History of the British penny (1714–1901)

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The history of 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.

Kingdom of Great Britain constitutional monarchy in Western Europe between 1707–1801

The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called simply Great Britain, was a sovereign state in western Europe from 1 May 1707 to 31 December 1800. The state came into being following the Treaty of Union in 1706, ratified by the Acts of Union 1707, which united the kingdoms of England and Scotland to form a single kingdom encompassing the whole island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, with the exception of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The unitary state was governed by a single parliament and government that was based in Westminster. The former kingdoms had been in personal union since James VI of Scotland became King of England and King of Ireland in 1603 following the death of Elizabeth I, bringing about the "Union of the Crowns". After the accession of George I to the throne of Great Britain in 1714, the kingdom was in a personal union with the Electorate of Hanover.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom (UK), officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but more commonly known as Britain, is a sovereign country lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

House of Hanover German royal dynasty

The House of Hanover, whose members are known as Hanoverians, is a German royal house that ruled Hanover, Great Britain, and Ireland at various times during the 17th through 20th centuries. The house originated in 1635 as a cadet branch of the House of Brunswick-Lüneburg, growing in prestige until Hanover became an Electorate in 1692. George I became the first Hanoverian monarch of Great Britain and Ireland in 1714. At Victoria's death in 1901, the throne of the United Kingdom passed to her eldest son Edward VII, a member of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The last reigning members of the House lost the Duchy of Brunswick in 1918 when Germany became a republic.


During most of the 18th century, the penny was a small silver coin rarely seen in circulation, and that was principally struck to be used for Maundy money or other royal charity. Beginning in 1787, the chronic shortage of good money resulted in the wide circulation of private tokens, including large coppers valued at one penny. In 1797 industrialist Matthew Boulton gained a contract to produce official pennies at his Soho Mint in Birmingham; he struck millions of pennies over the next decade. After that, it was not until 1825 that pennies were struck again for circulation, and the copper penny continued to be issued until 1860.

Conder token

Conder tokens, also known as 18th-century provincial tokens, are a form of privately minted token coinage struck and used during the latter part of the 18th century and the early part of the 19th century in England, Anglesey and Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.

Matthew Boulton English industrialist, business partner of James Watt

Matthew Boulton was an English manufacturer and business partner of Scottish engineer James Watt. In the final quarter of the 18th century, the partnership installed hundreds of Boulton & Watt steam engines, which were a great advance on the state of the art, making possible the mechanisation of factories and mills. Boulton applied modern techniques to the minting of coins, striking millions of pieces for Britain and other countries, and supplying the Royal Mint with up-to-date equipment.

Soho Mint coin and medal mint operated in England by Matthew Boulton

Soho Mint was created by Matthew Boulton in 1788 in his Soho Manufactory in Handsworth, West Midlands, England. A mint was erected at the manufactory containing eight machines, to his own patent design, driven by steam engine, each capable of striking 70 to 84 coins per minute.

By the late 1850s, the state of the copper coinage was deemed unsatisfactory, with quantities of worn oversized pieces, some dating from Boulton's day, still circulating. They were replaced by lighter bronze coins beginning in 1860; the "Bun penny", named for the hairstyle of Queen Victoria on it, was issued from then until 1894. The final years of Victoria's reign saw the "Veiled head" or "Old head" pennies, which were coined from 1895 until her death in 1901.

Queen Victoria British monarch who reigned 1837–1901

Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. On 1 May 1876, she adopted the additional title of Empress of India.

Silver penny (18th century)

At the start of King George I's reign in 1714, the English penny had been struck from silver for about a thousand years. The Hanoverian dynasty in Britain began during the time that Sir Isaac Newton was Master of the Mint. [1] Newton had in 1702 considered the issuance of a copper penny, but no action was taken. [2] Silver at this time came to the Royal Mint only as the by-product of mining for other substances, and from chance deposits and windfalls—the scandal-plagued South Sea Company in 1723 was obliged to send a large quantity of silver bullion to the Mint's premises in the Tower of London. Nevertheless, so little was sent overall that MP John Conduitt, Newton's successor as Master, wrote in 1730 that since December 1701, "no silver has been imported to the Mint but what was forced thither". [1] Only small quantities of silver pennies were struck in the early years of George's reign; it and the silver twopence were unpopular in any case because of their small size. [3]

George I of Great Britain King of Great Britain, Elector of Hanover

George I was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1 August 1714 and ruler of the Duchy and Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) in the Holy Roman Empire from 1698 until his death in 1727.

