Maundy Fourpence (Decimal), Coin Type from United Kingdom - detailed information

Maundy Fourpence (Decimal), Coin Type from United Kingdom (issued 1971 - )
Coin TypeMaundy Fourpence (Decimal)

The Maundy fourpence (or four pence) coin is the highest denomination of Maundy money - coins specially minted in varying (but always small) mintage for ceremonial purposes and not intended as circulating currency. They are usually handed by the British monarch in person to selected deserving individuals once every year. They are issued in "prooflike" condition and usually remain in it, especially the more recent ones. Each recipient receives two purses: a red one with ordinary coins, and a white purse containing a particular amount (which varies every year) made up of one, two, three and four pence Maundy coins. Since the amounts are not always divisible by ten, the number (and mintage) of the respective denominations differ; in other words, they cannot always all be cleanly combined into a number of full sets. Note also that the coins are initially in purses; the sets that appear on the market are made from these later, and are not issued as sets by the Royal Mint.

The Royal Maundy is an ancient ceremony which has its origin in the commandment Christ gave after washing the feet of his disciples on the day before Good Friday. The commandment (also known as a "mandatum" from which the word Maundy is derived) "that ye love one another" (John XIII 34) is still recalled regularly by Christian churches throughout the world. The ceremony of washing the feet of the poor which was accompanied by gifts of food and clothing can be traced back to the fourth century.

Maundy money has remained in much the same form since 1670, and the coins used for the Maundy ceremony have traditionally been struck in sterling silver, save for the brief interruptions of King Henry VIII’s debasement of the coinage and the general change to 50% silver coins in 1920. The sterling silver standard (92.5%) was resumed following the Coinage Act of 1946. The current reverse was designed by Jean Baptiste Merlen in 1822 and has been issued every year since then with only minor modifications.

As there is no record of any denomination higher than one penny (then struck for circulation in silver) being used in the Maundy gift before 1731, sets from before then are most likely ordinary circulation strikes. At that time, coins used for the Maundy money distribution were indistinguishable from those struck for circulation. It was not until 1752 that coins not struck for circulation were used for the Maundy distribution. In a time when little silver was being struck by the Royal Mint, the coins distributed might bear a previous year's date.

To evade statutory prohibitions on the striking of silver coin during the Napoleonic Wars, all Maundy pieces issued from 1800 to 1815 bear the date 1800, though most were struck later. When the date was finally changed in 1816, after the prohibition ended, the size of the coins was slightly reduced, as the Royal Mint implemented a change from striking 62 shillings of silver coin from one troy pound of sterling silver to 66 shillings.The last year in which no Maundy coins were struck was 1821.

In 1689, the Royal Mint began using a design for the reverse of the four low-denomination silver coins depicting a crowned numeral. The designer is unknown (Richard Lobel, in his catalogue of British coins, suggests the artist was George Bower, an employee of the Royal Mint whose medals bear similar characteristics), but his work has endured, in a revised form, for over three hundred years. In 1822 an amended reverse was introduced, and has been struck every year since then in all four denominations.

The 1822 reverse design, which places the crowned numeral within an oak wreath was done by Jean Baptiste Merlen. This design is still struck each year, though the crown was altered in 1888, as was the appearance of the numeral "2" on the twopence. These changes were made by Royal Mint engraver Leonard Charles Wyon. A proposal by the Royal Mint in 1950 to return to the pre-1888 "2" as more artistic was refused by King George VI, who felt the current numeral was stylistically similar to the numerals on the other coins, and the pre-1888 "2" was not.

The original composition of the coins was sterling (0.925) silver. In common with all British silver coins, the fineness was reduced to 0.500 in 1921. In 1947 silver was removed from all circulating British coinage in favour of cupronickel, but as it was felt to be inappropriate to strike Maundy coins in base metal, their fineness was restored to 0.925.

On Decimal Day 15 February 1971, the pound sterling became decimalised, with 100 new pence instead of 20 shillings of 12 pence (240 pence) in a pound. No change was made to the design of the Maundy pieces, and all Maundy pieces, both pre- and post-Decimal Day are deemed denominated in new pence; for earlier coins in the series, see pre-decimal fourpence (1817 - 1970).

The Maundy pieces continue to use the original obverse design for Queen Elizabeth II by Mary Gillick, although the bust of the Queen on other British coins has been repeatedly replaced as she ages. At the time of decimalisation, the Royal Mint Advisory Commission recommended the retention out of affection for the Gillick design; this was accepted by the Queen.

Obverse
United Kingdom / Maundy Fourpence (Decimal) - obverse photo

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

Obverse Inscription Legend of the ruling British monarch
Reverse
United Kingdom / Maundy Fourpence (Decimal) - reverse photo

Within an open oak wreath, the numeral value 4 [pence].

Above the value, St Edward's Crown. Named after Saint Edward the Confessor, it has been traditionally used to crown English and British monarchs at their coronations since the 13th century (with a two-century gap between 1689 and 1911).

Divided by the value, the date of issue: [year].

Reverse Inscription 4 [year]
EdgeEdge Inscription
All (50) Coins of Type: Maundy Fourpence (Decimal)
Coin NameMintageEffigyLegend
Fourpence 1971 (Maundy) 1,108 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1972 (Maundy) 1,118 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1973 (Maundy) 1,098 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1974 (Maundy) 1,138 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1975 (Maundy) 1,148 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1976 (Maundy) 1,158 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1977 (Maundy) 1,138 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1978 (Maundy) 1,178 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1979 (Maundy) 1,188 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1980 (Maundy) 1,306 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1981 (Maundy) 1,288 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1982 (Maundy) 1,330 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1983 (Maundy) 1,342 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1984 (Maundy) 1,354 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1985 (Maundy) 1,366 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1986 (Maundy) 1,378 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1987 (Maundy) 1,390 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1988 (Maundy) 1,402 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1989 (Maundy) 1,353 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1990 (Maundy) 1,523 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1991 (Maundy) 1,514 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1992 (Maundy) 1,556 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1993 (Maundy) 1,440 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1994 (Maundy) 1,433 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1995 (Maundy) 1,466 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1996 (Maundy) 1,629 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1997 (Maundy) 1,786 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1998 (Maundy) 1,654 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 1999 (Maundy) 1,676 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 2000 (Maundy) 14,866 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 2001 (Maundy) 1,132 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 2002 (Maundy) 1,681 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 2003 (Maundy) 1,608 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 2004 (Maundy) 1,613 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 2005 (Maundy) 1,685 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 2006 (Maundy) 8,205 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 2007 (Maundy) 1,822 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 2008 (Maundy) 1,833 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 2009 (Maundy) 1,602 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 2010 (Maundy) 1,787 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 2011 (Maundy) 1,906 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 2012 (Maundy) 1,633 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 2013 (Maundy) 1,803 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 2014 (Maundy) 2,049 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 2015 (Maundy) 1,721 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 2016 (Maundy) 1,940 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 2017 (Maundy) unknown Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 2018 (Maundy) unknown Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 2019 (Maundy) unknown Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Fourpence 2020 (Maundy) unknown Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
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Royal Mint
Royal Mint
Maundy Fourpence (Decimal): Details
CountryUnited Kingdom
CurrencyPound Sterling
From1971
Face Value4 (x Penny)
CurrentYes
Material0.925 Silver
DesignerJean Baptise Merlen
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
Size (mm)18
Mass (g)1.8900
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