Only four examples of the 1951 Federation Proof Florin are known. As stated in the opening paragraph, one is housed in the Museum of Victoria purchased from Spink Auctions. Three are held privately, this coin being one of the three.
Australia became an independent nation on 1 January 1901 when the British Parliament passed legislation allowing the six Australian colonies to govern in their own right as part of the Commonwealth of Australia. Australians celebrated their nationhood, participating in parades, processions, sporting events and school pageants.
The celebrations continued fifty years later with the striking of a commemorative coin, the 1951 Federation Florin.
Treasury issued two million commemorative florins in 1951 to celebrate the 50th year of Federation. The coins were struck at the Melbourne Mint using planchets comprised of 50 per cent silver. The designs carried the normal portrait of King George VI and a rather symbolic reverse design by William Leslie Bowles featuring a crown above a crossed sword with the Southern Cross worked through the design.
The 1951 Federation Proof Florins were struck as test pieces of the new design at the Royal Mint London using British florin (cupro-nickel) planchets.
The 1951 Federation Florin is a commemorative issue and is inordinately popular with collectors. Uncirculated quality examples are eagerly sought after. Proof quality examples, such as this coin, are an extremely important part of our currency heritage and are highly prized.