Latest news and updates on British numismatic - Coins, banknotes, tokens
February 25, 2024
From 1672 until 1936 the image of Britannia appeared on the reverse of the half penny. In 1717 a new contract was signed and a Royal Warrant issued for the production of a new halfpenny. The halfpennies struck in 1717 and 1718 looked slightly odd as they were smaller, thicker and somewhat lighter than the previous issues. George III halfpennies were produced with three distinct coins.
February 23, 2024
This alphabetical listing is confined to inscriptions, mainly in the form of mottoes or of a commemorative nature. Names of rulers are, for the most part, excluded. Where the inscription is in a language other than English a translation is given, followed by the name of the issuing country or authority.
February 20, 2024
The 3 Pence role changed in 1845, when it began to be issued in large numbers for general circulation. This further attempt to popularise the coin proved successful, no doubt in part because of the large and inconvenient size of the copper coinage.
February 15, 2024
Some silver and gold coins struck, by William Chetwynd, the Mint Master at the time, between the years 1745 and 1746 bear a LIMA mint mark under the bust.
February 15, 2024
By 1751 the popularity of the silver crown had declined and it evidently played a limited role in circulation.
February 11, 2024
Little is known of the medieval silver farthing, for few remain. As the smallest denomination, it was rarely hoarded - in fact silver farthings have never been found in large hoards - and since it contained a quarter-penny's worth of silver it was also extremely small, therefore easily lost. Besides, farthings were not produced in anything like the quantities of the penny and halfpenny because, although they were useful to ordinary people, they were not so much used by the wealthy and powerful; and because, for the moneyers, they yielded the least profit of any denomination.
February 10, 2024
Like the crown, the half-crown was introduced as a gold coin during the reign of Henry VIII and, also like the crown, under Edward VI in the year 1551 it was issued as a silver coin. The issue of gold half-crowns ceased in the 17th century, but the silver half-crown continued in circulation.
February 8, 2024
The immediate origins of both the image and legend of St George the Dragon Slayer on the Sovereign lie in Near Eastern survivals of Graeco-Roman culture where the hero/victor image of a mounted lancer was widely used on coins and reliefs and was also employed as an imperial sign of power. By the thirteenth century St George the Dragon Slayer had gained the red cross of a crusader as part of his iconography and represented the victory of good over evil.
February 6, 2024
All 2 pence coins struck between 1971 and 1981 included the words New Pence as part of their reverse. In 1982 and in subsequent years, the words New Pence were replaced with the words Two Pence. However, in 1983, a small number of 2 pence coins were mistakenly struck with the wording New Pence on the reverse and were included in special sets intended for collectors.
February 5, 2024
Both gold and silver crowns were struck concurrently until early in the reign of Charles II, when minting of the gold crown ceased. Silver crowns adhered to the long-standing Sterling Silver standard of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper, established in the 12th century by Henry II. The crown was first issued during the reign of Edward VI, as part of the coinage of the Kingdom of England.
February 2, 2024
The first Sovereign was authorised by Henry VII in 1489, but was different in size and weight. Almost half the weight and diameter of the original Sovereign, the new gold coin of 1817 more than matched its predecessor in the beauty of its design. The traditional heraldic reverse was abandoned in favour of a St George and the dragon of classic beauty by the Italian engraver Benedetto Pistrucci. The design combined of the new Sovereign set it apart from every gold coin that had gone before and it may be difficult to understand why, in 1825, it was dropped in preference of a more conventional royal arms. It was revived in 1871.
January 31, 2024
The 5 Guinea was the largest regularly produced gold coin in Britain. George I's 5 Guinea coins were only struck in 1716, 1717, 1720, and 1726, and they bear his abbreviated Hanoverian titles in addition to the usual British, French, and Irish title. George II's 5 Guinea pieces mark the last of the denomination. Some of the 1729 coins bear the initials EIC under the king's head, indicating the gold was supplied by the East India Company, while the 1746 coins have LIMA under the head, indicating the gold was obtained during Admiral Anson's circumnavigation of the world.
January 29, 2024
Before the Royal Arms, the reverse design on the penny was a crowned portcullis, heavy castle gate made of metal strips that form a grid often found in medieval fortifications, surrounded by chains was chosen. The first copper-plated steel 1p coins were struck in 1992. The reason for this change was the increase in the price of metals on the world markets. The coins have a mild steel core and are electroplated with copper - consequently, they are magnetic.
