Add Va Va Voom To Your Victoria Shilling Coin Collection

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Whether as an avid hobbyist, a dealer or an investor looking to make a profit, coin collecting is a fascinating pastime that can turn into something more valuable. British coins feature a monarch's face on one side to mark the era of their reign. The Victoria Shilling naturally features the face of Queen Victoria, who ruled as British monarch for more than 63 years.
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Queen Victoria
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Research before you buy

British history websites can provide in-depth information to round out your knowledge of both history and coins from the Victorian era. For the coins themselves there is a huge number of collecting sites, forums and blogs about rarities, and members will be happy to answer any questions . Auction sites also offer advice on coins, their condition and worth. 
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Victoria Shilling
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Origin and history

Originally called the scilling or scylling, the shilling has been in use since the Anglo Saxon era (5th-11th century). Queen Victoria's shilling was introduced following her coronation in 1837 after the death of William IV. The coin itself comes in three distinct types showing the queen maturing over the years. All of Victoria's shillings were made from .925 fine silver with a diameter of 23.5 millimetres and weighing approximately 5.65 grams.

Shilling types include the 'young head' current between 1838-1887, a 'jubilee head' shilling to celebrate 50 years as monarch between 1887-1892 and an 'old head' coin issued between 1892 and 1901. Victorian money was represented by the symbols pounds (£), shillings (s) and pence (d). Shillings were worth 12 pence and a pound contained 20 shillings or 240 pence rather than the 100 we have today. 
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Victoria Shilling proof
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Making the shilling

Coins were originally hammered out of precious metals such as gold, using a mould, before coin pressing machines were invented to produce 'milled' coins.





By the time of Victoria's coronation a national British mint produced the currency using steam driven machinery to standardise coin size and weight.
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Coin magnifier
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Condition and grading

Shilling coins vary in condition and are graded according to how much wear they have been subjected to. Unsurprisingly, coins used in general circulation have many more signs of wear and fewer sharp details. Grading starts at 'Poor' (P), where only outlines of details or designs are left, then progresses through several grades to 'Fine' (F) with only minor signs of wear, up to 'Extremely Fine' (EF) and then 'Uncirculated' (UNC), for coins that were unlikely to have been used and generally have no wear at all. Two higher grades can be seen in coin dealer listings – 'Brilliant Uncirculated' (BU) implying full mint lustre and Fleur De Coin (FDC) for perfect mint state.
 
There are two grading systems besides the UNC to P grading: a British 100-point system from The Coin Grading Service (CGS UK) and an American 70-point system. This is why you will sometimes see coins with initials and numbers after them such as MS65 (US), 85 (CGS UK) or UNC. 'Proof' is a final grade that does not apply to condition. It is a coin that was minted using specially prepared dies and blanks and often was pressed twice to give very fine detail. There is lots of information online about the different grading systems should you wish to check the grading of a particular coin. Generally, UK grade standards are said to be higher than US equivalents.
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Ask the right questions

As soon as a legal tender coin goes out of circulation then interest in it goes up.  That is what makes the Victoria Shilling a collectible coin. But the method of collection is up to you. If you are interested in a certain historical period then look for coins issued in a certain year or range of years and start collecting. If you are more ambitious then you can build up a complete collection of year dates. You could also start with the Victoria Shilling and move on to other denominations from the time such as the half crown, sixpence or florin.  
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Victoria Sixpence
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Vanishing currency

As soon as a legal tender coin goes out of circulation then interest in it goes up.  That is what makes the Victoria Shilling a collectible coin. But the method of collection is up to you. If you are interested in a certain historical period then look for coins issued in a certain year or range of years and start collecting. If you are more ambitious then you can build up a complete collection of year dates. You could also start with the Victoria Shilling and move on to other denominations from the time such as the half crown, sixpence or florin.  

Shillings as an investment

If you are interested in a serious investment then any collector would look to invest in rare coins. There are rare Victoria Shillings – misspellings, differences or mistakes in design – plus proofs and uncirculated coins that are worth more, generally, from the earlier period 1838-1887. A complete collection, such as all year dates, is also a worthy investment, but it takes time and money to achieve. The fact that shillings are made from silver means that, as a precious metal, any collection will grow in value over time.
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Grow and learn

People may overgrade coins so learn by the book. Buy a solid reference book and start to learn about damage or deficiencies. Catalogues can give basic information but specialist books on individual series or types of coin, plus a grading book will boost your knowledge. Join a coin collectors or numismatic club or association (numismatics is the study of money). Ultimately, buy coins because you enjoy it, not as a get rich quick scheme.
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Coin collection boxes
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Protect your collection

Coin storage comes in all shapes and sizes. Folders, albums and holders are all in popular use and each one has its advantages and disadvantages. Coins that are not exposed to the elements or materials that are likely to discolour the collection are best, so research carefully.
 
Other supplies like a magnifier and light will allow you to view coins up close in bright light. Incandescent light is recommended as it is neither too soft or too harsh. Oils and acids on the skin can damage the surface of a coin so you may look at buying soft cotton gloves to handle your collection. Buy a soft pad or cloth to sit under your coin as you examine it – that way it will lessen damage should you drop it. 
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