Penny (English coin) early coin in the Kingdom of England

The English penny, originally a coin of 1.3 to 1.5 grams pure silver, was introduced around the year 785 by King Offa of Mercia. These coins were similar in size and weight to the continental deniers of the period and to the Anglo-Saxon sceats which had preceded it.

Isaac Newton Influential British physicist and mathematician

Sir Isaac Newton was an English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, and author who is widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time, and a key figure in the scientific revolution. His book Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, first published in 1687, laid the foundations of classical mechanics. Newton also made seminal contributions to optics, and shares credit with Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz for developing the infinitesimal calculus.

The change in dynasty did not affect the form of the silver penny—a 12 mm diameter coin weighing 0.5 gram. George's pennies had the inscription GEORGIVS DEI GRA continuing onto the other side with MAG BR FR ET HIB REX [lower-alpha 1] and the date, around the crowned "I". The representation of George was by John Croker or his assistant Samuel Bull; they had designed the busts of William III and of Queen Anne that had appeared on earlier pennies. The Roman numeral I on the coins dated from the reign of James II, and was at first intended to denote the King's initial in Latin (IACOBUS) but was kept a Roman numeral when the twopence, threepence, and fourpence were given Arabic numerals under William III and Mary. Pennies were minted in 1716, 1718, 1720, 1723, 1725, 1726 and 1727, the last of these the date of George's death and of the accession of his son, George II. [4]

John Croker (engraver) engraver

John Croker, born in Saxony and known in his youth as Johann Crocker, was a master jeweller who migrated to London, where he became a medallist and engraved dies for English and later British coins and medals.

William III of England 17th-century Stadtholder, Prince of Orange and King of England, Scotland and Ireland

William III, also widely known as William of Orange, was sovereign Prince of Orange from birth, Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland and Overijssel in the Dutch Republic from 1672 and King of England, Ireland and Scotland from 1689 until his death in 1702. As King of Scotland, he is known as William II. He is sometimes informally known in Northern Ireland and Scotland as "King Billy".

Anne, Queen of Great Britain Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland (1702–07); queen of Great Britain and Ireland (1707–14)

Anne was the Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland between 8 March 1702 and 1 May 1707. On 1 May 1707, under the Acts of Union, two of her realms, the kingdoms of England and Scotland, united as a single sovereign state known as Great Britain. She continued to reign as Queen of Great Britain and Ireland until her death in 1714.

The major purpose for the silver penny in the 18th century was as Maundy money. Most silver pennies after 1727 were likely used for that purpose or for other royal largesse; the mintages were enough to provide for this, but not enough for general circulation. In some years, the Maundy money may have been composed entirely of pennies, though there are accounts of the twopence, threepence, and groat being used as well. At times, there were gaps in the dating as enough for several years was struck at once, to be held against need. There were enough silver pennies in circulation that Maundy recipients could spend their gifts. By 1727, the price of silver guaranteed that pennies were struck at a loss. When other regal coins began use of a bust showing George II as an older man in 1740–1743, the penny remained unaltered. Brian Robinson, in his book on the Royal Maundy, suggested that a new bust for a coin issued only in small quantities would not have been worth the 12 weeks' work it would have taken a Mint engraver to create new dies. In any event, between 1727 and 1816, silver cost too much for there to be much coinage of it. [5] George II's pennies had a left-facing bust of him and the inscription GEORGIVS II DEI GRATIA continuing onto the other side with MAG BRI FR ET HIB REX [lower-alpha 2] and the date around the crowned "I". Pennies were minted in 1729, 1731, 1732, 1735, 1737, 1739, 1740, 1743, 1746 and 1750, and between 1752 and 1760. No pennies were issued dated 1733 or 1744, likely because the year in Britain still began on 25 March, and Maundy Thursday did not occur during those twelve-month periods. [6]

Groat (coin) currency unit

The groat is the traditional name of a long-defunct English and Irish silver coin worth four pence, and also a Scottish coin which was originally worth fourpence, with later issues being valued at eightpence and one shilling.

