O’Brien Coin Guide: GB & Ireland Copper Pennies of George IV


Introduction:

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. His charm and culture earned him the title “the first gentleman of England”, but he was disliked by the general population for his extravagance and lack of leadership during the Napoleonic wars.

His lavish lifestyle contributed to the fashions known as the Regency era. He was a patron of new forms of leisure, style and taste and he was instrumental in the foundation of the National Gallery and King’s College London.

  • He commissioned John Nash to build the Royal Pavilion in Brighton and re-model Buckingham Palace
  • He also commissioned Sir Jeffry Wyattville to re-build Windsor Castle.

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.
      • Translation: George the Fourth, by the Grace of God
  • 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.
      • Full legend in Latin: BRITANNIARUM REX FIDEI DEFENSOR
      • Translation: King of all the Britains, Defender of the Faith

Specifications:

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

Mintage & Market Values:

1825-27 George IV copper penny mintage & market values. (The Old Currency Exchange, Dublin)

1825-27 George IV copper penny mintage & market values

Varieties:

1826 GB & Ireland (George IV) copper penny - saltire variations. (The Old Currency Exchange, Dublin)

1826 GB & Ireland (George IV) copper penny – saltire variations

Notes:

All of the 1827 coins were minted for Australia and, sadly, most of them were corroded on long sea journey. These copper pennies were the last issued for King George IV and are now rare – especially in the higher grades. Market prices reflect the rarity of the better examples.

Further Reading:

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