Halfpenny (Britannia, second design), Coin Type from United Kingdom - detailed information

Halfpenny (Britannia, second design), Coin Type from United Kingdom (issued 1825 - 1860)
Coin TypeHalfpenny (Britannia, second design)

The British pre-decimal halfpenny coin (abbreviated as ½d), usually simply known as a halfpenny or half penny, was a unit of currency that equalled half of a penny or one four-hundred-and-eightieth of a pound sterling (there were 20 shillings to a pound, and 12 pence to a shilling so one pound was equal to 240 pence, so 480 of these coins made up £1).

The denomination continues the tradition of earlier halfpenny coins of Great Britain, which also featured the figure of Britannia. In 1801 the parliaments of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland each passed an Act of Union, uniting the two kingdoms and creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Re-coinage followed in 1806; there was a short-lived halfpenny format with larger coins with concave surfaces struck by the Soho Mint but it was only issued for two years.

After 1807, no halfpenny coins were issued until 1825, when this smaller version with a new-look Britannia and traditional flat surfaces was introduced; the design is by William Wyon, chief engraver of the Royal Mint, which was the only mint issuing the new coins.

The design is identical to that of the one penny, farthing and half farthing coins minted in the same years; the difference is only in size. Typically for British coinage of the time, the denomination (or, indeed, the country of issue) is not spelled out on the coin.

All these halfpennies were minted in copper, but after 1860 the denomination changed to bronze with an even smaller size; all British copper coinage was demonetised after 31 December 1869.

Obverse
United Kingdom / Halfpenny (Britannia, second design) - obverse photo

Effigy of the ruling British monarch, part of the legend (in Latin).

During the existence of this coin type, half pennies were issued for:
- King George IV (1825 - 1827)
- King William IV (1831 - 1837)
- Queen Victoria (1838 - 1860)

Obverse Inscription Legend of the ruling British monarch
Reverse
United Kingdom / Halfpenny (Britannia, second design) - reverse photo

The reverse of the coin shows, within a beaded border, the figure of Britannia - the female personification of Great Britain - seated facing right, wearing a Corinthian helmet pushed back to reveal her face, resting her right hand on a shield bearing a saltire of arms, and holding a trident in her left hand.

Around, the rest of the monarch's legend: BRITANNIAR: REX FID: DEF: (King of Britain, Defender of the Faith) during the reigns of King George IV and King William IV, or BRITANNIAR: REG: FID: DEF: (Queen of Britain, Defender of the Faith) for Queen Victoria.

In the exergue, a rose, a thistle and a shamrock combined - the floral symbols of the constituent parts of the United Kingdom, respectively England, Scotland and Ireland.

Reverse Inscription BRITANNIAR: REX FID: DEF: (BRITANNIAR: REG: FID: DEF:)
EdgePlainEdge InscriptionNone
Notes

References to additional information:

[Book] Bressett, Kenneth E. 1962. A Guidebook of English Coins, Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Wisconsin, USA. pp 22-24
[Book] Remick, Jerome. 1971. The Guide Book and Catalogue to British Commonwealth Coins., p197

Coin Type: Halfpenny (Britannia, second design) - (25) Coins
Coin NameMintageEffigyLegend
Halfpenny 1825 215,040 King George IV - Laureate Head by Wyon GEORGIUS IV DEI GRATIA · 1825 ·
Halfpenny 1826 9,031,630 King George IV - Laureate Head by Wyon GEORGIUS IV DEI GRATIA · 1826 ·
Halfpenny 1827 5,376,000 King George IV - Laureate Head by Wyon GEORGIUS IV DEI GRATIA · 1827 ·
Halfpenny 1831 806,400 King William IV - Bare Head GULIELMUS IIII DEI GRATIA 1831
Halfpenny 1834 537,600 King William IV - Bare Head GULIELMUS IIII DEI GRATIA 1834
Halfpenny 1837 349,440 King William IV - Bare Head GULIELMUS IIII DEI GRATIA 1837
Halfpenny 1838 456,960 Queen Victoria - Young Head VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1838
Halfpenny 1839 (Proof only) unknown Queen Victoria - Young Head VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1839
Halfpenny 1841 1,075,200 Queen Victoria - Young Head VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1841
Halfpenny 1843 967,680 Queen Victoria - Young Head VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1843
Halfpenny 1844 1,075,200 Queen Victoria - Young Head VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1844
Halfpenny 1845 1,075,200 Queen Victoria - Young Head VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1845
Halfpenny 1846 860,160 Queen Victoria - Young Head VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1846
Halfpenny 1847 752,640 Queen Victoria - Young Head VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1847
Halfpenny 1848 322,560 Queen Victoria - Young Head VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1848
Halfpenny 1851 215,040 Queen Victoria - Young Head VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1851
Halfpenny 1852 637,056 Queen Victoria - Young Head VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1852
Halfpenny 1853 1,559,040 Queen Victoria - Young Head VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1853
Halfpenny 1854 12,354,048 Queen Victoria - Young Head VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1854
Halfpenny 1855 1,455,837 Queen Victoria - Young Head VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1855
Halfpenny 1856 1,942,080 Queen Victoria - Young Head VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1856
Halfpenny 1857 1,182,720 Queen Victoria - Young Head VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1857
Halfpenny 1858 2,472,960 Queen Victoria - Young Head VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1858
Halfpenny 1859 1,290,240 Queen Victoria - Young Head VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1859
Halfpenny 1860 (Large) unknown Queen Victoria - Young Head VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1860
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Halfpenny (Britannia, second design): Details
CountryUnited Kingdom
CurrencyPound Sterling (pre-decimal)
Sub-type ofHalfpenny (Pre-decimal)
From1825
To1860
Face Value1/2 (x Penny)
CurrentNo (demonetised 1870)
MaterialCopper
DesignerWilliam Wyon
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
OrientationCoin Alignment (Axis 6)
Size28.000 mm
Mass8.800 g
Halfpenny (Britannia, second design): Photos
ImageDetails
Coin - Halfpenny, William IV, Great Britain, 1831
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Notes: Britannia, second design (1825 - 1860).
Source
1826 Copper Half-penny, George IV
Copyright: JNCoins
Notes: King George IV (1825 - 1827).
Source
Coin - Halfpenny, William IV, Great Britain, 1831
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Notes: King William IV (1831 - 1837).
Source
Great Britain 1852 half penny
Copyright: CoinFactsWiki / CC BY-SA
Author:
Notes: Queen Victoria, Young Head (1838 - 1860).
Source