Half crown (British coin)

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Half crown
United Kingdom
Two shillings and sixpence
Mass(1816–1970) 14.14 g
Diameter(1816–1970) 32.31 mm
Composition(1816–1919) 92.5% Ag
(1920–1946) 50% Ag
(1947–1970) Cupronickel
Years of minting1707–1970
British half crown 1967 obverse.png
DesignProfile of the monarch (Elizabeth II design shown)
Designer Mary Gillick
Design date1953
British half crown 1967 reverse.png
DesignVarious (crowned Royal Shield shown)
DesignerEdgar Fuller and Cecil Thomas
Design date1967

The British half crown was a denomination of sterling coinage worth 1/8 of one pound, or two shillings and six pence (abbreviated "2/6", familiarly "two and six"), or 30 (old) pence. The half crown was first issued in 1549, in the reign of Edward VI. No half crowns were issued in the reign of Mary, but from the reign of Elizabeth I half crowns were issued in every reign except that of Edward VIII, until the coins were discontinued in 1970.


The half crown was demonetised (ahead of other pre-decimal coins) on 1 January 1970, the year before the United Kingdom adopted decimal currency on Decimal Day. During the English Interregnum of 1649–1660, a republican half crown was issued, bearing the arms of the Commonwealth of England, despite monarchist associations of the coin's name. When Oliver Cromwell was made Lord Protector of England, half crowns were issued bearing his portrait depicting him wearing a laurel wreath in the manner of a Roman Emperor. The half crown did not display its value on the reverse until 1893.

History of the half crown by reign

Gold half crown of Elizabeth I, 1580/81 Post Medieval Coin, Half crown of Elizabeth I (obverse and reverse) (FindID 734368).jpg
Gold half crown of Elizabeth I, 1580/81
This Charles I half crown was struck from a piece of hammered silver plate during one of the Civil War sieges of Newark, Nottinghamshire. English Half-Crown Newark 1646.jpg
This Charles I half crown was struck from a piece of hammered silver plate during one of the Civil War sieges of Newark, Nottinghamshire.

Size and weight

From 1816, in the reign of George III, half crown coins had a diameter of 32 mm and a weight of 14.14 grams (defined as 511  troy ounce [1] ), dimensions which remained the same for the half crown until decimalisation in 1971. [2]


The mintage figures below are taken from the annual UK publication COIN YEARBOOK. [3] Proof mintages are indicated in italics.

Victoria(Old Head)   
Edward VII    
George V    
George VI    
 1 [4]
Elizabeth II    

See also

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  1. Kindleberger, Charles P. (2005). A Financial History of Western Europe. Taylor & Francis. p. 60. ISBN   9780415378673.
  2. Tony Clayton. "Coins of the UK - Thirty Pence". coins-of-the-uk.co.uk.
  3. "Coin, Banknote and Medal Collector's Magazines. Token Publishing Numismatic Interest". tokenpublishing.com.
  4. "Welcome to Colin Cooke Coins - Numismatics, Coins, Rarities - 1952 Halfcrown". colincooke.com.