|Value||1/ pound sterling|
|Mass||56.7 g (2 oz)|
|Diameter||41 mm (1.6 in)|
|Years of minting||1797|
|Mint marks||SOHO, below and to the right of Britannia.|
|Design||Profile of George III|
|Designer||Conrad Heinrich Küchler|
|Designer||Conrad Heinrich Küchler|
The pre-decimal twopence (2d) ( // or // ) was a coin worth one one-hundred-and-twentieth of a pound sterling, or two pence. It was a short-lived denomination in copper, being minted in only 1797 by Matthew Boulton's Soho Mint.
These coins were made legal tender for amounts of up to one shilling by a proclamation of 26 July 1797.Short-lived twopence coins in silver were also minted in 1817, 1818 and 1820. Twopence coins were made redundant in 1860 with the advent of bronze coinage.
The minting of silver pennies for general circulation was halted by the British government in 1660, because the cost of silver had risen too high.By the late 1700s this policy had caused a deficiency in the number of circulating pennies, and many merchants and mining companies had taken to issuing their own copper tokens. For example, the Parys Mining Company on Anglesey issued huge numbers of tokens (although their acceptability was limited).
To alleviate this coin shortage, in 1797, the government authorised Matthew Boulton to strike copper pennies and twopences at his Soho Mint, in Birmingham.As it was a requirement that a coin's face value should correspond to the value of the base metal, each was made from two pence worth of copper (2 ounces), making the coins significantly larger than earlier pennies which had been struck in silver. Their large size, combined with the thick rim, led to the nickname "cartwheels". All "cartwheel" twopences are marked with the date 1797. In total, around 720,000 such coins were minted.
By 1802, the production of privately issued provincial tokens had ceased.However, in the next ten years the intrinsic value of copper rose. The return of privately minted token coinage was evident by 1811, and became endemic by 1812 as more and more of the Government-issued copper coinage was melted down for trade. The Royal Mint undertook a massive recoinage programme in 1816, with large quantities of gold and silver coin being minted. To thwart the further issuance of private tokens, in 1817 an Act of Parliament was passed which forbade their manufacture under severe penalties.
A short-lived twopence denomination in silver was also produced, with circulation issues in 1817, 1818 and 1820,after which silver twopence coins were issued only as Maundy money.
In 1857, a survey by the Royal Mint found that around one-third of all copper coinage had become worn or mutilated, often by advertisements. A couple of years later Thomas Graham, the Master of the Mint, convinced William Ewart Gladstone, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, that so large a proportion of copper coinage must be taken out of circulation that it was worth introducing an entirely new coinage which would be "much more convenient and agreeable in use".New bronze coins were introduced in 1860, with a face value that was no longer required to match the value of the base metal. A year later withdrawal of the old copper coinage began.
The 1797 coin was minted in copper, with a weight of 2 oz (56.7 g) and a diameter of 1.6 in (41 mm). The obverse features a right-facing portrait of George III, and incused into the rim are the words GEORGIUS III·D·G·REX. The initial K appears on the lowest fold of the drapery at the base of the effigy, indicating that the design is the work of the German engraver Conrad Heinrich Küchler. The reverse, also designed by Kuchler, shows a left-facing seated figure of Britannia, with a trident held loosely in her left hand, and an olive branch in her outstretched right. There are waves about her feet, with a small ship to the left and a Union Jack shield below and to the right. On the upper part of the rim is incused the word BRITANNIA, and on the lower part the date 1797. The word SOHO appears next to the shield, indicating that the coin came from the Soho Mint.
The standard circulating coinage of the United Kingdom, British Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories 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. Before decimalisation, twelve pence made a shilling, and twenty shillings made a pound. British coins are minted by the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Wales. The Royal Mint also commissions the coins' designs.
A penny is a coin or a unit of currency in various countries. Borrowed from the Carolingian denarius, it is usually the smallest denomination within a currency system. Presently, it is the formal name of the British penny (abbr. p) and the informal name of the American one cent coin (abbr. ¢) as well as the informal Irish designation of the 1 cent euro coin (abbr. c). It is the informal name of the cent unit of account in Canada, although one cent coins are no longer minted there. The name is also used in reference to various historical currencies also derived from the Carolingian system, such as the French denier and the German pfennig. It may also be informally used to refer to any similar smallest-denomination coin, such as the euro cent or Chinese fen.
The British decimal two pence (2p) coin – often informally pronounced too pee – is a unit of currency equalling 2/100ths of a pound sterling. Its obverse has featured the profile of Queen Elizabeth II since the coin's introduction on 15 February 1971, the year British currency was decimalised. Four different portraits of the Queen have been used on the coin, with the latest design by Jody Clark being introduced in 2015. The second and current reverse, featuring a segment of the Royal Shield, was introduced in 2008.
The British decimal halfpenny coin was introduced in February 1971, at the time of decimalisation, and was worth one two-hundredth of a pound sterling. It was ignored in banking transactions, which were carried out in units of 1p.
The British half farthing was a coin valued at 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 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.
The British quarter farthing coin was a unit of currency equaling one sixteenth of a pre-decimal penny. 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 pound sterling coin ever minted. The coin is considered to be part of British coinage because it has no indication of what country it was minted for, being made in the same style as the contemporary half-farthing which was legal tender in Britain between 1842 and 1869.
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.
The British threepence (3d) coin, usually simply known as a threepence, thruppence, or thruppenny 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.
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.
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.
A mint is an industrial facility which manufactures coins that can be used as currency.
The Birmingham Mint, a coining mint, originally known as Heaton's Mint or Ralph Heaton & Sons, in Birmingham, England, started producing tokens and coins in 1850 as a private enterprise, separate from, but in co-operation with the Royal Mint. Its factory was situated in Icknield Street, on the edge of the Jewellery Quarter. It was created by Ralph Heaton II, using second-hand coin presses bought from the estate of Matthew Boulton.
The Manx pound is the currency of the Isle of Man, in parity with the pound sterling. The Manx pound is divided into 100 pence. Notes and coins, denominated in pounds and pence, are issued by the Isle of Man Government.
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 sixpence, sometimes known as a tanner or sixpenny bit, is a coin that was worth one-fortieth of a pound sterling, or six pence. It was first minted in the reign of Edward VI, and circulated until 1980. Following decimalisation in 1971 it had a value of 2 1⁄2 new pence. The coin was made from silver from its introduction in 1551 until 1947, and thereafter in cupronickel.
Conder tokens, also known as 18th-century provincial tokens, were 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.
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 85 coins per minute.
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.
Conrad Heinrich Küchler was a German engraver who from 1793 until his death worked as a designer of coinage and medals for the manufacturer and mint owner Matthew Boulton.