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History of the British penny (1714–1901)

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Title: History of the British penny (1714–1901)  
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Language: English
Subject: History of the English penny (1154–1485), History of the English penny (1066–1154), Cartwheel, Penny (English coin), History of the English penny (c. 600 – 1066)
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History of the British penny (1714–1901)

The History of the Penny of Great Britain and the United Kingdom from 1714 to 1901 covers the period of the House of Hanover.

Contents

  • The Hanoverians (1714–1837) 1
    • Silver pennies 1.1
    • Copper pennies 1.2
    • "Cartwheel" twopence 1.3
  • Victoria 2
  • Mintages 3
    • King George IV 1820-1830 3.1
    • Queen Victoria 1837-1901 3.2
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

The Hanoverians (1714–1837)

Silver pennies

The change in dynasty did not affect the form of the design of the silver penny — a 12 mm diameter coin weighing 0.5 gram, with a right-facing bust of

In 1727 Maundy money.

In the long reign of King MAG BRI FR ET HIB REX date across the crown; the 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 onwards, showed the crowned "I" with the inscription BRITANNIARUM REX FID DEF date. From 1817 onwards, the diameter of the coin was reduced from 14 to 11 millimetres, although the weight remained the same.

By the start of the reign of Maundy money.

Copper pennies

Reverses of (left) a "cartwheel" penny of 1797; (right) a penny of 1967

As can be seen from the minting dates given below, there was a great shortage of government-issued small change in George III's reign. The situation was so bad that a great many merchants and mining companies issued their own Britannia, facing left, holding an olive branch and trident with the inscription BRITANNIA 1797 — although it appears that coins were minted for several years, but all with the 1797 date.

In 1806 and 1807, another 150 tons of copper was coined into pennies at the Soho Mint, although this time the money was a token coinage with each penny only containing 18.9 grams of copper and being 34 millimetres in diameter. These were more conventionally designed coins, with a right facing bust of the king and ordinary inscription GEORGIUS III D G REX date, and the obverse showing 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.

At the beginning of the Great Recoinage of 1816 only silver coins were produced. The copper penny was only minted in three years, 1825–7, and the minting of copper coins in 1825 was only authorised on 14 November of that year. The entire mintage consignment of 1827 pennies was allocated for despatch to Australia for the prison camps (Botany Bay Penal Colony). The shipment of coins (they were held in wooden crates) became badly corroded by salt water with literally only a handful surviving undamaged. Most suffered from corrosion and verdigris. It is because of this that the 1827 copper penny is extremely rare in mint state with only 2 known worldwide despite nearly 1.5 million struck.

The obverse of George IV's penny shows a rather fine left-facing laureated head engraved by William Wyon after the king expressed a dislike for the one engraved by Benedetto Pistrucci which was used on the farthing, inscribed GEORGIUS IV DEI GRATIA date, while the reverse shows a right-facing seated Britannia with a shield and trident, inscribed BRITANNIAR REX FID DEF. The penny at this time weighed 18.8 grams and had a diameter of 34 millimetres.

The pennies of King

  • British Coins - information about British coins (from 1656 to 1952)
  • Royal Mint History of British Coins
  • Collection of copper & bronze pennies

External links

  • Lobel, Richard. Coincraft's Standard Catalogue English & UK Coins 1066 to Date. Coincraft.  
  • Perkins, Chris Henry (2008). Collectors' Coins GB 2008 (35th ed.). Rotographic.  
  • Whitmans Great Britain Pennies collection 1860-1880 and 1881-1901

References

  1. ^ Perkins 2008, p. 41

Notes

Victorian mintages

  • 1895 ~ 5,395,830
  • 1896 ~ 24,147,156
  • 1897 ~ 20,752,620
  • 1898 ~ 14,296,836
  • 1899 ~ 26,441,069
  • 1900 ~ 31,778,109
  • 1901 ~ 22,205,568
  • 1835-1

Veiled Bust

  • 1874 (both types)~ 5,621,865
  • 1874h (both types) ~ 6,666,240
  • 1875 ~ 10,691,040
  • 1875h ~ 752,640
  • 1876h ~ 11,074,560
  • 1877 ~ 9,624,747
  • 1878 ~ 2,764,470
  • 1879 ~ 7,666,476
  • 1880 ~ 3,000,831
  • 1881 ~ 2,302,362
  • 1881h ~ 3,763,200
  • 1882h ~ 7,526,400
  • 1883 ~ 6,327,438
  • 1884 ~ 11,702,802
  • 1885 ~ 7,145,862
  • 1886 ~ 6,087,759
  • 1887 ~ 5,315,085
  • 1888 ~ 5,125,020
  • 1889 ~ 12,559,737
  • 1890 ~ 15,330,840
  • 1891 ~ 17,885,961
  • 1892 ~ 10,501,671
  • 1893 ~ 8,161,737
  • 1894 ~ 3,883,452

