|Years of minting||1828–1856|
|Design||Profile of the monarch (Victoria design shown)|
|Design||Various (Crown, Rose, Thistle and Shamrock design shown)|
The British half farthing was a coin worth 1/1,920 of a pound, 1/96 of a shilling, or 1/8 of a penny sterling. It was minted in copper for use in Ceylon, but in 1842 was also declared legal tender in the United Kingdom. Two different obverses were used. Like all British coinage, it bore the portrait of the monarch on the obverse.
Before Decimal Day in 1971, sterling used the Carolingian monetary system, under which the largest unit was a pound divided into 20 shillings, each of 12 pence. Each penny was further divided into 4 farthings, thus a pound contained 1,920 half farthings and a shilling contained 96 half farthings.
The coin was initially produced in 1828 for use in Ceylon, and again in 1830. The obverse of the coin bears the left-facing portrait of King George IV, with the inscription GEORGIUS IV DEI GRATIA date while the reverse shows a seated Britannia with shield, facing right and holding a trident, with the inscription BRITANNIAR REX FID DEF. There was no indication of its value. The coin was made of copper, weighed 2.4 grams, and had a diameter of 18 millimetres.
In 1837, in the reign of King William IV, there was another issue, also of copper, 18 millimetres in diameter, but only weighing 2.3 grams. The obverse of this coin bears the right-facing portrait of William IV with the inscription GULIELMUS IIII DEI GRATIA 1837, and the same reverse as before.
In the reign of Queen Victoria, coins were minted for circulation in 1839, 1842, 1843, 1844, 1847, 1851, 1852, 1853, 1854, and 1856. Again they were made of copper, 18 millimetres in diameter, and weighed 2.4 grams (except for 1856, which was 2.3 grams). The design changed considerably from what went before—the obverse bears the left-facing portrait of Queen Victoria, with the inscription VICTORIA D G BRITANNIAR REGINA F D , while the reverse bears a crown above the words HALF FARTHING with (1839) a rose with three leaves at the bottom of the coin, or (1842 and later) a rose, thistle, and shamrock.
The change in design was because the coin was additionally made legal tender in the United Kingdom from 13 June 1842. There was much cynicism of the need for such a coin in Britain, with letters written to The Times , but the coin did indeed circulate widely in Britain and Ceylon.
The purchasing value of a penny in 1844, at 2013 purchasing power, was (at its lowest) 35p sterling. A half-farthing, therefore (one eighth of a penny) would have had a value in 2013 of 4.375p (pence sterling). Yet, as of 2014, the UK still had widely circulating coins of just 1p and 2p. The half-farthing therefore was not of so minuscule a value as (middle-class) writers of the day (1844) might imagine.Unadjusted for inflation, its conversion to modern denominations would place it at slightly more than one twentieth of a decimal penny.
The entire issue was demonetised from 1 January 1870.
The standard circulating coinage of the United Kingdom, British Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories is denominated in pennies and pounds sterling, and ranges in value from one penny sterling to two pounds. Since decimalisation, on 15 February 1971, the pound has been divided into 100 (new) pence. Before decimalisation, twelve pence made a shilling, and twenty shillings made a pound.
The British third farthing was a coin worth 1/2880 of a pound, 1/144 of a shilling, or 1/12 of a penny sterling. It was produced in various years between 1827 and 1913.
The British quarter farthing was a coin worth 1/3840 of a pound, 1/192 of a shilling, or +1/16 of a penny sterling. It was produced for circulation in Ceylon in various years between 1839 and 1853, with proof coins being produced in 1868. It is the smallest denomination of sterling coin ever minted. The coin is considered to be part of British coinage because Ceylon otherwise used standard sterling coin and it was made in the same style as the contemporary Ceylonese half-farthing which was legal tender in Britain between 1842 and 1869.
The history of the English penny from 1603 to 1707 covers the period of the House of Stuart, up to the Acts of Union of 1707 which brought about the Union of the Kingdom of England with the Kingdom of Scotland.
The penny of Great Britain and the United Kingdom from 1714 to 1901, the period in which the House of Hanover reigned, saw the transformation of the penny from a little-used small silver coin to the bronze piece recognisable to modern-day Britons. All bear the portrait of the monarch on the obverse; copper and bronze pennies have a depiction of Britannia, the female personification of Britain, on the reverse.
The British penny, a large, pre-decimal coin which continued the series of pennies which began in about the year 700, was struck intermittently during the 20th century until its withdrawal from circulation after 1970. From 1901 to 1970, the obverse of the bronze coin depicted the monarch who was reigning at the start of the year. The reverse, which featured an image of Britannia seated with shield, trident, and helm, was created by Leonard Charles Wyon based on an earlier design by his father, William Wyon. The coins were also used in British colonies and dominions that had not issued their own coins.
