1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Florin

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FLORIN, the name applied to several coins of the continent of Europe and to two coins struck in England at different times. The word comes through the Fr. florin from the Ital. fiorino, flower, Lat. flos, florem. Fiorino was the Italian name of a gold coin issued at Florence in 1252, weighing about fifty-four grains. This coin bore on the obverse a lily, from which it took its name of “the flower,” on the reverse the Latin name of the city Florentia, from which it was also known as a “florence.” “Florin” and “florence” seem to have been used in English indiscriminately as the name of this coin. The Florentine florin was held in great commercial repute throughout Europe, and similar coins were struck in Germany, other parts of Italy, France, &c. The English gold florin was introduced by Edward III. in 1343, half and quarter florins being struck at the same time. This gold florin weighed 108 grains and was to be current for six shillings. It was found, however, to be overvalued in proportion to the silver currency and was demonetized the following year. The florin did not again appear in the English coinage until 1849, when silver coins with this name, having a nominal value of two shillings (one-tenth of a pound), were struck. When first issued the “Dei gratia” was omitted from the inscription, and they were frequently referred to as the “Godless” or “graceless” florins. The D.G. was added in 1852. In 1887 a double florin or four shilling piece was issued, but its coinage was discontinued in 1890. The total value of double florins issued during these years amounted to £533,125. (See also Numismatics.)