British & English Copper Coin collecting

GEORGE III HALFPENNY

GEORGE III HALFPENNY

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Name: King George III
Full Name: George William Frederick
Born: June 4, 1738 at Norfolk House, St. James Square, London
Parents: Frederick Prince of Wales, and Augusta of Saxe-Gotha
Relation to Elizabeth II: 3rd great-grandfather
House of: Hanover
Ascended to the throne: October 25, 1760 aged 22 years
Crowned: September 22, 1761 at Westminster Abbey
Married: Charlotte, daughter of Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Children: Ten sons including George IV and William IV, and six daughters
Died: January 29, 1820 at Windsor Castle, aged 81 years, 7 months, and 24 days
Buried at: Windsor
Reigned for: 59 years, 3 months, and 2 days
Succeeded by: his son George IV

George III unlike his father and grandfather was born in England. He became heir to the throne when his brother Frederick Prince of Wales died in 1751. In 1761 after an official search for a suitable wife he married Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz whom he first met on his wedding day. The couple enjoyed a happy marriage and he never took a mistress. They had 16 children including George (later George IV) and William (who became William IV) and they were married for 57 years. George III died at Windsor Castle on 29 January 1820, after a reign of almost 60 years the third longest in British history and was succeeded by his son George IV.

The first issue of George III halfpennies was in 1770 ten years after his accession, it was a short run coinage of only 6 years which ended in 1775 and by the late 1780`s its said that 8% of copper coins in circulation were genuine regal coins the rest were counterfeit. In 1797 Matthew Boulton was awarded a contract to make copper coins to put a stop to counterfeit coins once and for all from his Soho mint which was created in 1788, from this mint came the two and one penny cartwheel coinage that we all know today.

Matthew Boulton fully intended to mint halfpenny and farthings in the same design as patterns exist but the government of the day prevented this, the reason why is there was so much counterfeit and tradesman tokens in circulation that Mr Boulton would be unable to cope with the demand for his new copper coinage of intrinsic value and would drive all counterfeit and tokens out of circulation.

In 1798 a contract was awarded to Matthew Boulton from the government to mint halfpenny and farthing dated 1799 as public demand was now so strong for legal halfpenny and farthing of intrinsic value the government had no choice but to give in. By the time the coins were minted copper had risen in price and the 1799 coins were not popular with the public as they were lighter, and again copper had risen in price so the 1806 and 1807 coinage was even lighter.

The first coinage was designed by either Richard Yeo or Thomas Pingo both soho issues 1799 and 1806,07 were by Conrad Heinrich Kuchler. The George III copper issues are easier to find in higher grades than previous reigns and considering how many were melted down to make counterfeit ( Evasion ) there must have been a vast amount minted. Counterfeit coins can make interesting study pieces and some are worth quite a lot of money.

Any new collector wanting to buy George III copper please be aware as some counterfeit halfpennies and farthings look very conniving whilst others look as if a child has designed and minted them. Understand when buying these coins and taking into consideration how coins are sold via the internet these days the sellers are not always professional dealers as they once were, and some modern age internet sellers can sometimes be unaware of the difference resulting in selling a counterfeit halfpenny or farthing to a inexperience collector.

Grade ! there are a fair few collectors now who will not entertain coins unless near perfect or in a plastic box with a hologram, most people just don`t have the money to collect like this and to be honest to have a coin in your hand with a little wear can set an imagination wondering  who owned it, were was it spent, and so on. My advise is to buy the best you can afford, you may well collect at a slower rate but your always be happy with what you have and soon forget the ones you could not have.

GEORGE III Halfpennies

Minimum & Maximum weight 1770-1775 issue 9.2-10.8 grams, size 29-30 mm. Rev alignment is down.

Minimum & Maximum weight 1799 issue 12.0-13.1 grams, size 30-31 mm. Rev alignment is down.

Minimum & Maximum weight 1806-1807 issue 9.2-9.8 grams, size 29 mm. Rev alignment is down.

 


 

GEORGE III HALFPENNIES FIRST ISSUE 1770-1775.

 

Reverse A has a round bulbous shield very similar to George II halfpenny series.

Reverse B has a flat shield unlike the George II halfpenny series there is also a large gap to the edge of the shield almost as if is double struck only in that part of the shield.

Obverse 1 & obverse 2 are very similar and share similarities with the first farthing issue, apart from minor facial differences the easiest way to tell obverse 1 & 2 apart is the positioning of three leaves on the top of Georges head, on obverse 2 the two outer leaves are level with the center leaf the highest and on obverse 1 the left leaf is the lowest right leaf next and the center leave the highest, this is a more reliable way of telling especially when a coin is worn.


