How many pounds make a crown?

A crown is a unit of currency that was used in the United Kingdom prior to decimalization in 1971. The crown was equal to 5 shillings, which was one-fourth of a pound sterling. With 20 shillings to a pound, this means that 4 crowns made up 1 pound sterling.

• 1 crown = 5 shillings
• 1 pound sterling = 20 shillings
• Therefore, 4 crowns = 1 pound sterling

History of the Crown Currency

The crown was a unit of currency in the United Kingdom dating back to the Tudor period in the 16th century. The first crowns were minted during the reign of King Henry VIII. The name “crown” came from the fact that the coin depicted a crown on the obverse side.

The crown was initially equivalent to 5 shillings. During this time, the UK monetary system was based on the pound sterling, divided into 20 shillings, with each shilling equal to 12 pence. This meant that 1 crown equaled 60 pence.

Over the next few centuries, the crown maintained its value of 5 shillings through the reigns of successive British monarchs. However, its appearance changed as new monarchs ascended the throne and wished to be depicted on the nation’s coinage.

The crown maintained its place as an important unit of currency within the British monetary system until decimalization in 1971. This saw the UK switch to a decimal currency of 100 pence to the pound. The crown was withdrawn from circulation at this point as the country transitioned to the new system.

Value of a Crown

From its origins in the 16th century until decimalization in 1971, the crown was valued at 5 shillings. With 20 shillings to a pound sterling, this meant that each crown was worth one-fourth of a pound.

Therefore, it took 4 crowns to equal 1 full pound sterling.

To summarize:

• 1 crown = 5 shillings
• 20 shillings = 1 pound
• So 4 crowns = 20 shillings = 1 pound

With 12 pence to a shilling, each crown could further be divided into its pence value:

• 1 crown = 5 shillings
• 1 shilling = 12 pence
• So 1 crown = 60 pence

Coins of Different Denominations

While the crown was equal to 5 shillings, other coins representing different denominations circulated alongside it as part of the pre-decimal British monetary system. These included:

• Farthing – 1/4 of a penny
• Halfpenny – 1/2 of a penny
• Penny
• Threepence (3d) – 3 pence
• Sixpence (6d) – 6 pence
• Shilling (1/-) – 12 pence
• Florin (2/-) – 2 shillings
• Half crown (2/6) – 2 shillings and 6 pence
• Crown (5/-) – 5 shillings
• Sovereign – 1 pound

The relative values of these coins is summarized in the table below:

Coin Pence Value Shilling Value
Farthing 1/4 penny N/A
Halfpenny 1/2 penny N/A
Penny 1 penny N/A
Threepence (3d) 3 pence N/A
Sixpence (6d) 6 pence 1/2 shilling
Shilling (1/-) 12 pence 1 shilling
Florin (2/-) 24 pence 2 shillings
Half Crown (2/6) 30 pence 2 shillings, 6 pence
Crown (5/-) 60 pence 5 shillings
Sovereign 240 pence 20 shillings

As the table shows, the crown, with its value of 5 shillings, sat in the middle of the denomination range. Lower values were represented by coins like the farthing, halfpenny, penny, and threepence. Higher values went up to the sovereign, representing one full pound.

Design of Crown Coins

The appearance of crown coins changed over the centuries as new monarchs came to power. However, some general design features remained consistent:

• Diameter was around 38-40mm
• Originally made from silver, later minted in cupronickel
• Featured the reigning monarch on the obverse (front)
• The reverse (back) depicted the coat of arms
• Inscribed with denomination “ONE CROWN” and the date

Earlier crown coins were made from silver. The silver content varied – some from the 1600s were 92.5% silver. Later versions minted in the 19th and 20th centuries were debased with cupronickel, a copper and nickel alloy.

Having the monarch’s portrait on the front of all British coins was a tradition dating back centuries. Some of the monarchs depicted on crown coins included:

• King Henry VIII (first crowns issued under his reign)
• Queen Elizabeth I
• King James I
• King Charles I and II
• Queen Victoria
• King Edward VII and VIII
• King George V and VI
• Queen Elizabeth II

The reverse almost always featured a shield depicting the coat of arms of the ruling royal house at the time. This was a way of symbolizing royal authority over the minting of coins.

Lettering was another key element in the crown’s design. The denomination “ONE CROWN” appeared on the reverse side, along with the date the coin was minted. The monarch’s name was inscribed along the edge.

Minting of Crown Coins

The Royal Mint held the exclusive right to produce British coinage and was responsible for minting all crown coins for circulation. The mint went through several locations over its centuries-long history before finally settling in Wales in the 1960s.

Early crown coins were minted in the Tower of London and other London-based mints in the 16th-18th centuries. As technology evolved, coin production became more industrialized in the 19th century. Steam power was harnessed at mints in London and other English cities to meet growing circulation needs.

