Halfpenny (Pre-decimal), Coin Type from United Kingdom - detailed information

Halfpenny (Pre-decimal), Coin Type from United Kingdom (issued 1806 - 1970)
Coin TypeHalfpenny (Pre-decimal)

The British pre-decimal halfpenny coin (abbreviated as ½d; "d" comes from the Roman "denarius", of which the penny is a direct descendant), 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. 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; the first halfpenny coins after that are known as the "Fourth Issue" copper coinage of King George III - the earlier three coinages being while the country was still just Great Britain.

The halfpenny went through several transformations: a large copper coin with concave surfaces and a Britannia reverse (1806 and 1807 only), a large copper coin with a second Britannia design (1825 to 1860), then smaller bronze coins - with a third Britannia design (1860 to 1894), a simplified fourth Britannia design (1895 to 1936) and finally a new halfpenny design featuring a sailing ship (1937 to 1970).

The pre-decimal halfpenny was demonetised before decimalisation and ceased to be legal tender from 31 July 1969. The new decimal half penny was much smaller in size, and was itself demonetised in 1984.

Obverse
United Kingdom / Halfpenny (Pre-decimal) - obverse photo

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

During the existence of the denomination, half pennies were issued for:
- King George III (1806 - 1807)
- King George IV (1825 - 1831)
- King William IV (1831 - 1837)
- Queen Victoria (1838 - 1901)
- King Edward VII (1902 - 1910)
- King George V (1911 - 1936)
- King George VI (1937 - 1952)
- Queen Elizabeth II (1953 - 1970)

Obverse Inscription Legend of the ruling British monarch
Reverse
United Kingdom / Halfpenny (Pre-decimal) - reverse photo

The reverse went through several transformations during the existence of the denomination.

The first reverse (1806 - 1807) was designed by Conrad Heinrich Küchler; the coins were struck by the Soho Mint. It shows the figure of Britannia - the female personification of Great Britain - seated on a rock, facing left, holding a trident and extending an olive branch; a shield decorated with the British flag rests against the rock at right. In the background to the left, a sailing ship. Around above, the legend BRITANNIA. There is no indication of the value and denomination.

Subsequent coins were struck almost exclusively by the Royal Mint; its production was on a few occasions supplemented by Heaton and Sons in Birmingham.

The second reverse (1825 - 1860), designed by William Wyon, features a new rendition of Britannia; she is 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. 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. The reverse also bears part of the monarch's legend. As before, there is no indication of the coin's value and denomination.

The third reverse (1860 - 1894) has a new rendition of Britannia, by Leonard Charles Wyon. Again, she is wearing a crested Corinthian helmet pushed back to reveal her face, resting her right hand on a shield bearing the combined crosses of the Union Flag, and holding a trident in her left hand. In the background at right, a ship sailing away; at left, a lighthouse. Around left and right, the denomination HALF PENNY. In exergue, the date.

The fourth reverse (1895 - 1936) is a simplified version of the third, with the lighthouse and sailing ship removed from the background.

The fifth reverse (1937 - 1970) is a radical departure from the earlier traditions and features a sailing ship - Sir Francis Drake’s "Golden Hind". The date is below, and the denomination HALF PENNY is around above.

Reverse Inscription HALF PENNY [year]
EdgeEdge Inscription
Notes

There are also pattern halfpennies listed separately.

Various British colonies, dominions and dependencies also issued their own versions of the half penny denomination, usually to be used in parallel with their Imperial counterpart and with compatible dimensions and composition but sometimes made deliberately different, e.g. with a central hole. For these, see:

- Bahamas Colony, One Penny - equal in size with the halfpenny but denominated as one penny; issued 1806 only
- Ionian Islands, One Obol - issued in 1819 only, demonetised 1864
- British West Africa, Halfpenny - with central hole, issued 1911 to 1952, demonetised 1968
- Australia, Halfpenny - issued 1911 to 1964, withdrawn 1966 (not demonetised)
- New Guinea, Half Penny - with central hole, issued 1929 only, demonetised 1966
- Fiji, Halfpenny - with central hole, issued 1934 to 1954, demonetised 1969
- New Zealand, Halfpenny - issued 1940 to 1965, demonetised 1967
- Nigeria, Halfpenny - with central hole, issued 1959 only, demonetised 1973