Calendar (New Style) Act 1750 British parliament act of 1750 introducing the Gregorian Calendar in Great Britain and possessions from September 1752

The Calendar Act 1750 (c.23) was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain. The Act had two parts: first, it reformed the calendar of England and the British Dominions so that the new legal year began on 1 January rather than 25 March ; and, second, Great Britain and its Dominions adopted the Gregorian calendar, as already used in most of western Europe.

Maundy Thursday Christian holiday commemorating the Last Supper

Maundy Thursday is the Christian holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter. It commemorates the foot washing (Maundy) and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles, as described in the canonical gospels. It is the fifth day of Holy Week, preceded by Holy Wednesday and followed by Good Friday. "Maun-" is from Old Norse, present of munu meaning shall or will; akin to Old English gemynd meaning mind.

Set of Maundy money dated 1800, including the silver penny (top) George III Maundy 1800 722666.jpg
Set of Maundy money dated 1800, including the silver penny (top)

Into the reign of King George III (1760–1820), the silver penny continued to be used mostly as a Maundy piece. Pennies similar to those of previous reigns, but bearing George III's head and the inscription GEORGIVS III DEI GRATIA, [lower-alpha 3] were struck in 1763, 1766, 1770, 1772, 1776, 1779, 1780, 1781, 1784 and 1786. A new bust of the King was introduced to the penny in 1792, and was struck dated that year, 1795, and 1800. The third, laureated bust of the king with an unchanged obverse inscription was on the silver penny in 1817, 1818 and 1820. George III's first reverse, used until 1780, showed the crowned "I" in high relief, with the inscription MAG BRI FR ET HIB REX. [lower-alpha 4] A modification was made in 1781, with the relief of the central "I" on the reverse lowered, likely because part of the outline of the I had been visible on the King's head on the other side of the coin. This second reverse, used until 1786, was similar but in lower relief, the "I" being much flatter; the third reverse, used in 1792 only, was completely redesigned with a much smaller "I" under a smaller crown with the inscription running around the crown, with the same legend as before. The fourth reverse, used in 1795 and 1800 was similar to the first but with a redesigned crown. The fifth reverse, used from 1817, showed the crowned "I" with the inscription BRITANNIARUM REX FID DEF [lower-alpha 5] and the date. From 1817, the diameter of the coin was reduced from 12 to 11 millimetres, although the weight remained the same at .5 grams. [7]

Copper penny (1797–1860)

Soho issues (1797–1807)

With little silver coined in the second half of the 18th century, the burden of small change fell on the copper coinage, of which the highest denomination before 1797 was the halfpenny. Many official halfpennies were melted down clandestinely and lightweight counterfeits made with the copper. In 1787, the Mint found that at most eight percent of "halfpennies" in circulation were genuine. A withdrawal of the existing copper coinage was deemed impractical due to transport difficulties. [8] The Government would not accept copper coinage for taxes, and the small merchants who accumulated large stocks of real and dubious copper coin sought relief. Areas of the country not near the capital were sometimes short of coppers, since new issues could only be purchased at the Mint's office at the Tower of London, in packets of 5 or 10 shillings. The small change shortage made it difficult, by the late 1780s, for employers to pay workers. [9]

These penny (centre) and halfpenny tokens circulated during the coinage emergencies of the late 18th and early 19th century. Conder tokens.jpg
These penny (centre) and halfpenny tokens circulated during the coinage emergencies of the late 18th and early 19th century.