The Royal Mint finally centralized its operations in Wales after decimalization. Here the minting of crowns continued, though now mostly commemorative issues rather than regular circulation coins. Special crowns were produced to mark events like royal jubilees, coronations, and royal weddings.

Modern minting techniques use advanced presses capable of churning out hundreds of coins per minute. But quality control remains paramount – The Royal Mint boasts one of the lowest error rates in the world. Random sampling and inspection ensures only properly struck crowns and other coins reach the public.

Circulation of Crown Coins

Crown coins had a long history of circulation in Britain spanning nearly 450 years. They remained commonly used from the Tudor era through the Victorian and Edwardian periods until the United Kingdom adopted a decimal monetary system in 1971.

Some key points regarding the circulation of crown coins:

– First issued during the reign of Henry VIII in 1551 and regularly minted thereafter.

– Used alongside other pre-decimal coins like shillings, florins, and farthings.

– Remained popular in commerce and trade for centuries, readily accepted by merchants.

– Legal tender with a set value of 5 shillings until decimalization.

– Continued to circulate as 5 shillings pieces even as coin composition changed.

– Last generally circulated crown coins were Queen Elizabeth II crowns minted from 1953-1965.

– Replaced by 5p and 10p decimal coins in 1971, ending the crown’s status as a circulating denomination.

Though no longer issued for circulation post-1971, commemorative crowns with legal tender status continued to be minted. They saw some limited use in commerce alongside decimal pennies and pence denominations.

Commemorative Crowns

Since the UK adopted a new decimal currency system in 1971, crown coins transitioned to being commemorative issues without a circulating purpose. Special crowns continued to be minted to mark royal events and anniversaries.

Some key commemorative crowns included:

• 1972 – The Queen’s Silver Wedding Anniversary
• 1977 – The Queen’s Silver Jubilee
• 1980 – Queen Mother’s 80th Birthday
• 1981 – Prince Charles’ Wedding to Lady Diana
• 1986 – Queen’s 60th Birthday
• 2002 – The Queen’s Golden Jubilee
• 2012 – The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
• 2015 – The Queen becoming Britain’s Longest Reigning Monarch

Though no longer circulating, these special edition proof and brilliant uncirculated crowns remain popular with collectors. They serve as attractive keepsakes to commemorate royal milestones and events. The tradition is set to continue with new crowns minted under King Charles III.

Decimalization and the End of the Crown

On February 15, 1971, the United Kingdom transitioned to a new decimalized currency system that brought an end to the crown as a circulating coin. This monetary reform changed the pound into 100 pence, replacing historical denominations like crowns and shillings.

Some key points about decimalization and the crown:

– UK adopted decimal currency to simplify trade and accounting as pounds, shillings, pence system had become unwieldy.

– Legislated in the Decimal Currency Act of 1969, with transition date set for 1971.

– 1 pound sterling was now divided into 100 pence instead of 20 shillings.

– New coin denominations introduced: 1/2p, 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 50p.

– Old coins were gradually withdrawn, including the crown.

– One crown was equivalent to 5 shillings, which decimalized to 25 new pence.

– Last crowns issued for circulation were in 1965 featuring Queen Elizabeth II.

– Commemorative crowns continued to be minted, but no longer used as circulating legal tender.

The withdrawal of the crown coin marked a major milestone in British monetary history. Though no longer used today, it had served as an important part of the nation’s currency for over four centuries.

Collectibility of Crown Coins

For coin collectors and numismatists, British crown coins represent an attractive series to collect due to their impressive size, detailed designs, silver content, and long history spanning many monarchs.

Factors that make crown coins popular with collectors:

– Large 38-40mm diameter shows off design details beautifully.

– Earlier crowns in silver – high intrinsic value from precious metal content.

– Portraits of numerous English and British monarchs give wide range of collectible coins.

– Detailed heraldic designs on reverse featuring coats of arms.

– Commemorative crowns chart major historical events like coronations, jubilees.

– Condition is critical – high grade uncirculated crowns can be worth substantial sums.

– Rarity – some older crowns had small mintages, increasing value.

– Provenance – coins tied to famous collections command huge premiums.

Collecting crown coins by monarch or chronologically allows one to assemble a fascinating piece of British monetary history. Many collectors aim to acquire one crown from the reign of each king or queen.

Conclusion

In summary, for centuries the British crown coin represented 5 shillings in the pre-decimal pound sterling monetary system. With 20 shillings to a pound, it took 4 crowns to make up 1 full pound. The crown had a long reign from the Tudor era until its withdrawal after decimalization in 1971. Though no longer circulating today, historic and commemorative crown coins remain prized by collectors and offer a tangible piece of British culture and heritage. Whether as part of currency or a collectible, the crown coin leaves an enduring legacy.