O’Brien Coin Guide: GB & Ireland Bronze Pennies of George V


Background:

Nobody thinks about British George V bronze pennies without thinking about the famous 1933 penny rarity. It is, perhaps, the most well-known British penny and many schoolboy collectors started the hobby by checking their pocket change for a 1933. Since these pennies circulated in Ireland right up until 1971, many Irish collectors also hoped they would find one too.

There are other varieties to look out for in this reign, e.g. the H and KN mint marks from the Heaton and Kings Norton mint, respectively. There is also a unique 1919 KN planchet error struck in cupro-nickel – see link below.

Bronze Penny: George V

  • Alloy: Bronze (95% copper, 4% tin and 1% zinc)
  • Weight: 9.4g
  • Diameter: 30.8mm
  • Edge: Plain
  • Designers
    • Obverse: Bertram MacKennal (BM)
    • Reverse: Harold Wilson Parker (WP)
1911-1926 GB & Ireland, George V, Obverse Type 1, bronze penny

1911-1926 GB & Ireland, George V, Obverse Type 1, bronze penny

Obverse: Type 1 (1911-26)

  • Bare head of King George V facing left,with the surrounding legend::
    • Legend: +GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID:DEF:IND: IMP:
    • Full Latin text: GEORGIVS V DEI GRATIA BRITANNIARUM OMNIUM REX FIDEI DEFENSOR INDIAE IMPERATOR
    • Translation: George the Fifth, by the Grace of God, King of all the Britains, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India
1926-1936 GB & Ireland, George V, Obverse Type 2, bronze penny

1926-1936 GB & Ireland, George V, Obverse Type 2, bronze penny

Obverse: Type 2 (1926-35)

  • Bare head of King George V facing left,with the surrounding legend::
    • Legend: +GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
    • Full Latin text: GEORGIVS V DEI GRATIA BRITANNIARUM OMNIUM REX FIDEI DEFENSOR INDIAE IMPERATOR
    • Translation: George the Fifth, by the Grace of God, King of all the Britains, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India
  • The differences on the modified effigy are:
    • The colons are further apart.
    • The the border teeth are slightly fewer, wider and in higher relief.
    • The initials of the engraver BM are not punctuated and the B of BM is level
      with the I in IMP (they are also very faintly struck)

      • Freeman lists this variety as having an estimated 50,001-100,000 in existence
1926 GB & Ireland, George V bronze penny - how to identify the modified effigy

1926 GB & Ireland, George V bronze penny – how to identify the modified effigy

Reverse:

  • Britannia seated facing right, wearing a helmet, holding a trident, hand resting on a shield, with the words ‘ONE PENNY’ in the fields, and date below.
  • A lighthouse is in the background to the left of Britannia.

Mintage & Market Values:

Obverse, Type 1 (1911-26)

1911-1926 GB & Ireland, George V, Obverse Type 1, bronze penny (mintage & market values)

1911-1926 GB & Ireland, George V, Obverse Type 1, bronze penny (mintage & market values)

  • “H” mint mark struck at Ralph Heaton & Sons, Birmingham – Sp#4052
  • “KN” mint mark struck at Kings Norton Metal Company, Birmingham – Sp#4053
  • Issues without a mint mark were struck at Royal Mint, Tower Hill, London – Sp#4051
1918 and 1919 GB & Ireland George V bronze penny mint marks

1918 and 1919 GB & Ireland George V bronze penny mint marks

There is also a 1922 ‘mule’ penny with 1927 reverse – not sure how this came about but they are rarely seen; they are not known in the higher grades and, therefore, are likely to have come from circulation.

  • This 1922 ‘mule’ is a rare variety and is well worth looking out for.

Obverse, Type 2 (1926-36)

1926-1936 GB & Ireland, George V, Obverse Type 2, bronze penny (mintage & market values)

1926-1936 GB & Ireland, George V, Obverse Type 2, bronze penny (mintage & market values)

 

Further Reading:

 

 

 

 

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