The gap was filled, beginning in 1787, by private minters and companies, who issued copper halfpenny and penny tokens. Although not money in a legal sense, they served that purpose, and rapidly spread across the country. [10] Many of the manufacturers of these tokens were found in Birmingham, where industrialist Matthew Boulton struck large numbers of tokens and also constructed the Soho Mint, the first to be powered by steam. He aggressively lobbied for a contract to strike official copper coins. [11] [12] In 1797, the government gave Boulton a contract to strike 480 tonnes of copper pennies and 20 tonnes of copper twopences. The first official British coins of those denominations to be made of copper, they were also the first official British coins to be struck by steam rather than by muscle power. [13]

The large size of the coins, combined with the thick rim where the inscription was incuse (i.e. punched into the metal rather than raised from it), led to the coins being nicknamed "cartwheels". The design was by Boulton's employee Conrad Küchler. The obverse of the cartwheel coinage is a laureated right-facing bust of George III, with the inscription GEORGIUS III D G REX, [lower-alpha 6] while the reverse showed Britannia seated on a rock, facing left, holding an olive branch and trident with the inscription BRITANNIA 1797. [14] Although Britannia had long appeared on the halfpenny and farthing, the 1797 coinage was the first time she was depicted ruling the waves, an allegory for Britain's status as a maritime power. [15] The word SOHO may be seen in fine print on the face of the rock just below the shield. Boulton's pennies and twopences were meant to contain their face value in copper, i.e. they weighed one and two ounces each (penny 28.3 grams, diameter 36 millimetres). In English measure, the penny was just over 1.4 inches in diameter, so that 17 pennies side by side would measure two feet. Boulton obtained a copy of the Royal Society's standard foot to get the measurement right. [14] Even though pennies were struck first, reserving the twopences for later, the existing Soho Mint had trouble stamping such large pieces of copper, and Boulton built a new mint at Soho, where by 1799, each press was striking 60 pennies a minute. The 1,250 tonnes of "cartwheels" struck at Soho between 1797 and 1799 (all pieces were dated 1797) exceeded the total copper coinage by the Royal Mint in the 18th century. [16]

Boulton-produced 1797 "cartwheel" (twopence shown) Cartwheelrev.jpg
Boulton-produced 1797 "cartwheel" (twopence shown)

Boulton was given a further contract in 1799, but only halfpennies and farthings were struck then. In 1805, Boulton gained another contract. By then, the price of copper had risen; in 1797, a pound of copper had coined 16 pence of coins, and in 1799 that amount of metal had made 18 pence-worth, but it took 24 of the 1806 pennies to weigh a pound. [17] The pennies were issued dated 1806 or 1807; they weigh 18.9 grams (23 ounces) and measure 34 millimetres (one-and-a-third inches) in diameter. These were more conventionally designed, also by Küchler, with a right-facing bust of the King and the same inscription as on the obverse of 1797 pennies. The reverse shows the seated Britannia facing left, with olive branch and trident and the inscription BRITANNIA. There is one unique penny coin known which is dated 1808, but this is thought to have been a proof. A total of 150 tonnes of copper were used to make the 1806 and 1807 pennies. [18]

Regal issues (1825–1860)

Finding its premises at the Tower of London too cramped and unsuited to the new technology, the Mint moved to a new building on Tower Hill, and first struck coins there (for the East India Company) in 1811. The coinage was made by steam power, with equipment supplied by Boulton's firm. [19] At the beginning of the Great Recoinage of 1816, only gold and silver coins were produced; the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nicholas Vansittart, deemed there to be enough official coppers in commerce to serve. [20] Thus, it was not until after the death of George III in 1820 and the accession of his son George IV [2] that the copper coinage was recommenced. Coinage of pennies and halfpennies resumed in 1825 after the first farthings of the new reign were minted in 1821. [21] The new pennies were authorised by an Order in Council of 14 November 1825, and were made current by a proclamation of 30 January 1826. [22] George IV's pennies were struck in only three years (1825, 1826, 1827) [23] and most of the final year's mintage is believed to have been sent to Tasmania. [24]