 

 

George III halfpennies 1770.

 

 

GIIIH70. George III halfpenny  1770 normal issue  Halfpenny weighs 9.82 grams & 29 mm in size. This year is certainly an uncommon date along with 1774, 1775. Halfpenny grades reverse nearly extremely fine / obverse good very fine or slightly better.

 

 

 

GIIIH701. George III halfpenny 1770 No reverse stop & Farthing 7 ? entered next to second 7.  Halfpenny weighs 10.03 grams & about 29 mm in size. An absolutely fantastic find with both anomaly’s clear, a super grade and extremely rare. Halfpenny grades very fine and is the 2nd ive seen or herd of with no mention of these examples threw out the halfpenny archives.

 

 

 

GIIIH702. George III halfpenny 1770 First A in Britannia unbarred. Halfpenny weighs 8.93 grams & almost 29 mm in size, sadly a detecting find but the unbarred A is 100% a yes. Halfpenny grades extremely fine in poor condition.

 

 

 

GIIIH703. George III halfpenny 1770 zero in date is over side ways zero Halfpenny weighs 10.44 grams & 28 mm in size, this halfpenny would have been on a heavy flan when first struck as its 0.36 grams under the maximum weight. It probably would have weighed about 11.5 grams ish, as grading only good fair im confident 1 gram would be lost to general wear.

 

 


 

 

George III halfpennies 1771.

 

 

GIIIH71. George III halfpenny  1771 normal issue  Halfpenny weighs 9.51 grams & 28.5mm in size. Ball below spear blade, halfpenny grades reverse nearly extremely fine / obverse good very fine.

 

 

 

GIIIH711. George III 1771 Halfpenny  1 over lower 1  Halfpenny weighs 9.89 grams & 28.75 mm in size, Britannia spear has a ball below spear blade. Halfpenny grades good very fine.

 

 

 

GIIIH712. George III 1771 Halfpenny Remarkably a straight central date  Halfpenny weighs 9.89 & practically 30 mm in size.  No ball below spear blade and quite strange to see a date so neat and tidy on this halfpenny series. Halfpenny grades nearly extremely fine with surface issues.

 

 

GIIIH713. George III 1771 Halfpenny B over R in BRITANNIA Halfpenny weighs 10.03 grams & 28.5 mm in size. Im not surprised any more by this type of mistake, it must have been quite difficult to see the end of a letter punch in lamp light especially when two letters are similar, R` s & B` s, E` s & L` s. Halfpenny grades a problem free reverse fine / obverse nearly very fine.

 

 


 

 

George III halfpennies 1772.

 

 

GIIIH72. George III halfpenny 1772  Missing G in GEORGIVS says GEORIVS  Halfpenny weighs 9.92 grams & 29 mm in size, BMC number 900 & Dr Nicholson number 280. Ive only seen 8 examples to date. A very rare halfpenny which grades very fine or better.

 

 

 

GIIIH721. George III halfpenny 1772  Ball below spear head  Halfpenny weighs 9.45 grams & 29 mm in size. Halfpenny grades reverse good very fine / obverse nearly extremely fine.

 

 

 

GIIIH722. George III halfpenny 1772  No stop on reverse  Halfpenny weighs 9.21 grams & 28.5 mm in size. No doubt a rare coin and very rare in higher grades, halfpenny grades reverse fine / obverse good fair and problem free.

 

 

 

GIIIH723. George III halfpenny 1772  B over R or R over B in Britannia ?  Halfpenny weighs 9.60 grams & 28 mm in size.  This could well be a defective B punch ? but if genuine make this the sole example seen to date. Halfpenny grades reverse fine / obverse good fine.

 

 

 

GIIIH724. George III halfpenny 1772  2 or 0 ? over 2 in date  Halfpenny weighs 9.35 grams & almost 29 mm in size. I have a gut feeling its a 0, but is probably a 2, though i would expect the bottom horizontal part of the 2 to be 50% thicker which its not.

The possibilities of a 0 could well be founded for these two reasons, the under 2 as its lower should give the appearance of a swan neck 2, also as the top 2 curve ends a very small piece of the under 2 can be seen protruding, this should be far longer which has almost for sure been obliterated to prevent the appearance of a swan neck 2.  Lastly though not a reason to prove the existence of a 0 the last seven has been re-punched suggesting 72 over 70 ?. Halfpenny grades a problem free fine with over date very clear.

