GB & Ireland – Copper Penny 1825-1860


GB & Ireland copper pennies (1825-60) are very sought after by collectors. They are often found in attic clearances and car boot sales in Ireland. The comparatively soft metal results in few coins surviving in higher grades. Many varieties exist and the main ones have been listed below.

George IV

Prior to ascension, George IV served as Prince Regent from 1811 until 1820, due to his fathers ill health. Dubbed ‘the first gentleman of England’, he was disliked by the general population for his extravagance and lack of leadership during the Napoleonic wars.

1826 GB & Ireland Copper Penny (George IV)

1826 GB & Ireland Copper Penny (George IV)

  • Obverse:
    • Laureate head of King George IV facing left.
    • Legend: ‘GEORGIUS IV DEI GRATIA’, date below.
  • Reverse:
    • Britannia seated facing right, holding a trident, hand resting on a shield.
    • Legend: ‘BRITANNIAR: REX FID: DEF:’, with a rose, thistle, and shamrock below.

Specifications:

  • Weight = 18.7 g
  • Diameter = 34 mm
  • Designer = William Wyon

  • 1825 mintage = 1,075,200
  • 1826 mintage = 5,913,000
    • no line running through center of saltire (diagonal cross on the shield)
    • thin line running through center of saltire
    • thick line running through center of saltire
  • 1827 mintage = 1,451,520

 Notes:

All of the 1827 coins were minted for Australia (most corroded on journey). These copper pennies were the last issued for King George IV and are now rare.

William IV

William IV became king in 1830 at age 62 after the death of his brother (George IV), who had no surviving heirs. Dubbed ‘the sailor king’ for his naval service in his younger years, William had not expected to be King. William did not marry, due primarily to the Royal Marriages Act of 1772, which forbade decendants of George II from marriage without consent from the monarch, or privy council. William did have a de facto relationship producing many children, none of which were considered legitimate, so had no claim on the throne.

1837 GB & Ireland Copper Penny (William IV)

1837 GB & Ireland Copper Penny (William IV)

  • Obverse:
    • Bare head of King William IV facing right.
    • Legend: ‘GULIELMUS IIII  DEI GRATIA’, date below.
  • Reverse:
    • Britannia seated facing right, holding a trident, hand resting on a shield.
    • Legend: ‘BRITANNIAR: REX FID: DEF:’, with a rose, thistle, and shamrock below.

Specifications:

  • Weight = 18.7 g
  • Diameter = 34 mm
  • Designer = William Wyon

  • 1831 mintage =    806,400
    • no initials on truncation (elevation at the base of the bust, between the field and neck)
    • “.W.W” incuse on truncation
    • “W.W” incuse on truncation
  • 1834 mintage =    322,560
  • 1837 mintage =    174,720

Victoria

Victoria became Queen in 1837 after the death of her uncle (William IV), who had no legitimate heirs.

1841 GB & Ireland Copper Penny (Victoria) - no colon after REG

1841 GB & Ireland Copper Penny (Victoria) – no colon after REG

  • Obverse:
    • Bare head of young Queen Victoria facing left, with ribbons in her hair.
    • Legend: ‘VICTORIA DEI GRATIA’, date below.
  • Reverse:
    • Britannia seated facing right, holding a trident, hand resting on a shield.
    • Legend: ‘BRITANNIAR: REG FID: DEF:’, with a rose, thistle, and shamrock below.

Specifications:

  • Weight = 18.7 g
  • Diameter = 34 mm
  • Designer = William Wyon

  • 1839 mintage = Only in proof
  • 1841 mintage =    913,920
    • REG:
    • REG (no colon)
  • 1843 mintage =    483,830
    • REG:
    • REG (no colon)
  • 1844 mintage =    215,040
  • 1845 mintage =    322,560
  • 1846 mintage =    483,840
    • REG: (near colon)
    • REG : (far colon)
  • 1847 mintage =    430,080
    • REG : (far colon)
  • 1848 mintage =    161,280
    • 8 over 6 (the result of a re-worked die from 1846)
    • 8 over 7 (re-worked die from 1847)
  • 1849 mintage =    268,800
  • 1851 mintage =    432,224
    • REG: (near colon)
    • REG : (far colon)
  • 1853 mintage = 1,021,440
    • REG: (near colon)
    • REG : (far colon)
  • 1854 mintage = 6,720,000
    • REG: (near colon)
    • REG : (far colon)
    • 4 over 3 (the result of a re-worked die from 1853)
  • 1855 mintage = 5,273,866
    • REG: (near colon)
    • REG : (far colon)
  • 1856 mintage = 1,212,288
    • REG: (near colon)
    • REG : (far colon)
  • 1857 mintage =    752,640
    • REG: (near colon)
    • REG : (far colon)
  • 1858 mintage = 1,559,040
    • large date (approx. 11+ denticals wide), “W.W.” (incuse on truncation)
    • large date, no “W.W.”
    • small date (approx. 10 to 10½ denticals wide), “W.W.” (incuse on truncation)
    • small date, no “W.W.”
    • 8 over 3 (the result of a re-worked die from 1853, or perhaps 1852)
    • 8 over 6 (re-worked die from 1856)
    • 8 over 7 (re-worked die from 1857)
  • 1859 mintage = 1,075,200
    • 9 over 8 (the result of a re-worked die from 1858)
  • 1860 mintage = 32,256
    • All of the 1860 young head copper pennies are 1860/59 over-dates
    • They were not issued for circulation
    • They are now RARE
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