The British florin, or two-shilling piece was a denomination of sterling coinage worth 1/10 of one pound, or 24 pence. It was issued from 1849 until 1967, with a final issue for collectors dated 1970. It was the last coin circulating immediately prior to decimalisation to be demonetised, in 1993, having for a quarter of a century circulated alongside the ten-pence piece, identical in specifications and value.
The British three halfpence was a coin worth 1/160 of one pound or 1/8 of one shilling sterling. It was produced for circulation in the British colonies, mainly in Ceylon and the West Indies in each year between 1834 and 1843, and also in 1860 and 1862. Proof coins were also produced in 1870.
The British pre-decimal halfpenny, , historically also known as the obol and once abbreviated ob., was a coin worth 1/480 of one pound, 1/24 of one shilling, or 1/2 of one penny sterling. Originally the halfpenny was minted in copper, but after 1860 it was minted in bronze. In the run-up to decimalisation it ceased to be legal tender from 31 July 1969. The halfpenny featured two different designs on its reverse during its years in circulation. From 1672 until 1936 the image of Britannia appeared on the reverse, and from 1937 onwards the image of the Golden Hind appeared. Like all British coinage, it bore the portrait of the monarch on the obverse.
The British farthing historically abbreviated qua., was a coin worth 1/960 of one pound, 1/48 of one shilling, or 1/4 of one penny sterling. It was minted in copper and later in bronze, and replaced the earlier English farthings.
The British threepence (3d) piece, usually simply known as a threepence, thruppence, or thruppenny bit, was a coin worth 1/80 of one pound or 1/4 of one shilling sterling. It was used in the United Kingdom, and earlier in Great Britain and England. Similar denominations were later used throughout the British Empire and Commonwealth countries, notably in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
The Five Guinea was a machine-struck gold coin produced from 1668–1753. Measuring 37 millimetres in diameter and weighing between 41 and 42 grams, it was the largest regularly produced gold coin in Britain. Although the coin is commonly known as the "Five guinea" piece, during the 17th and 18th centuries it was also known as a Five-pound piece, as the guinea was originally worth twenty shillings — until its value was fixed at twenty-one shillings by a Royal Proclamation in 1717 the value fluctuated rather in the way that bullion coins do today.
The guinea was a coin, minted in Great Britain between 1663 and 1814, that contained approximately one-quarter of an ounce of gold. The name came from the Guinea region in West Africa, from where much of the gold used to make the coins was sourced. It was the first English machine-struck gold coin, originally worth one pound, equal to twenty shillings, but rises in the price of gold relative to silver caused the value of the guinea to increase, at times to as high as thirty shillings. From 1717 to 1816, its value was officially fixed at twenty-one shillings.
The half guinea gold coin of the Kingdom of England and later of Great Britain was first produced in 1669, some years after the Guinea entered circulation. It was officially eliminated in the Great Recoinage of 1816, although, like the guinea, it was used in quoting prices until decimalisation.
The farthing was the lowest value coin of the pre-decimal Irish pound, worth a quarter of a penny, 1⁄48 of a shilling or 1⁄960 of a pound. The coin had lost much of its value through inflation long before decimalisation in 1971, and during the 1960s no farthings were produced for general circulation; those minted in 1966 were produced for collectors' sets.
The British farthing was a British coin worth a quarter of an old penny. It ceased to be struck after 1956 and was demonetised from 1 January 1961.
The British halfpenny coin was worth 1/480th of a pound sterling. At first in its 700-year history it was made from silver, but as the value of silver increased the coin was made from base metals. It was finally abandoned in 1969 as part of the process of decimalising the British currency. "Halfpenny", colloquially written ha'penny, was pronounced HAY-pə-nee; "1 ½d" was spoken as a penny ha'penny or three ha'pence.
The threepence or threepenny bit was a denomination of currency used by various jurisdictions in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, valued at 1/80 of a pound or ¼ of a shilling until decimalisation of the pound sterling and Irish pound in 1971. It was also used in some parts of the British Empire, notably Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
A farthing was a coin of the Kingdom of England worth one quarter of a penny, 1⁄960 of a pound sterling. Such coins were first minted in England in silver in the 13th century, and continued to be used until the Kingdom of England was merged into the new Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707.
The double sovereign is a gold coin of the United Kingdom, with a nominal value of 2 pounds or 40 shillings sterling.