Laureate and Draped Older bust

  • 1861 ~ Unknown
  • 1862 ~ 50,534,400
  • 1863 ~ 28,062,700
  • 1864 ~ 3,440,640
  • 1865 ~ 8,601,600
  • 1866 ~ 9,999,360
  • 1867 ~ 5,483,520
  • 1868 ~ 1,182,720
  • 1869 ~ 2,580,480
  • 1870 ~ 5,695,022
  • 1871 ~ 1,290,318
  • 1872 ~ 8,494,572
  • 1873 ~ 8,494,200

Laureate and Draped Bust (Toothed border)

  • 1860 ~ Unknown
  • 1861 ~ 36,449,280

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

  • 1860 ~ 5,053,440

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

  • 1858 ~ 1,559,040
  • 1859 ~ 1,075,200
  • 1860 ~ 32,256

Young Bust

  • 1839 ~ Only in proof
  • 1841 ~ 913,920
  • 1843 ~ 483,830
  • 1844 ~ 215,040
  • 1845 ~ 322,560
  • 1846 ~ 483,840
  • 1847 ~ 430,080
  • 1848 ~ 161,280
  • 1849 ~ 268,800
  • 1851 ~ 432,224
  • 1853 ~ 1,021,440
  • 1854 ~ 6,720,000
  • 1855 ~ 5,273,866
  • 1856 ~ 1,212,288
  • 1857 ~ 752,640

Young Bust (W.W. on truncation)

Queen Victoria 1837-1901

George IV Mintages

  • 1825 ~ 1,075,200
  • 1826 ~ 5,913,000
  • 1827 ~ 1,451,520

Laureate Bust

King George IV 1820-1830

Mintages

For all years from 1895 to 1901 the "Old Head" bust was used, with the inscription VICTORIA DEI GRA BRITT REGINA FID DEF IND IMP, while the reverse was similar to before although the ship was no longer depicted. The first year (1895) had two varieties, one with Britannia holding a trident 1 mm to the left of the letter 'P' in PENNY and the other depicting her holding the trident 2 mm away from the P of 'PENNY' (this variety also has NO sea behind Britannia). The latter is quite rare. The 1897 penny also has two varieties, one of which has the tide level to Britannia's left as high and another, more common, as normal. 1901 pennies were kept back as keepsakes as the Queen died on 22 January that year.

The bronze coinage of 1860 for the first time stated the value of the coin on the reverse. The obverse was mostly unchanged between 1860 and 1894 except for some variations in the border (during 1860 only when it was either toothed or beaded), and whether or not there was an "L.C. Wyon" between the bust and the rim. The inscription read VICTORIA D G BRITT REG F D. The reverse shows a seated Britannia holding a trident with the words ONE PENNY to either side of her, and the date in the exergue beneath her; until 1895 there was a lighthouse to Britannia's left and a ship to her right; variations in the reverse include different levels of the sea around her feet, and an "H" below the date in 1874, 1875 (very rare), 1876, 1881 and 1882 indicated that the coin was produced at Messrs Ralph Heaton's mint in Birmingham. Pennies were produced in all the years between 1860 and 1894.

The first obverse showed the Young Head of the Queen, facing left, with the inscription VICTORIA DEI GRATIA with the date beneath the head; this obverse was used (with a slight alteration in 1858) until the end of the copper penny issue in 1860. Copper pennies were issued for all years between 1839 and 1860 except 1840, 1842, 1850, and 1852. The reverse of the coin for the whole of this period was similar to the William IV issue, with a seated right-facing Britannia holding a trident, except that most years the head of the trident was ornamented; the inscription read BRITANNIAR REG FID DEF.

Just three portraits of the Queen were used on the penny in the whole of her reign: the Young Head (used from 1838 to 1859, with rare copper issues from 1860 - the 60 is struck over 59), designed by William Wyon (who died in 1851), whose eldest son Leonard Charles Wyon (1826–91) designed the bronze coinage of 1860 with the second ("bun") head (1860–1894 with scarce issues of the farthing in 1895), and finally the Old Head (or "veiled head") designed by Thomas Brock which was used on the penny from 1895 to 1901. Unlike the silver coinage, the Jubilee Head was not used on the bronze coins.

Between 1839 and 1860, the penny was made of 18.8 grams of copper and was 34 millimetres in diameter. From 1860 onwards, bronze (an alloy of 95% copper, 4% tin, and 1% zinc) was used instead—the bronze penny weighed 13 ounce (9.4 g) and was 31 millimetres in diameter. This article only mentions the gross differences between different varieties of penny, but a very great number of small differences appeared, especially between 1860 and 1883.

The penny of Queen Victoria (1837–1901) is one of the most intricate denominations of British coinage, with most of the varieties emerging after the switch from copper to bronze coinage in 1860.

Victoria

[1] At the

"Cartwheel" twopence

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