 

 

GIIIH725.  George III halfpenny 1772 2 over lower 2 in date. Halfpenny weighs 9.50 grams & 28.5 mm in size, not seen that often and a 30% miss. Halfpenny grades a problem free good fair.

 

 

 

 


 

George III halfpennies 1773.

 

GIIIH73. George III halfpenny 1773  Extra stop on reverse stop after first N  Halfpenny weighs 9.75 grams & 29 mm in size, this extra stop also exist on a George II halfpenny 1730 my reference GIIH302 please see pictures. Its quite possible and more than likely the prepare of this die honestly believed this stop should be there provided its genuine of course. But to me this halfpenny looks genuine and must be extremely rare thus adding to my frustration to prove genuine due to the lack of available specimens. Halfpenny grades reverse fine / obverse good fair and problem free.

 

 

GIIIH731. George III halfpenny 1773  No stop on reverse  Halfpenny weighs 9.75 grams & 29 mm in size, ive only seen 7 no stop reverse on this 1773 date but im unsure to what obverse they had. BMC number 906 & Dr Nicholson number 288 but not quite as this halfpenny has the same reverse as 288 and BMC 906 but a different obverse. In my opinion the 1773 is rarer than the 1772 and i was very lucky to acquire this example.

I do believe along with the GIIIH73 example the die preparer truly believed there was no stop after Britannia and was unaware of the mistake he made. The first 7 in the date is over a higher 7 though the other date numbers seem normal, a very rare halfpenny indeed which grades good very fine with some spots on reverse.

 

GIIIH731A. George III halfpenny 1773  No stop reverse  Halfpenny weighs 9.43 grams & practically 30 mm in size. An identical halfpenny to above, less spots of course. Halfpenny grades reverse good fine/obverse overall fine and completely problem free with an attractive tone, though is may have been dipped at some point in its life.

 

 

GIIIH732. George III halfpenny 1773  B over Angled R in Britannia Ball under spear blade  Halfpenny weighs 10.14 grams This specimen is the sole example ive seen of this type of halfpenny theirs also a similar 1739 halfpenny with the same angled over strike in this collection. There`s some signs of double die striking on Britannia`s trident to her left along with the third I of III this is due to the servant die moving clockwise by a few degrees ( probably once in this case due to the weakness ) whilst striking a working die for coin production.

Under close scrutiny some detail corresponds with a working die that needed three or four blows from a servant one of those blows or strikes twisted slightly leaving a faint doubling around the spear top.

The lower doubling has become quit rough and bulbous to the left of Britannia`s knee.

As with all die preparation the legend letters and date were added last and the now new working die was ready for service with its B over angled R along with various double struck areas soon to be vanished with service. This halfpenny would have lost most or all of these details on a lower grade specimen even the first examples would be very difficult to identify. An extremely rare coin with an interesting story to tell Halfpenny grades reverse really good very fine / obverse very fine +.

 

 

 

GIIIH733. George III halfpenny 1773 B over R in Britannia and probably 3 over 7 Halfpenny weighs 8.89 grams & 28 mm in size. Wow ! does this series of halfpenny coins ever disappoint. A superb find which grades nearly very fine.

 


 

George III halfpennies 1774.

 

GIIIH74. George III halfpenny 1774  Ball below spear head broken A bar  Halfpenny weighs 9.87 grams & 28.25 mm in size. Ive seen very few halfpennies with broken bars, the  spray of leaves is level with first N of Britannia, 1774 is a fairly scarce year and is rare in higher grades with luster.

The broken bar in the last A in Britannia goes to show this can happen and once the serifs have worn and in time whats left of the bar will also disappear leaving a full unbarred A or an inverted V for the optimist, on this series at least. Halfpenny grades good very fine or better.

 

 

GIIIH741. George III halfpenny 1774  Inverted A for V in GEORGIVS  Halfpenny weighs 9.53 grams & almost 29 mm in size, this the sole specimen i have ever seen or heard of. Britannia’s spray of leaves is level with the first N of Britannia with a triple exergue on reverse. An inverted A in GEORGIVS  does exist on the 1775 farthing and is extremely rare in higher grades.

This is the second George III halfpenny ive seen with an inverted A for V in GEORGIVS the other is next in this list. An extremely rare halfpenny and maybe rarer in this wonderful high grade, a superb example which grades reverse good extremely fine  / obverse nearly uncirculated.

