), the silver florin was Australia's largest circulating silver coin. Minted with a 92.5% silver composition and a diameter of 28.5mm, the florin is one of the most collected series among coin collectors.
Coins were minted in Melbourne but from 1942 to 1945 some coins were minted by the United States San Francisco Mint to meet coinage demands of U.S. servicemen based in Australia during Word War II who spent their military pay freely in the Australian markets.
The obverse, designed & engraved by T.H. Paget, features the bust of George the VI facing left. At the bottom of George's neck are the designer’s initials “HP”. On the outer periphery are the words "GEORGIVS VI D.G. BR : OMN : REX F.D. IND : IMP" (latin for "George VI, by Grace of God, King of all the Britons, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India").
The reverse, designed by W G. E. Kruger-Gray , features the Australian Coat of Arms based on the design granted by King George V in 1912. The coat of arms features an emu and kangaroo flanking a shield under a crown. Just above the emu are the designer's initials “KG”. On the outer periphery is the denomination “FLORIN”, country name “AUSTRALIA” and year of issue. Located above the year of issue is the mint mark “s” (San Francisco), coins minted in Melbourne did not have a mint mark.
Over the course of the series there were two major changes that created major varieties. The first change occurred in 1946 when silver content was reduced to 0.1818 ounces of silver.
The second variety occurred when India became an independent country in 1947 which caused a change in the obverse legend in 1951 to remove “IND:IMP”.
Variety 1 – 1938-1945 92.5% Silver
Variety 2 – 1946-1947 50% Silver
Variety 3 - 1951-1952 New Legend
General Market Notes
The key to the series is the 1939 issue.