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Brit Tip #4

What are English and Scottish Shillings?

In 1937, in preparation for the coinage of Edward, VIII, it was decided, after pressure from the folks up north, to create a new Scottish reverse for the shilling. It was a “Statant Guardant (facing)” Lion with a thistle to the right and St. Andrew’s Cross to the left (see Figure 2). An English reverse shilling (Figure 1) was also proposed, being similar to the design from 1927-1936, known as “Sejant Guardant (sideways, facing).” When Edward VIII abdicated, the reverses were retained for the coinage of George VI. Both types were minted every year 1937-1951. In 1952, only an English shilling was produced. It is among the very rarest of all British coins.

Figure 1.  English Reverse for
George VI Shillings.

Figure 2.  Scottish Reverse for George VI Shillings.

The tradition of English and Scottish shillings was continued for the coinage of Elizabeth II, from 1953-1966 and 1970 (a special proof struck as part of a set, probably in 1972). When the shilling became Five New Pence in 1968, the reverse became exclusively Scottish.

Figure 3.  English Reverse for
Elizabeth II Shillings.
Figure 4.  Scottish Reverse for
Elizabeth II Shillings.

Posted on CU 7/15/2003