1831 William IV penny 1831 William IV penny.jpeg
1831 William IV penny

The obverse of George IV's pennies shows a left-facing laureated head engraved by William Wyon. This was the second portrait of George IV, and was adopted after the King expressed a dislike for the one engraved by Benedetto Pistrucci, which was never used on the penny. The penny is inscribed GEORGIUS IV DEI GRATIA [lower-alpha 7] and the date, while the reverse shows a right-facing seated Britannia with a shield and trident, inscribed BRITANNIAR REX FID DEF. [lower-alpha 8] The penny at this time weighed 18.8 grams and had a diameter of 34 millimetres, the same as Boulton's 1806–1807 pennies. [18]

The pennies of King William IV (18301837) are similar to those of his predecessor, also being engraved by William Wyon, based on a model by Sir Francis Chantrey. King William's head faces right, with the obverse inscribed GULIELMUS IIII DEI GRATIA, [lower-alpha 9] while the reverse is identical to the George IV penny. Pennies were minted in 1831, 1834 and 1837. An 1836 penny has been reported but not confirmed. [23]

The pennies of Queen Victoria (1837–1901) form one of the most intricate denominations of British coinage, both before and after the transition from copper to bronze pennies in 1860. A number of specialist books have been published on the many varieties of Victorian pennies. The final years of the copper penny, from 1839 to 1860, saw a portrait of the Queen by William Wyon, usually dubbed the "Young Head". It had a reverse largely unchanged from King William's but for changing an X to a G, thus REX became REG, short for Regina (queen), denoting the fact that the monarch was now a woman. Thus, the legend on Victorian copper pennies was VICTORIA DEI GRATIA/BRITANNIAR REG FID DEF. [lower-alpha 10] Copper pennies were issued for all years between 1839 and 1860 except 1840, 1842, 1850, and 1852. [25] The Heaton Mint, of Birmingham, had been founded with equipment from the wound-up Soho Mint. Beginning in the early 1850s, it supplied large quantities of blanks for pennies to the Royal Mint, and at times was called upon to strike pennies, though its mint mark H would not appear on pennies until 1874. [26] [27] These contracts were because of the needs of Ireland (where counterfeits and tokens were common) and the colonies; the large quantities struck between 1797 and 1807 by Boulton ensured there were no shortages in England, Scotland and Wales. [28]

Bronze penny (from 1860)

By 1857, both the Royal Mint and the public were dissatisfied by the state of the copper coinage. Much of it was worn or defaced by advertisements, and 14 percent of the pennies in commerce were Boulton's 1797 cartwheels. The fact that pennies of different specifications circulated side by side precluded the weighing of quantities of copper coin to ascertain the value. Both sorts of pennies were deemed too heavy for daily use. The copper coins were so heavy that Charles Dickens in Nicholas Nickleby had Mr Mantalini contemplate suicide by drowning himself in the Thames, his pockets filled with halfpennies. [29] [30]

Thomas Graham, the Master of the Mint, in 1859 persuaded William Gladstone, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the state of the copper currency demanded a lighter, more durable replacement. Bronze was selected as harder and less subject to oxidation. It was a material with which the Mint had experience, having recently struck bronze coins for the Canadian colonies, [31] and it had been used in France since 1852. [32] Parliament passed legislation in 1860 that allowed the penny to be struck from an alloy of metals. [30] The act required that Britannia appear on the coin, as the design was felt to symbolise Britain as ruler of the waves, and to omit her would be seen as abandoning that role. [33] The Mint in 1860 awarded a contract for 1,720 tonnes of bronze pennies, halfpennies and farthings to James Watt & Co of Birmingham, a contract that would not be completed until 1863. Heaton's was also called upon to supply dies and coins, especially as Watt's prepared to execute its huge contract. [34]

The 'Bun Head' penny GREAT BRITAIN, VICTORIA 1866 -ONE PENNY b - Flickr - woody1778a.jpg
The 'Bun Head' penny

