Halfpenny 1878, Coin from United Kingdom - detailed information

Halfpenny 1878, Coin from United Kingdom (demonetised 1969)
CoinHalfpenny 1878

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. The bronze coins of this type replaced the larger copper halfpennies which were issued until 1860; copper was considered to be impractical as it wore too rapidly due to extensive circulation. The new, more durable, alloy was composed of 95 parts of copper, four of tin and one of zinc. The coins were also smaller and thinner, therefore more convenient to carry. The dies were engraved by Leonard Charles Wyon, then Engraver to the Royal Mint.

The reverse features a new, third, design of Britannia. The obverse carries Leonard Wyon's "Bun Head" portrait of Queen Victoria. Both sides were updated to the halfpennies carrying the fourth Britannia design and a new effigy of the Queen in 1895.

Halfpenny coins issued in 1878 remained in circulation for 91 years until 1969, when they were demonetised prior to the decimalisation of the currency.

MintRoyal Mint Mint MarkNo mint mark Total Mintage1,425,535 (1.4 million), Rarity: N (Normal)
Visit the Royal Mint web site for the latest coin releases Visit the Royal Mint web site for the latest coin releases
Obverse
United Kingdom / Halfpenny 1878 - obverse photo

The obverse of the coin shows the young effigy of Queen Victoria by Leonard Charles Wyon, which is widely known as the "Bun Head" due to the Queen's hairstyle.

The portrait depicts Queen Victoria facing left, wearing a bodice and a mantle decorated with rose, thistle and shamrock (the floral symbols of the constituent parts of the United Kingdom - England, Scotland and Ireland respectively); in her hair is a wreath of leaves and berries tied at back with ribbon, her hair is drawn to a plaited bun behind; she wears a circular brooch; at the back of her shoulder, a small part of the Star of the Garter is visible, with a small part of its motto ("HONI SO") readable.

Around, the monarch's legend: VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :. Translated from Latin: Victoria, by the Grace of God, Queen of the Britains, Defender of the Faith.

Obverse Inscription VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Reverse
United Kingdom / Halfpenny 1878 - 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 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 1878.

Reverse Inscription HALF PENNY 1878
EdgePlainEdge InscriptionNone
Notes

Most half penny coins of 1878 have Obverse 15 and Reverse O (Freeman 337).

For information about Freeman obverse/reverse varieties, see descriptions on the halfpenny / third Britannia type page.

References to additional information:

[Book] Bressett, Kenneth E. 1962. A Guidebook of English Coins, Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Wisconsin, USA. p26
[Book] Freeman, Michael J. 1970. The Bronze Coinage of Great Britain. Motherwell, Scotland, (2016 ed. pp94-95)
[Book] Remick, Jerome. 1971. The Guide Book and Catalogue to British Commonwealth Coins., p198