 

 


 

 

GEORGE III Halfpennies 1775.

 

 

GIIIH75. George III halfpenny 1775  Inverted A for V in GEORGIVS 5 over 5, 3,or 4  Halfpenny weighs 9.99 grams & 28.5 mm in size, this is the sole specimen ive ever seen or heard of. N just under Britannia’s spray of leaves, an inverted A in Georgivs does exist on the farthing of the same year of 1775. Extremely rare and possibly rarer,  a super example which grades nearly very fine.

 

 


 

SOHO ISSUE 1799 Various gun ports.

 

Theirs a little boat on the left sea horizon with can often be the subject of debate, even for clever collectors such as Doctor Nicholson who did spend some time studying the ship. Theirs many different types, some with only minor differences, these differences consist around the amount of gun or cannon ports; plain hulls which could be worn away gun ports, the amount of hull visible or not visible, and even the size and arrangement of the gun ports.

I do honestly believe the boat was added by a separate punch or probably a series of smaller punches, building up detail as you go, an open cheque book if you like though probably some type of mint mark to track how many were minted, along with the raised obverse shoulder stop which varies in location.

Remembering this second copper issue was to replace 92% of copper halfpenny & farthing in circulation which was of counterfeit ! origin, or often referred to as evasion coinage. This coinage was smaller; lighter, often crude looking as if a child had prepared the portrait, and lastly of impure copper. The earlier evasions were of melted regal mint issue coins but latter issues were of impure ( contaminants in the metal ) copper.

Most evasion coins are very similar to regal issues, they were nicknamed brumigems by common folk as most were produced by highly organized gangs of criminals mainly around the midlands and Birmingham area. Made light in weight and on the small side, these evasion coins were deliberately weakly struck then pan fried after tea time to tone and remove there luster in an attempted to give the impression of well circulated copper coins to reduce suspicion.

But its the unsuccessful gangs who`s coins were of rubbish and crude design are most desirable by collectors, they sell for hundreds of pounds sometimes excess of a thousand pounds if the coin; time, and place are right.

If my boat theory true, this would account for the different types and the need to keep account of mintage numbers in a mass production of copper halfpenny & farthings as the variety of boats never seem to alter the portrait of Britannia, regardless of how many new types of ship variants come to light and its this which helps support my theory.

 

 


 

 

GIIIH99. George III halfpenny 1799 Last 9 in date missing  Halfpenny weighs 11.85 grams & 30 mm  in size. Possibly been rubbed away ? or struck this way. Halfpenny grades reverse good fine / obverse really good fine.

 

 

 

 

GIIIH991. George III halfpenny 1799 5 large incurse gun ports  Halfpenny weighs 12.99 grams &  30 mm in size. 5 incurse gun ports is the most common design ship to find on these 1799 Soho issue halfpennies. Halfpenny grades almost uncirculated.

 

 

 

 

GIIIH992. George III halfpenny 1799 6 raised gun ports  Halfpenny weighs 12.05 grams & 30 mm in size. A little bit more uncommon than 5 incurse gun ports. If gun ports are blundered as often they are its best to count along the top as sometimes the gun port silhouettes can be visible. Halfpenny grades extremely fine.

 

 

 

 

GIIIH993.  George III halfpenny 1799 7 or 8 raised gun ports Halfpenny grades 12.67 grams & 30.25 mm in size. Ive Seen very few decent example of extra gun ports and heard of many various claims of extra or less gun ports but seen know hard evidence as many pictures fail to capture this tiny boats guns properly. This picture is of seven gun ports but port seven is squeezed in like an after thought. Halfpenny grades good extremely fine with proof like surfaces.

 

 

 

 

GIIIH994. George III halfpenny 1799 9 or 10 raised gun ports Halfpenny weighs 13.23 grams & 30 mm in size. There`s know doubt in my mind there’s 9 gun ports but another port has been squeezed in on the top row of three making a row of four, ten in total. Halfpenny grades practically uncirculated.

 

 

 

GIIIH994. George III halfpenny 1799 10 Raised Gun Ports As above halfpenny. Halfpenny weighs 12.57 grams & 30 mm in size. This example is the same as the above example, as the die flaw proves this coin does have 10 guns. There may well be two more guns as there is room, with some suspicious ghosting in that room.

It just goes to prove that a better example can make all the difference. Halfpenny grades nearly extremely fine, even though this example is a lesser grade than the above, its an example that was closer to the front of the production line of this die.