January 27, 2024
The half sovereign British gold coin was first issued in 1817 (proclaimed legal tender on October 10th) and became the smallest gold coin in regular use. Once war began in 1914, paper currency of ten shillings were quickly issued to take the place of the half sovereign. In 1915, the last circulating ones were minted. Although it no longer circulated, the sovereign had been issued as a bullion coin beginning in 1957, and with special-quality proof coins issued from 1979.
January 25, 2024
The British decimal halfpenny coin was introduced in February 1971, but ignored in banking transactions. It became Britain's least favourite coin. The coin was demonetised and withdrawn from circulation in December 1984, even if The Treasury argued that this denomination was important against inflation, as it prevented prices from being rounded up. The design on the reverse of the coin is a representation of St Edward's Crown.
January 24, 2024
The Elephant and Castle symbol comes from the emblem of the Royal African Company in Africa. It was founded, as The Company of Royal Adventurers Trading to Africa after Charles II ascended to the throne in 1660.
January 22, 2024
The British silver crown was always a large coin, and from the 19th century it did not circulate well. However, crowns were usually struck in a new monarch's coronation year, from George IV through Elizabeth II in 1953, with the exceptions of George V and Edward VIII. The 1953 crown was issued to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, while the 1960 issue (which carried the same reverse design as the previous crown in 1953) commemorated the British Exhibition in New York. The 1965 issue carried the image of Winston Churchill on the reverse.
January 20, 2024
Find the market price of british coins, based on auctions sales of certified coins from different auctioneers and online auctions.
January 19, 2024
From 1717 to 1807, the farthing featured the figure of Britannia on reverse. A British copper farthing succeeded the English farthing after England and Scotland were united into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. Some British copper farthings were struck in the reigns of George I and George II. By the accession of George III, in 1760, many counterfeits were in circulation, and the Royal Mint stopped minting copper coins in 1775. The next farthings were the first struck by steam power, in 1799 by Matthew Boulton at his Soho Mint, under licence. Boulton coined more in 1806
January 18, 2024
On the 1 March 1966, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, James Callaghan announced that the old £sd system would be replaced by a decimal currency in which the pound was to be divided into one hundred units. The half crown was demonetised on 1 January 1970, the year before the United Kingdom adopted decimal currency on Decimal Day. In the 20th century a slang term for the coin was half-a-dollar.
January 17, 2024
The multiple obverses on British coins might be hard to identify or remember especially for new collectors. This comparison tool will assist you through the major recognized Anne's busts on shilling through key design elements.
January 15, 2024
From 1816, in the reign of George III, half crown British sterling silver coins had a diameter of 32.31 mm and a weight of 14.14 g, dimensions which remained the same for the half crown until decimalisation in 1971. Several (4) sovereigns were active during this period and the portraits changed at multiple occasions. The reverses always shows English lions passant (first and fourth quarters), a Scottish lion rampant (second quarter) and an Ireland harp (third quarter).
January 13, 2024
Coins struck from the treasures found after the battle bore the word VIGO below Anne's bust and are rare and valuable. It was mostly use as a tool of propaganda and was included in a campaign to add reputation to the Queen. Denominations with VIGO under the bust include: Half Guineas, Guineas, Two Guineas, Five Guineas, Crowns, Halfcrowns, Shillings and Sixpences. Silver VIGO coinage is not rare but is sought-after.
January 10, 2024
The florin was issued continuously in Britain from 1851 until 1967 when the introduction of decimal currency saw it replaced by a 10 new pence coin. Both sides of the florin were redesigned several times between 1901 and 1967 and four different sovereigns appeared on them: Edward VII (1901-1910), George V (1910-1936), Edward VIII (1936), George VI (1936-1952) and Elizabeth II (1953-1967). No coins depicting Edward VIII were officially released to circulation. A pattern florin exists.
January 8, 2024
Before decimalisation, a pound equalled 20 shillings and each shilling was worth 12 pence. Working with a base unit of 12 made calculations quite difficult. Decimalisation began on February 15, 1971 (decimal day). At the time, most countries around the world had decimal-based currencies. Since, the pound has been divided into 100 (new) pence. For the new denominations, the Royal Mint also commissions the coins' designs.