Although there were calls for a public competition, William Wyon's son, Leonard Charles Wyon was chosen to execute the new design. Both the Queen and Prince Albert took a keen interest in the work, and repeated visits by Wyon to Buckingham Palace and Osborne House were necessary before Victoria gave her approval. [35] There is a tale that the Queen returned the penny sent her for final approval by post, but a postman opened the parcel, throwing away the coin in disgust when he realised all that was inside was a penny. [36] The new bronze pieces were made current by a proclamation dated 17 December 1860, [37] [38] and public reaction was positive, both for Wyon's designs and for the weight, which had been halved. [35] The new coins were widely distributed through post offices, and in 1861, the Mint began the recall of the old copper pieces, paying a small premium and for the transport. The old copper coins soon vanished from towns; progress in rural areas was more gradual. [35] The pre-1860 copper penny was demonetised after 1869 in Britain (though accepted at full face value by the Mint until 1873) and in 1877 for the colonies. [39]

The obverse of the new penny read VICTORIA D G BRITT REG F D. [lower-alpha 11] The Mint had intended to render it with the abbreviation BRIT, and some after the coins' release argued it should have done, but Gladstone had intervened to invoke the rule that the last letter of a Latin abbreviation should be doubled to indicate the plural. [40] The coin is dubbed the "Bun Head penny" or "Bun penny" for the Queen's hairstyle. [41] The reverse depicts Britannia, wearing flowing robes, a breastplate and helmet, and grasping a trident. Her right hand grips a shield, on which is seen the combined crosses of the Union Jack. A ship sails out to sea on her right, and a lighthouse, supposedly the old Eddystone Lighthouse, is seen behind her on her left. [42] The denomination, ONE PENNY, appears for the first time on the base-metal piece. [43]

There are many varieties of the Bun penny, as several non-identical dies were prepared (especially in 1860) the design was tweaked a number of times over its 35 years, and the dies were sometimes used in different combinations. [44] The 2017 edition of Spink & Son's Coins of England & the United Kingdom chronicles 13 obverses, 14 reverses and a large number of die combinations. Differences include the number of leaves on Victoria's wreath and whether the border is beaded or toothed. [45] An "H" below the date on 1874, 1875, 1876, 1881 and 1882 pennies indicates that the coin was produced at Heaton's in Birmingham. [46] When production at the Royal Mint was stopped for a complete reconstruction in 1882, Heaton's, pursuant to contract, produced 50 tonnes of pennies, halfpennies and farthings. [47] Pennies of the Bun type were issued in all years between 1860 and 1894. [48]

Thomas Brock's "Old head" of Victoria (sovereign shown) Victoria Old head.jpg
Thomas Brock's "Old head" of Victoria (sovereign shown)

Joseph Edgar Boehm's "Jubilee head" of the Queen was placed on the gold and silver coinage in 1887 but was not adopted for the bronze, with the Bun head continuing. Boehm's rendering proved unpopular, and in 1893 was replaced with the "Veiled head" or "Old head", by Thomas Brock, and engraved by Chief Engraver of the Royal Mint George William de Saulles. The new penny design was introduced in 1895, [49] the new version being authorised by a proclamation dated 11 May of that year. Victoria is seen as an elderly woman, wearing a diadem partially eclipsed by a veil. She wears a necklace with a pendant, an earring, and the Garter Riband with Star. The inscription became VICTORIA DEI GRA BRITT REGINA FID DEF IND IMP, [lower-alpha 12] as the title of Empress of India had been added to the Queen's titles in 1876. The reverse was modified by de Saulles, with the most significant change the deletion of the ship and lighthouse. [50] The new design was struck each year from 1895 to 1901, the year in which Victoria died. [51] Coins depicting her and dated 1901 continued to be struck until King Edward VII's coinage was ready in May 1902. [52]


Total mintage by date and mint mark. "H" is for Heaton Mint, Birmingham. [53]

King George IV 1820–1830

Laureate Bust

King William IV 1830–1837

Laureate Bust

Queen Victoria 1837–1901


Young Bust (W.W. on truncation)

Young Bust


Laureate and Draped Bust – 'L.C.Wyon' (Beaded border)

Laureate and Draped Bust – 'L.C.Wyon' (Toothed border)

