Pre-Decimal Coins of the Realm…Part One

Pre Decimal Coinage…

We have the Farthing to start us off before moving onto the half penny, with the one penny the next inline…

three pence



two shillings

two shillings and sixpence

Ever wondered why you cannot get that coin clean or it turns pink…

Sterling Silver .925

100_0074In the reign of good Queen Bess it was decided that from 1582, British silver coins would be  composed of .925 fine silver… that means the coin is then made up of . 925 parts silver per 1000 parts of material, with the remaining balance being copper. resulting in a standard silver product renowned worldwide whether it is coins or artefacts as sterling silver, this .925 standard was maintained for coinage until 1919, whilst all coins issued prior to 1582 had various amounts of silver due to the economy of the time…

Silver .500…

100_0072In 1920, two years after the Great War it was decided most British silver coins, like the half-crown, florin, & shilling were debased to .500 fine, that is it contained only 50% silver, with the rest made up with 50% copper. if you are lucky you might still find a .925 sixpence or threepence as these two denominations were struck in both alloys for 1920,  after then all “silver” coins from 1921 to 1946 were minted in .500 fine silver..


1947 Onwards…

Again two years after the Second World War, in 1947 onwards, all the “silver” coins were replaced & made in cupro-nickel, an alloy that although being high in content of copper, it still allowed all the silver looking coins to remain a silver colour… an alloy of copper and nickel. Cupronickel or copper-nickel (CuNi) is an alloy of copper that contains nickel and strengthening elements, such as iron and manganese. The copper content typically varies from 60 to 90 percent. (Monel metal is a nickel-copper alloy that contains a minimum of 52 percent nickel.) Despite its high copper content, cupronickel is silver in colour.

Maundy Coinage…

In 1921 the maundy coins, were debased to .500 fine but in 1947 it reverted back to sterling silver, and is still struck in this metal today….

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