Half Penny 1979, Coin from United Kingdom - detailed information

Half Penny 1979, Coin from United Kingdom
CoinHalf Penny 1979

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

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in 1984 the halfpenny was issued by the Royal Mint only in mint and proof sets, and the coin was demonetised and withdrawn from circulation in December 1984. Thus, coins issued in 1979 circulated for only five years.

MintRoyal Mint Mintage219,213,000 (219.2 million), Rarity: C (Common)
Obverse
United Kingdom / Half Penny 1979 - obverse photo

Crowned and draped young bust of Queen Elizabeth II facing right (effigy known as the "Second Portrait", by Arnold Machin).

The Queen wears the "Girls of Great Britain and Ireland" diamond tiara, a wedding gift from Queen Mary (Her Majesty's grandmother) in 1947 - which she also has on the Rank-Broadley and the Gottwald portraits.

Around, the monarch's legend and the date: ELIZABETH · II D · G · REG · F · D · 1979. Translated from Latin: Elizabeth the Second, by the grace of God, Queen, Defender of the Faith 1979.

Obverse Inscription ELIZABETH · II D · G · REG · F · D · 1979
Reverse
United Kingdom / Half Penny 1979 - reverse photo

Within a beaded circle, at centre: a crown (representation of St Edward's Crown); around above, the denomination NEW PENNY; below, the value in a numeral 1/2; around below, triangular motifs.

Reverse Inscription 1/2 NEW PENNY
EdgePlainEdge InscriptionNone
Half Penny 1979: Known varieties
Variety Proof FDC
Mintage 81,000 (included in total)
Half Penny 1979: References to Information Used
SourceEditionAboutLinkNotes
Royal Mint 2016 Mint link
Royal Mint 2016 Mintage link Circulation mintage
Spink, Coins of England and the United Kingdom Mintage Proof mintage
Spink, Coins of England and the United Kingdom Varieties Proof FDC
All (14) Coins of Country: United Kingdom, Type: Half Penny
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
Half Penny 1979: Details
CountryUnited Kingdom
CurrencyPound Sterling
Coin TypeHalf Penny
Issued1979
MonarchQueen Elizabeth II
EffigyPortrait by Arnold Machin (Second Portrait)
Face Value1/2 (x Penny)
Mintage219,213,000 (219.2 million), Rarity: C (Common)
CurrentNo (demonetised 1984)
MaterialBronze
DesignerChristopher Ironside
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
Size (mm)17.1400
Thickness (mm)1
Mass (g)1.7800
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Half Penny 1979: Photos
ImageDetails
Coin - 1/2 New Penny, Elizabeth II, Great Britain, 1979
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
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Coin - 1/2 New Penny, Elizabeth II, Great Britain, 1979
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
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Half Penny 1979: Catalogue Reference IDs