History of the British penny (1714–1901)
The penny was a small silver coin rarely seen in circulation in the 18th century. It was principally struck to be used for Maundy money or other royal charity. In 1797 industrialist Matthew Boulton gained a contract to produce official pennies at his Soho Mint in Birmingham.
About History of the British penny (1714–1901) in brief
The penny was a small silver coin rarely seen in circulation in the 18th century. It was principally struck to be used for Maundy money or other royal charity. In 1797 industrialist Matthew Boulton gained a contract to produce official pennies at his Soho Mint in Birmingham. After that, it was not until 1825 that pennies were struck again for circulation, and the copper penny continued to be issued until 1860. By the late 1850s, the state of the copper coinage was deemed unsatisfactory, with quantities of worn oversized pieces still circulating. They were replaced by lighter bronze coins beginning in 1860; the \”Bun penny\”, named for the hairstyle of Queen Victoria on it, was issued from then until 1894. The final years of Victoria’s reign saw the \”Veiled head\” or \”Old head\” pennies, which were coined from 1895 until her death in 1901. All bear the portrait of the monarch on the obverse; copper and bronze pennies have a depiction of Britannia, the female personification of Britain, on the reverse. The Roman numeral I on the coins dated from the reign of James II, and was at first intended to denote the King’s initial in Latin but was kept a Roman numal when the twopence, threepence, and fourpence were given Arabic numerals under William III and Mary. The penny remained unaltered until 1740–1743, when other regal coins began use of a bust showing George II as an older man.
At times there was enough silver in circulation that there was at once, to be held against need against the need for silver pennies in circulation. By 1727, the price of silver was so high that any pennies struck in small quantities would not have been worth the 12 weeks’ work it would have taken to engraver to create a new dies. At the start of King George I’s reign in 1714, the English penny had been struck from silver for about a thousand years. The change in dynasty did not affect the form of the silver penny—a 12 mm diameter coin weighing 0. 5gram. The last of these were minted in 1716, 1718, 1720, 1723, 1725, 1726 and 1727; these the date of George’s death and of the accession of his son, George II. There were gaps in the penny dating as far back as 1740, when there were enough pennies for several years at a time to be struck for several months at once. There was a shortage of good money in 1787, resulting in the wide circulation of private tokens, including large coppers valued at one penny, including one penny. The chronic shortage of money resulted in the creation of the Royal Bank of England, which was established in 1791. The Royal Bank was established to provide for the needs of the public. The first Royal Bank opened in 1793.