Halfpenny 1878: Known varieties
Variety Obverse 14, Reverse O (Freeman 334)
Mintage Issued: unknown (included in total)
Variety Obverse 15, Reverse N (Freeman 335)
Mintage Issued: unknown (included in total)
Variety Proof, Obverse 15, Reverse N (Freeman 336)
Mintage Issued: unknown
All (135) Coins of Country: United Kingdom, Type: Halfpenny (Pre-decimal)
Coin NameMintageEffigyLegend
Halfpenny 1806 unknown King George III - Laureate Head by Küchler GEORGIUS III · D : G · REX. 1806
Halfpenny 1807 unknown King George III - Laureate Head by Küchler GEORGIUS III · D : G · REX. 1807
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
Halfpenny 1860 (Small) 6,630,400 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1861 54,118,400 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1862 61,107,200 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1863 15,948,800 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1864 537,600 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1865 8,064,000 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1866 2,508,800 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1867 2,508,800 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1868 3,046,400 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1869 3,225,600 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1870 4,350,739 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1871 1,075,280 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1872 4,659,410 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1873 3,404,880 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1874 6,365,265 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1875 6,685,215 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1876 6,809,600 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1877 5,209,505 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1878 1,425,535 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1879 3,582,545 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1880 2,423,465 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1881 3,799,515 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1882 4,480,000 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1883 3,000,725 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1884 6,989,580 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1885 8,600,574 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1886 8,586,155 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1887 10,701,305 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1888 6,814,070 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1889 7,748,234 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1890 11,254,235 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1891 13,192,260 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1892 2,478,335 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1893 7,229,344 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1894 1,767,635 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Halfpenny 1895 3,032,154 Queen Victoria - Veiled Head VICTORIA · DEI · GRA · BRITT · REGINA · FID · DEF · IND · IMP ·
Halfpenny 1896 9,142,500 Queen Victoria - Veiled Head VICTORIA · DEI · GRA · BRITT · REGINA · FID · DEF · IND · IMP ·
Halfpenny 1897 8,690,315 Queen Victoria - Veiled Head VICTORIA · DEI · GRA · BRITT · REGINA · FID · DEF · IND · IMP ·
Halfpenny 1898 8,595,180 Queen Victoria - Veiled Head VICTORIA · DEI · GRA · BRITT · REGINA · FID · DEF · IND · IMP ·
Halfpenny 1899 12,108,001 Queen Victoria - Veiled Head VICTORIA · DEI · GRA · BRITT · REGINA · FID · DEF · IND · IMP ·
Halfpenny 1900 13,805,190 Queen Victoria - Veiled Head VICTORIA · DEI · GRA · BRITT · REGINA · FID · DEF · IND · IMP ·
Halfpenny 1901 11,127,360 Queen Victoria - Veiled Head VICTORIA · DEI · GRA · BRITT · REGINA · FID · DEF · IND · IMP ·
Halfpenny 1902 13,672,960 King Edward VII - Bare Head EDWARDVS VII DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1903 11,450,880 King Edward VII - Bare Head EDWARDVS VII DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1904 8,131,200 King Edward VII - Bare Head EDWARDVS VII DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1905 10,124,800 King Edward VII - Bare Head EDWARDVS VII DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1906 11,101,440 King Edward VII - Bare Head EDWARDVS VII DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1907 16,849,280 King Edward VII - Bare Head EDWARDVS VII DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1908 16,620,800 King Edward VII - Bare Head EDWARDVS VII DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1909 8,279,040 King Edward VII - Bare Head EDWARDVS VII DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1910 10,769,920 King Edward VII - Bare Head EDWARDVS VII DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1911 12,570,880 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1912 21,185,920 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1913 17,476,480 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1914 20,289,111 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1915 21,563,040 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1916 39,386,143 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1917 38,245,436 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1918 22,321,072 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1919 28,104,001 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1920 35,146,793 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1921 28,027,293 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1922 10,734,964 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1923 12,266,282 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1924 13,971,038 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1925 12,216,123 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1926 6,712,306 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1927 15,589,622 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1928 20,935,200 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1929 25,680,000 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1930 12,532,800 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1931 16,137,600 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Halfpenny 1932 14,448,000 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
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 :
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Halfpenny 1878: Details
CountryUnited Kingdom
CurrencyPound Sterling (pre-decimal)
Coin TypeHalfpenny (Britannia, third design)
Issued1878
MonarchQueen Victoria
EffigyQueen Victoria - Portrait by Leonard Charles Wyon (Bun Head)
ReverseBritannia
Face Value1/2 (x Penny)
Mintage1,425,535 (1.4 million), Rarity: N (Normal)
CurrentNo; demonetised 1969
MaterialBronze
DesignerLeonard Charles Wyon
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
OrientationCoin Alignment (Axis 6)
Size (mm)25.5000
Mass (g)5.7000
OCC IDBYNK-EDDC-MBNQ-EPQM
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Halfpenny 1878: Photos
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Coin - Halfpenny, Queen Victoria, Great Britain, 1878
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
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Coin - Halfpenny, Queen Victoria, Great Britain, 1878
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
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Halfpenny 1878: Catalogue Reference IDs