Coin Type: Halfpenny (Pre-decimal) - (135) Coins (Page 2 of 2)
Coin NameMintageEffigyLegend
Halfpenny 1933 10,560,000 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1934 7,704,000 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1935 12,180,000 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1936 19,807,200 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1937 George VI 27,732,002 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Halfpenny 1938 40,320,000 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Halfpenny 1939 28,924,800 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Halfpenny 1940 32,162,400 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Halfpenny 1941 45,120,000 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Halfpenny 1942 71,908,800 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Halfpenny 1943 76,200,000 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Halfpenny 1944 81,840,000 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Halfpenny 1945 57,000,000 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Halfpenny 1946 22,725,600 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Halfpenny 1947 21,266,400 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Halfpenny 1948 26,947,200 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Halfpenny 1949 24,744,000 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX FIDEI DEF.
Halfpenny 1950 24,171,113 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX FIDEI DEF.
Halfpenny 1951 14,888,000 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX FIDEI DEF.
Halfpenny 1952 33,278,400 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX FIDEI DEF.
Halfpenny 1953 8,950,000 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH II DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REGINA F: D:
Halfpenny 1954 19,375,200 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Halfpenny 1955 18,465,600 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Halfpenny 1956 21,799,200 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Halfpenny 1957 39,672,000 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Halfpenny 1958 66,283,200 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Halfpenny 1959 79,224,000 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Halfpenny 1960 41,340,000 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Halfpenny 1962 41,779,200 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Halfpenny 1963 44,766,080 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Halfpenny 1964 72,134,400 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Halfpenny 1965 105,964,800 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Halfpenny 1966 96,081,600 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Halfpenny 1967 146,491,200 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Halfpenny 1970 750,476 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Showing 101 to 135 of 135 Coins.
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Halfpenny (Pre-decimal): Details
CountryUnited Kingdom
CurrencyPound Sterling (pre-decimal)
Sub-types Halfpenny (Britannia, first design)
Halfpenny (Britannia, second design)
Halfpenny (Britannia, third design)
Halfpenny (Britannia, fourth design)
Halfpenny (Ship)
From1806
To1970
Face Value1/2 (x Penny)
CurrentNo (demonetised 1969)
Material
Designer
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
Size
Mass
Halfpenny (Pre-decimal): Photos
ImageDetails
Coin - Halfpenny, George III, Great Britain, 1807
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Notes: Britannia, first design (1806 - 1807).
Source
Coin - Halfpenny, William IV, Great Britain, 1831
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Notes: Britannia, second design (1825 - 1860).
Source
Coin - Halfpenny, Queen Victoria, Great Britain, 1860
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Notes: Britannia, third design (1860 - 1894).
Source
Great Britain 1930 1/2 Penny
Copyright: smarty_marty24
Notes: Britannia, fourth design (1895 - 1936).
Source
Great Britain 1939 1/2 Penny
Copyright: smarty_marty24
Notes: Golden Hind ship (1937 - 1970).
Source
Coin - Halfpenny, George III, Great Britain, 1807
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Notes: King George III (1806 - 1807).
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
Coin - Halfpenny, Queen Victoria, Great Britain, 1860
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Notes: Queen Victoria, Bun head (1860 - 1894).
Source
Coin - Halfpenny, Queen Victoria, Great Britain, 1895
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Notes: Queen Victoria, Veiled head (1895 - 1901).
Source
Coin - Halfpenny, Edward VII, Great Britain, 1902
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Notes: King Edward VII (1902 - 1910).
Source
Great Britain 1930 1/2 Penny
Copyright: smarty_marty24
Source
Great Britain 1939 1/2 Penny
Copyright: smarty_marty24
Source