O’Brien Coin Guide: GB & Northern Ireland Bronze Halfpennies of George VI


Background:

George VI’s reign included the economically disastrous Word War II which culminated in his overseeing the dismantling of the British Empire to the point where it had to be transformed into a weaker / less cohesive British Commonwealth.

  • The biggest loss was the independence and breakup of India into three nation states – India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • From a numismatic viewpoint, this was represented by the loss of the legend ‘IND: IMP’ on his coins from 1949-51, inclusive. See Obverse, Type 1 & 2 below.

Bronze Halfpenny: George VI

  • Alloy: Bronze (95% copper, 4% tin and 1% zinc)
  • Weight: 5.67 g
  • Diameter: 25 mm
  • Edge: Plain
  • Designers
    • Obverse: Thomas Humphrey Paget (HP)
    • Reverse: Thomas Humphrey Paget (HP)
GB & Northern Ireland George VI bronze halfpenny - Type I & II obverse. The Old Currency Exchange, Dublin

GB & Northern Ireland George VI bronze halfpenny – Type I & II obverse.

Obverse: Type 1 (1937-48)

  • Bare head of King George VI facing left,with the surrounding legend:
    • Legend: GEORGIVS VI D:G:BR:OMN:REX F:D:IND:IMP.
    • Full text: GEORGIVS VI DEI GRATIA BRITANNIARUM OMNIUM REX FIDEI DEFENSOR INDIAE IMPERATOR
    • Translation: George VI, by the Grace of God, King of all the Britains, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India.

Obverse: Type 2 (1949-51)

  • Bare head of King George VI facing left,with the surrounding legend:
    • Legend: GEORGIVS VI D:G:BR:OMN:REX FIDEI DEF.
    • Full text: GEORGIVS VI DEI GRATIA BRITANNIARUM OMNIUM REX FIDEI DEFENSOR
    • Translation: George VI, by the Grace of God, King of all the Britains, Defender of the Faith.
    • Designer’s initials below head ‘HP’

Reverse:

  • A three-masted ship (a depiction of Sir Francis Drake’s galleon, the ‘Golden Hind’)
  • The words ‘HALF PENNY’ are above the main design
  • Date below
  • Designer’s initials to the right ‘HP’

Mintage & Market Values:

George VI Halfpenny, Type I obverse

1937-48 GB & Northern Ireland bronze halfpenny (George VI, Type 1 Obverse) mintage & market values

1937-48 GB & Northern Ireland bronze halfpenny (George VI, Type 1 Obverse) mintage & market values

After WW2, the British economy contracted rapidly and small change was not in such high demand. This coincided with most of the American and other Allied troops leaving the UK and, consequently, the mintage of pennies dropped dramatically. The production of halfpennies, however, did not drop and they continued to be produced in large numbers after he died – again, in contrast to penny production.

George VI Halfpenny, Type II obverse

1949-52 GB & Northern Ireland bronze halfpenny (George VI, Type 2 Obverse) mintage & market values

1949-52 GB & Northern Ireland bronze halfpenny (George VI, Type 2 Obverse) mintage & market values

When India became independent in 1947, it immediately underwent a dramatic breakup into three different countries along sectarian lines, i.e. the western Muslim states became West Pakistan and the eastern Muslim states merged to become East Pakistan (later Bangladesh). The majority of states, in the middle of what was known as British India, then formed India.

The loss of India meant that George VI was no longer Emperor of India and this was reflected in the change in the Type 2 obverse in 1949, i.e. IND:IMP. (INDIAE IMPERATOR) was omitted.

Further reading:

Halfpenny (½d)

 

 

 

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “O’Brien Coin Guide: GB & Northern Ireland Bronze Halfpennies of George VI

  1. India gained its independence in 1947 along with West Pakistan and East Pakistan.
    Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan and historically Bengal, became independent of
    West Pakistan in 1971.

    Like

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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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