Laureate and Draped Bust (Toothed border)

Veiled Bust


  1. Georgius Dei Gratia/Magnae Britanniae Franciae et Hiberniae Rex, or George by the Grace of God/King of Great Britain, France and Ireland. The British throne's claim to France was at this point purely historic.
  2. Georgius II Dei Gratia/Magnae Britanniae Franciae et Hiberniae Rex, or George II by the Grace of God/King of Great Britain, France and Ireland
  3. George III by the Grace of God ...
  4. ... Magnae Britanniae Franciae et Hiberniae Rex, or King of Great Britain, France and Ireland
  5. Britanniarum Rex Fidei Defensor, or ... King of the British Territories, Defender of the Faith
  6. Georgius III Dei Gratia Rex, or George III, by the Grace of God King
  7. George IV by the Grace of God ...
  8. ... Britanniar Rex Fidei Defensor, or King of the British Territories, Defender of the Faith
  9. William IV by the Grace of God ...
  10. Victoria Dei Gratia/Britanniar Regina Fidei Defensor, or Victoria, by the Grace of God/Queen of the British Territories, Defender of the Faith
  11. Victoria Dei Gratia Britanniarum Regina Fidei Defensor, or Victoria by the Grace of God Queen of the Britains, Defender of the Faith
  12. Victoria Dei Gratia Britanniarum Regina Fidei Defensor Indiae Imperatrix, or Victoria, by the Grace of God Queen of the Britains, Defender of the Faith, Empress of India


  1. 1 2 Craig, pp. 211–214.
  2. 1 2 Lobel, p. 583.
  3. Craig, p. 219.
  4. Lobel, pp. 579–580.
  5. Robinson, pp. 113–121.
  6. Lobel, pp. 580–581.
  7. Lobel, p. 581.
  8. Craig, pp. 251–253.
  9. Selgin, pp. 22–25.
  10. Selgin, pp. 41–45.
  11. Doty, pp. 27–30.
  12. Selgin, pp. 72–73.
  13. Selgin, pp. 162–163.
  14. 1 2 Selgin, pp. 163–164.
  15. Clay, p. 53.
  16. Selgin, pp. 163–166, 178, 189.
  17. Seaby, p. 149.
  18. 1 2 Lobel, pp. 583–584.
  19. Dyer & Gaspar, pp. 455–459.
  20. Selgin, p. 266.
  21. Dyer & Gaspar, p. 488.
  22. Peck, p. 394.
  23. 1 2 Lobel, p. 584.
  24. Crellin, Andrew. "The 1827 Penny From Great Britain - Unique in the Australian Colonial Series". Sterling & Currency. Archived from the original on 2017-08-06. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  25. Lobel, pp. 584–586.
  26. Lobel, pp. 585–587.
  27. Dyer & Gaspar, p. 503.
  28. Dyer & Gaspar, pp. 508–509.
  29. Dyer & Gaspar, p. 509.
  30. 1 2 Linecar, p. 108.
  31. Dyer & Gaspar, pp. 509–510.
  32. Josset, p. 132.
  33. Linecar, pp. 108–109.
  34. Dyer & Gaspar, p. 510.
  35. 1 2 3 Dyer & Gaspar, pp. 510–511.
  36. Josset, p. 133.
  37. Peck, p. 418.
  38. Linecar, p. 109.
  39. Craig, p. 325.
  40. Dyer & Gaspar, p. 511.
  41. Freeman, p. 21.
  42. Peck, p. 419.
  43. Lobel, pp. 583–586.
  44. Peck, pp. 416–418.
  45. Spink, pp. 484–489.
  46. Spink, p. 489.
  47. Dyer & Gaspar, p. 525.
  48. Spink, pp. 488–489.
  49. Seaby, pp. 157–160.
  50. Peck, pp. 446–447.
  51. Spink, p. 491.
  52. Skellern, p. 36.
  53. Lobel, pp. 586–587, 681.

