O’Brien Coin Guide: GB & Ireland Copper Halfpennies of Victoria


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. Victorian copper halfpennies have many subtle varieties and collectors should examine them carefully, for these varieties often sell for a premium over the price of a ‘normal’ coin.

Queen Victoria:

Victoria became Queen in 1837 after the death of her uncle (William IV), who had ten children by his long-time mistress Dorothea Jordan (an Anglo-Irish actress and courtesan) but no legitimate heirs.

Victorian Copper Halfpennies:

1838 GB & Ireland copper halfpenny (Victoria)

  • Obverse:
    • Bare head of young Queen Victoria facing left, with ribbons in her hair.
    • Legend: ‘VICTORIA DEI GRATIA’, date below.
      • Translation: Victoria by the grace of God
  • 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.
      • Full Latin text: BRITANNIARUM REGINA FIDEI DEFENSOR
      • Translation: Queen of all the Britains, Defender of the Faith

Specifications:

  • Diameter = 28mm
  • Edge = plain
  • Weight = 9.34g
  • Designer = William Wyon

Mintage & Market Values:

1838-48 GB & Ireland - Victorian Copper Halfpennies (mintages & market values)

1838-48 GB & Ireland – Victorian Copper Halfpennies (mintage & market values)

1841 GB & Ireland copper halfpenny (DFI instead of DEI variety)

  • 1841 GB & Ireland copper halfpenny
    • DFI instead of DEI variety

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  • 1848 GB & Ireland copper halfpenny
    • Final 8 over 3 in date variety (8 over remnants of 3 from re-worked dies)

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  • 1848 GB & Ireland copper halfpenny
    • Final 8 over 7 in date variety (8 over remnants of 7 from re-worked dies)

Note:

  • The reverse side of coins are usually struck upside-down from the obverse
    • This is what numismatic students call ‘coin struck’
  • If the reverse is the same way up as the obverse, it is known as ‘medal struck’
    • The 1841 ‘inverted axis’ variety is medal struck
1851-60 GB & Ireland - Victorian Copper Halfpennies (mintages & market values)

1851-60 GB & Ireland – Victorian Copper Halfpennies (mintage & market values)

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  • 1851 GB & Ireland copper halfpenny
    • 7 incuse dots on or above shield variety

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  • 1852 GB & Ireland copper halfpenny
    • 7 incuse dots on or above shield variety

1857 GB & Ireland copper halfpenny (7 incuse dots on or above shield variety)

  • 1852 GB & Ireland copper halfpenny
    • 7 incuse dots on or above shield variety

1853 GB & Ireland copper halfpenny (3 over 2 in date variety)

  • 1853 GB & Ireland copper halfpenny
    • 3 over 2 in date variety (3 over remnants of 2 from re-worked dies)

[no image available yet]

  • 1856 GB & Ireland copper halfpenny
    • 6 over a larger 6 in date variety (from re-worked dies

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  • 1858 GB & Ireland copper halfpenny
    • small date variety

1858 GB & Ireland copper halfpenny (final 8 over 6 in date variety)

  • 1858 GB & Ireland copper halfpenny
    • final 8 over 6 in date variety (8 over remnants of 6 from re-worked dies)

 

1858 GB & Ireland copper halfpenny (final 8 over 7 in date variety)

 

  • 1858 GB & Ireland copper halfpenny
    • final 8 over 7 in date variety (8 over remnants of 7 from re-worked dies)

1859 GB & Ireland copper halfpenny - 9 over final 8 in date variety (9 over remnants of 8 from reworked dies)

  • 1859 GB & Ireland copper halfpenny
    • 9 over 8 in date variety (9 over remnants of 8 from re-worked dies)

 

Further reading:

Halfpenny (½d)

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