 

 

GIIIH995. George III halfpenny 1799 double struck boat  Halfpenny weighs 12.93 grams & 30 mm in size. This is certainly the first specimen ive seen of a double struck boat. In front of this little boat there’s 20% more boat. This has blundered the main part of the hull and maybe one gun can be seen or possibly none. This could be the plain hull type which is listed in a popular high street catalog but the writers of this catalog have been wrong before in the past so all in all the plain hull type might be just another die flaw which has misled many collectors. Halfpenny grades really good very fine with some surface issues.

 

 

 

GIIIH996. George III halfpenny 1799 Boat low to water line and my first 1799 halfpenny Halfpenny weighs 12.34 grams & 30 mm in size. The boat does seem very low to the water line on this example, this is also my first 1799 halfpenny i brought from George street Hastings with my pocket money when returning from a fossil hunting trip. Halfpenny grades reverse good very fine / obverse very fine.

 

 

 

 

GIIIH997. George III halfpenny 1799 5 small incurse gun ports  Certainly the most common gun configuration but this example has the shoulder stop to the far left, proofs and patterns will have the stop to the far right with a K about center. These halfpennies including farthings where produced by the skip load which did finally stop the counterfeiters. Halfpenny grades nearly uncirculated.

 

 

 

GIIIH998. George III halfpenny 1799 5 very small incurse gun ports  30 mm in size  & 12.12 grams in weight. Even incurse gun ports vary, they must have been struck with different tools or at least a stronger or weaker hand. This example has the shoulder stop to the far left, halfpenny grades very fine with reverse a little stronger.

 

 

 

GIIIH999. George III halfpenny 1799 Raised Line on Hull with 5 small incurse gun ports. 30 mm in size & 12.55 grams in weight. Probably one of the rarest types of boat designs. Halfpenny grades uncirculated and the possibly most desirable type of boat design.

 

 

 

GIIIH9910. George III halfpenny 1799 8 raised guns with a clumsy re-entered date. 13.00 grams & 29.75 mm in size. The extra 2 guns are located at the lower rear of the boat, the double decker part. Halfpenny grades good very fine with an attractive tone.

 

 

 

GIIIH9911. George III halfpenny 1799 Much more rigging than normal with 5 small incurse guns 12.71 grams & 30 mm in size. A freshly struck little boat or more rigging than normally encountered. A pleasing problem free almost extremely fine problem free halfpenny.

 

 

 

 

GIIIH9912. George III halfpenny 1799 7 raised guns 12.84 grams & 30 mm in size. A few thousand more halfpennies from this die would probably produce a plain hull. Now knowing this, extra caution is needed when presented with a plain hull type halfpenny.

Halfpenny grades practically very fine with a very week striking on the boat.

 

 


 

Last Soho mintage 1806 & 1807.

 

There are no real verities other than with or with out berries as the production of this coin is now considered modern though there are mis-strikes as you would expect in any coinage. 

 

GIIIH06. George III halfpenny 1806 No berries on olive branch Soho not underlined  Halfpenny weighs 9.33 grams & 28.5 mm in size. Halfpenny grades nearly extremely fine and nicely toned.

 

 

GIIIH061. George III halfpenny 1806 Three berries on olive branch Soho underlined Halfpenny weighs 9.56 grams & 28.5 mm in size. Halfpenny grades nearly uncirculated.

 

 

GIIIH062. George III halfpenny 1806 proof  No berries on olive branch Soho not underlined Halfpenny weighs 9.46 grams & 28.5 mm  in size. This proof has been circulated accidentally and succumb to environmental damage, halfpenny grades nearly extremely fine.

 

 

GIIIH063. George III halfpenny 1806 Miss-strike of some sort Halfpenny weighs 4.62 grams & 29.75 mm in size. Certainly an unusual piece with half the weight and slightly over sized.

Halfpenny grades very fine along with a grained or milled edge.

 

 

GIIIH07. George III halfpenny 1807  Three berries on olive branch Soho underlined  Halfpenny weighs 9.46 grams & 28.5 mm in size. All these last issue Soho halfpennies are in abundance, high grade examples turn often and can purchased at a good price. Its all down to how you collect ? either with brilliance or attractive toning.  Halfpenny grades about extremely fine.

 

 

GIIIH071. George III halfpenny 1807 Three berries on olive branch soho underlined Halfpenny weighs 9.40 grams & 28.5 mm in size. Very pretty tone and a little less common than the 1806. Halfpenny grades extremely fine.