Related Research Articles

Coins of the pound sterling Wikimedia list article

The standard circulating coinage of the United Kingdom is denominated in pounds sterling, and, since the introduction of the two-pound coin in 1994, ranges in value from one penny to two pounds. Since decimalisation, on 15 February 1971, the pound has been divided into 100 (new) pence. From the 16th century until decimalisation, the pound was divided into 20 shillings, each of 12 (old) pence. British coins are minted by the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Wales. The Royal Mint also commissions the coins' designs.

Half farthing

The British half farthing coin, usually simply known as a half farthing, was a unit of currency equaling 1/1,920 of a pound sterling, or one eighth of a penny. It was minted in copper for use in Ceylon, but in 1842 they were 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.

The third farthing was a British coin which was produced in various years between 1827 and 1913.

The History of the English penny from 1485 to 1603 covers the period of the Tudor dynasty.

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.

History of the British penny (1901–1970)

The British penny, a large, pre-decimal coin continuing the series of pennies that began about the year 700, was struck intermittently during the 20th century until its withdrawal after 1970. Throughout the period 1901 to 1970, the obverse of the bronze coin depicted the monarch who was reigning at the start of the year. The reverse featured an image of Britannia seated with shield, trident, and helm, originally created by Leonard Charles Wyon and based on an earlier design for the penny by his father William Wyon. The coins also were used in dominions and British colonies that had not issued their own coins.

Florin (British coin) British coin issued from 1849 until 1967

The British florin, or two shilling coin, was issued from 1849 until 1967, with a final issue for collectors dated 1970. Valued at one tenth of a pound, 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.

Halfpenny (British pre-decimal coin) British pre-decimal coin

The British pre-decimal halfpenny coin, usually simply known as a halfpenny, historically occasionally also as the obol, was a unit of currency that equalled half of a penny or ​1480 of a pound sterling. Originally the halfpenny was minted in copper, but after 1860 it was minted in bronze. It ceased to be legal tender in 1969, in the run-up to decimalisation. 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.

Farthing (British coin) official currency of the United Kingdom and other territories

The British farthing coin, from "fourthing", was a unit of currency of one quarter of a penny, or ​1960 of a pound sterling. It was minted in bronze, and replaced the earlier copper farthings. It was used during the reign of six monarchs: Victoria, Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII, George VI and Elizabeth II, ceasing to be legal tender in 1960. It featured two different designs on its reverse during its 100 years in circulation: from 1860 until 1936, the image of Britannia; and from 1937 onwards, the image of a wren. Like all British coinage, it bore the portrait of the monarch on the obverse.

Threepence (British coin)

The British threepence (3d) coin, usually simply known as a threepence or threepenny bit, was a unit of currency equaling one eightieth of a pound sterling, or three old pence sterling. It was used in the United Kingdom, and earlier in Great Britain and England. Similar denominations were later used throughout the British Empire, notably in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

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 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.

Canadian coinage is the coinage of Canada, produced by the Royal Canadian Mint and denominated in Canadian dollars ($) and the subunit of dollars, cents (¢). An effigy of the reigning monarch always appears on the obverse of all coins. There are standard images which appear on the reverse, but there are also commemorative and numismatic issues with different images on the reverse.

History of the halfpenny

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.

Penny (British pre-decimal coin) British pre-decimal coin worth 1/240th of a pound sterling

The pre-decimal penny (1d) was a coin worth 1/240 of a pound sterling. Its symbol was d, from the Roman denarius. It was a continuation of the earlier English penny, and in Scotland it had the same monetary value as one pre-1707 Scottish shilling. The penny was originally minted in silver, but from the late 18th century it was minted in copper, and then after 1860 in bronze.

Farthing (English coin)

A farthing was a coin of the Kingdom of England worth one quarter of a penny, ​1960 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.

Twopence (British pre-decimal coin) coin worth one one-hundred-and-twentieth of a pound sterling

The pre-decimal twopence (2d) was a coin worth one one-hundred-and-twentieth of a pound sterling, or two pence. It was a short-lived denomination, only being minted in 1797 by Matthew Boulton's Soho Mint.