The Festival of Britain 1951 Crown is an incredibly interesting coin, but how much is it worth today and are there any different versions of it?
For regular versions of the coin, you can expect to pay around £5.89 according to the latest values on eBay. However, there are a few different versions of the coin and the value can go into the thousands depending on which version you are looking at.
Keep reading to learn about these different versions, as well as the commemoration behind the coin and what historical relevance it has.
Design of the Festival of Britain 1951 Crown
The coin features an iconic reverse design and is one of only two Crown coins that were minted under the reign of King George VI, the other being the 1937 Coronation Crown to commemorate his succession to the throne succeeding Kind Edward VII.
The reverse design features the inscription 1951 towards the centre bottom, as well as the initials B.P. to the right.
The initials stand for Benedetto Pistrucci, an Italian coin engraver who was responsible for Saint George and the Dragon design found on this coin.
Pistrucci created this design originally in 1817, although the one above is slightly modified to only show the main element of the design. The original featured the ribbon of the Order of the Garter surrounding the central design.
The central design shows Saint George on horseback slaying a dragon and has been used on numerous coins since its original design in 1817.
The obverse of the coin features a portrait of King George VI designed by Humphrey Paget, with his initials located towards the bottom right.
The inscription ‘GEORGIVS VID:G:BR:OMN:REX:F:D:’ is seen towards the top edge, with the value of the coin inscribed towards the bottom edge, ‘FIVE SHILLINGS’.
Did It Enter Circulation?
The 1951 Festival of Britain crown was not intended for circulation and it was instead released as a collectable item.
Crowns were released into circulation quite regularly up until 1902, but this did not continue in the 20th century and instead, the coin become more of a commemorative, collectable item.
Mintage And Different Versions
As we alluded to earlier, there were a couple of different versions of the 1951 Festival of Britain crown released, each with varying mintage figures and rarities.
The table below summarises these.
|Regular Proof Version||1,983,500||Around £6 on eBay, between £15 and £50 with cardboard box from coin dealers.|
|VIP Proof with frosting||Few Known Examples||Thousands of pounds (Example Auction Listing)|
|Matte Proof||Very Few Known Examples||Thousands of pounds (Example Auction Listing)|
So, How Rare Are The Coins?
As you can tell, the frosted proof and matte versions are incredibly rare and worth thousands of pounds, however, the chances of coming across one of them are slim to none.
The regular versions have a mintage of just under 2 million, which is definitely on the lower side for a mintage figure. To put this into a modern context, a Jemima Puddle-Duck 50p has a mintage of 2,100,000 and is considered to be fairly rare.
Given the amount of time that has since passed it’s clear to see why the value for one of these coins is fairly high at coin dealers.
What Was The 1951 Festival Of Britain?
It’s all well and good understanding the design of the coin, but it’s important to know why it was actually made in the first place.
The Festival of Britain, which took place in 1951, was a government-backed Festival that coincided with the centenary of the Great Exhibition in 1951.
The idea behind it was quite simple. Following World War Two, Britain was still suffering from the years of austerity before, and the Festival of Britain was a great way to boost the morale of the people.
The Festival was a national celebration that reached millions of visitors across the UK and had several exhibitions located throughout the region, including the South Bank display in London all the way to the York Art Festival.
The crown coin minted this year was in commemoration of the event, and if you want to learn more about the Festival of Britain you can read this helpful summary here.
The 1951 Festival of Britain crown is definitely an intriguing coin given that it was one of only two crowns minted during the reign of King George VI.
If you happen to stumble across one, it could be worth a fortune if you are lucky enough to find a matte or frosted version – although the odds are incredibly small!