Penny 1954, Coin from United Kingdom - detailed information

Penny 1954, Coin from United Kingdom (demonetised 1971)
CoinPenny 1954

The 1954 penny is one of the mysteries of British numismatics.

Because of the large number of pennies already in circulation, and the economic depression after the Second World War, there was no need to produce any more penny coins in Great Britain in the 1950-ies. That said, a new monarch in 1952 sparked off a huge demand for coronation coin sets and, in 1953 over 1.3 million Queen Elizabeth II pennies were minted to make up these sets, in addition to allowing some to circulate.

As usual, a new portrait causes problems and the Royal Mint had to experiment with the design. These design experiments continued into 1954 and, although it was not intended to issue any pennies for that year, at least one "complete" penny dated 1954" was produced - apparently for private internal purposes at the Royal Mint. The mint sites a trial run of hundreds of coins, all of which were supposed to be destroyed. How that one "escaped" and found its way into the collection of C. Wilson Peck is unknown; furthermore, in response to a freedom of information request in 2011 the mint stated it was "unable to say for certain that only one survived from the trial run of several hundreds".

The experimental output included some uniface (struck on one side only) variants; two of these are held by The British Museum, and the other four are part of the Royal Mint Collection.

MintRoyal Mint Mint MarkNo mint mark Total Mintage1, Rarity: R7 (Highest rarity possible, 3 or less examples known)
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Obverse
United Kingdom / Penny 1954 - obverse photo

The obverse of the coin shows the laureate young laureate bust of Queen Elizabeth II facing right - her effigy known as the "First Portrait". The laurel wreath in the Queen's hair is tied with a ribbon with two ends flowing behind.

The designer's initials, M.G. (for Mary Gillick) appear incuse on the base of the shoulder truncation.

The monarch's legend runs continuously all around the bust: + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :. Translated from Latin: Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen, Defender of the Faith.

Obverse Inscription + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Reverse
United Kingdom / Penny 1954 - 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 crested Corinthian helmet pushed back to reveal her face and a flowing dress, 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, sea waves and at left, a lighthouse.

Around left and right, the value and denomination ONE PENNY.

In exergue, the date 1954.

Reverse Inscription ONE PENNY 1954
EdgePlainEdge InscriptionNone
Notes

This coin is unique and has Obverse 2 and Reverse C (see definitions in Freeman).
Remick (1971) notes "few made for die testing".

References to additional information:

[Book] Freeman, Michael J. 2016. The Bronze Coinage of Great Britain. Rotographic, London, UK. pp69-70

Penny 1954: References to Information Used
Showing 27 from a total of 127 coins of type: Penny (Pre-decimal)
Coin NameMintageEffigyLegend
Penny 1933 7 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Penny 1934 13,965,600 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Penny 1935 56,070,000 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Penny 1936 134,160,000 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Penny 1937 George VI 109,058,406 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Penny 1938 121,560,000 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Penny 1939 55,560,000 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Penny 1940 42,284,400 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Penny 1944 42,600,000 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Penny 1945 79,531,200 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Penny 1946 66,855,600 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Penny 1947 52,220,400 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Penny 1948 63,961,200 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Penny 1949 14,324,400 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX FIDEI DEF.
Penny 1950 257,513 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX FIDEI DEF.
Penny 1951 140,000 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX FIDEI DEF.
Penny 1952 1 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX FIDEI DEF.
Penny 1953 1,348,400 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH II DEI GRA : BRITT : OMN : REGINA F : D :
Penny 1954 1 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Penny 1961 39,703,000 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Penny 1962 137,640,000 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Penny 1963 134,013,600 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Penny 1964 144,462,000 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Penny 1965 135,534,000 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Penny 1966 157,430,000 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Penny 1967 164,000,000 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Penny 1970 (Proof only) 750,476 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Showing 101 to 127 of 127 Coins.
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Penny 1954: Details
CountryUnited Kingdom
CurrencyPound Sterling (pre-decimal)
Coin TypePenny, Britannia fourth design
Issued1954
MonarchQueen Elizabeth II
EffigyQueen Elizabeth II - First Portrait, by Mary Gillick
ReverseBritannia, Seated
Face Value1 (x Penny)
Total Mintage1, Rarity: R7 (Highest rarity possible, 3 or less examples known)
CurrentNo; demonetised 1971
MaterialBronze
DesignerLeonard Charles Wyon
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
OrientationMedal Alignment (Axis 0)
Size31.000 mm
Mass9.400 g
OCC IDRNAZ-OGWC-VWGP-OXJL
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Penny 1954: Photos
ImageDetails
1954 British Penny
Copyright: Old Currency Exchange
Source
1954 British Penny
Copyright: Old Currency Exchange
Source
Penny 1954: Catalogue Reference IDs