United Kingdom: Coin Type Half Penny - detailed information

United Kingdom: Coin Type Half Penny (issued 1971 - 1984)
Coin TypeHalf Penny

The British decimal half penny (or "halfpenny") coin (½p) was introduced in February 1971, at the time of decimalisation, and was worth one two-hundredth of a pound sterling. Thus it had the rare distinction of being a non-decimal coin in a decimal currency system. It was also ignored in banking transactions, which were carried out in units of 1p.

The decimal half penny had the same value as 1.2 pre-decimal pence, and was introduced to enable the prices of some low-value items to be more accurately translated to the new decimal currency. The possibility of setting prices including an odd half penny also made it more practical to retain the pre-decimal sixpence in circulation (with a value of 2½ new pence) alongside the new decimal coinage.

The half penny coin's obverse featured the profile of Queen Elizabeth II; the reverse featured an image of St Edward's Crown. It was minted in bronze (like the 1p and 2p coins). It was the smallest decimal coin in both size and value. The size was in proportion to the 1p and 2p coins. It soon became Britain's least favourite coin. The Treasury had continued to argue that the half penny was important in the fight against inflation (preventing prices from being rounded up); however in 1984 the halfpenny was issued by the Royal Mint only in mint and proof sets, and the coin was demonetised and withdrawn from circulation in December 1984.

The decimal half penny tended to be pronounced as it is spelled, in contrast to the pre-decimal halfpenny, which was always pronounced "hayp'nny".

During the existence of the denomination, a total of 4,128,833,690 (4.1 billion) half penny coins were issued, counting proofs and coins in mint sets.

Obverse
United Kingdom / Half Penny - obverse photo

Draped bust of Queen Elizabeth II facing right wearing tiara ("Second Portrait", by Arnold Machin); around, ELIZABETH · II D · G · REG · F · D · and the date.

Throughout the existence of the denomination, the only monarch depicted on it was Queen Elizabeth II.

Obverse InscriptionELIZABETH · II D · G · REG · F · D · [year]
Reverse
United Kingdom / Half Penny - reverse photo

A representation of St Edward's Crown, with the numeral "½" below the crown, and either NEW PENNY (1971-1981) or HALF PENNY (1982-1984) above the crown.

Reverse Inscription1/2 NEW PENNY or 1/2 HALF PENNY
EdgePlain
Edge InscriptionNone
All Coins of Type: Half Penny (14)
Coin NameMintageEffigyLegend
Half Penny 1971 1,394,538,250 Portrait by Arnold Machin (Second Portrait) ELIZABETH · II D · G · REG · F · D · 1971
Half Penny 1972 (Proof only) 150,000 Portrait by Arnold Machin (Second Portrait) ELIZABETH · II D · G · REG · F · D · 1972
Half Penny 1973 365,780,000 Portrait by Arnold Machin (Second Portrait) ELIZABETH · II D · G · REG · F · D · 1973
Half Penny 1974 365,548,000 Portrait by Arnold Machin (Second Portrait) ELIZABETH · II D · G · REG · F · D · 1974
Half Penny 1975 197,700,000 Portrait by Arnold Machin (Second Portrait) ELIZABETH · II D · G · REG · F · D · 1975
Half Penny 1976 412,272,000 Portrait by Arnold Machin (Second Portrait) ELIZABETH · II D · G · REG · F · D · 1976
Half Penny 1977 664,561,000 Portrait by Arnold Machin (Second Portrait) ELIZABETH · II D · G · REG · F · D · 1977
Half Penny 1978 59,618,100 Portrait by Arnold Machin (Second Portrait) ELIZABETH · II D · G · REG · F · D · 1978
Half Penny 1979 219,213,000 Portrait by Arnold Machin (Second Portrait) ELIZABETH · II D · G · REG · F · D · 1979
Half Penny 1980 202,931,000 Portrait by Arnold Machin (Second Portrait) ELIZABETH · II D · G · REG · F · D · 1980
Half Penny 1981 46,848,300 Portrait by Arnold Machin (Second Portrait) ELIZABETH · II D · G · REG · F · D · 1981
Half Penny 1982 191,063,800 Portrait by Arnold Machin (Second Portrait) ELIZABETH · II D · G · REG · F · D · 1982
Half Penny 1983 8,344,900 Portrait by Arnold Machin (Second Portrait) ELIZABETH · II D · G · REG · F · D · 1983
Half Penny 1984 (mint sets only) 265,340 Portrait by Arnold Machin (Second Portrait) ELIZABETH · II D · G · REG · F · D · 1984
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Half Penny: Details
CountryUnited Kingdom
CurrencyPound Sterling
From1971
To1984
Face Value1/2 (x Penny)
CurrentNo (demonetised 1984)
MaterialBronze
DesignerChristopher Ironside
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
Size (mm)17.1400
Thickness (mm)1
Mass (g)1.7800
Half Penny: Photos
ImageDetails
Coin - 1/2 New Penny, Elizabeth II, Great Britain, 1976
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Source
Coin - 1/2 New Penny, Elizabeth II, Great Britain, 1976
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Source