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


GB & Ireland copper halfpennies (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. Like his brother (George IV), William only issued halfpennies for 3 dates. Unlike his brother, William’s halfpennies have relatively low mintages and are quite difficult to find – especially in the higher grades.

William IV:

William IV became king in 1830 at age 62 after the death of his brother (George IV), who had no surviving ‘legitimate’ 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.
  • Victoria thus became queen.

William IV Copper Halfpenny:

1831 GB & Ireland copper halfpenny (William IV)

1831 GB & Ireland copper halfpenny (William IV)

  • Obverse:
    • Bare head of King William IV facing right.
    • Legend: ‘GULIELMUS IIII  DEI GRATIA’, date below.
      • Translation: William 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


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

Mintage & Market Values:

GB & Ireland Copper Halfpenny of William IV - Mintage & Market Values

GB & Ireland Copper Halfpenny of William IV – Mintage & Market Values


Further reading:

Halfpenny (½d)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s