David Pickup submitted these thoughts on the decade pattern. Thanks! I added some images. -Editor
The Decade and Decimalisation
I was thinking about coins of the decade and discovered that "decade" was suggested as a denomination on a pattern florin, issued in the 1840s. We now use "decade" to mean ten
years but it can be used to describe any unit of ten. There had been proposals for decimalisation in the early part of the Nineteen Century. A Decimal Association was founded
in 1841 and the movement grew following the 1851 Great Exhibition and the desire to make international trade easier. There was a Royal Commission on Decimal
Coinage (1856–1857) but the final report in 1859 from the Governor of the Bank of England rejected the idea as it had "few merits".
1848 Pattern Decade (from Museums Victoria)
In 1848 the Chief Engraver of the Royal Mint, William Wyon produced a pattern which defines itself as a tenth of a pound or 100 milles. The pattern was rejected along with
the suggestion of ten decades or one thousand milles to a pound. The florin was introduced into circulation in Great Britain in 1849 as a first step towards decimal coinage.
The problem was that is easy to divide pounds shillings and pence, but it is difficult to use a decimal system and retain popular coins like the halfcrown, and sixpence. The
idea of having a thousand milles to a pound was so the equivalent of a penny (five milles) could be divided into five farthings. No wonder it did not catch on!
The pattern is an attractive coin. The reverse was designed by a Scottish artist, mainly known as a painter, called William Dyce. It occasionally appears on the market. An
example was sold by DNW in 2007 for £1,200.00
1848 Pattern Centum (from Heritage World Coin Signature Auction #3002)
To read the complete item descriptions, see:
Pattern Coin - Florin (Decade), Queen Victoria, Great Britain, 1848
Great Britain: Victoria Pattern "Centum" 1848,...
Wayne Homren, Editor
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