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Why weren't British half pennies minted in 1961 ?

Seem like they were minted every year even when the penny wasn't. Haven't been able to find anything on it. Probably looking in the wrong place.


  • Also none in 1968-1970 or 1972?

    They often stop when there are enough in circulation.

  • sellitstoresellitstore Posts: 2,354 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If a country can produce enough coins to alternate denominations producing some every other year, it seems that there could be cost savings and greater efficiency.

    Collector and dealer in obsolete currency. Always buying all obsolete bank notes and scrip.
  • robp2robp2 Posts: 141 ✭✭✭✭

    The clearing banks order coins from the Royal Mint based on retail demand. No 1961 dated coins can mean either no orders were put in for halfpennies in 1961, or more likely, if the mint had stocks dated for prior years, they would use them to satisfy orders. At no point does the mint determine how many of each denomination are released to the public.

    Halfpennies were minted in most years because they were the hardest working of the 3 base metal coins, with most Victorian coins worn flat. Mint state halfpennies are scarcer than either pennies or farthings.

    Another point for consideration is the farthing which was demonetised in 1960. One would assume that to take up the slack, an increased number of halfpennies would be struck in anticipation of rounded prices. The large quantities of 1959 halfpennies seen are probably a result of this, with the surplus lasting through the following year as well.

    Halfpennies were struck in 1968, but all were dated 1967. 1969 and 70 I'm not sure, but don't think so. By 1972 we had gone decimal, so the old penny and halfpenny were withdrawn on changeover day (15th Feb. 1971), due to their inconvenient values of 0.41666 and 0.20833 pence respectively.

  • SapyxSapyx Posts: 1,957 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @John Conduitt said:
    Also none in 1968-1970...?

    Pre-decimal coins were still being struck after 1967, but using the 1967 date. This is why the 1967 mintages are much higher than previous years.

    Why? It's all about public perception. Britain passed the Decimal Currency Act in 1967, officially putting Britain on the path to decimal currency and scheduling the timetable for withdrawal and destruction of predecimal coinage that did not easily fit into the new decimal system (basically, everything smaller than a shilling). But Britain still needed a sufficient predecimal coinage supply right up to decimal day. Shillings and florins were not struck, but rather their decimal replacements (5p and 10p), and these had 1968 and 1969 dates on them.

    But sixpences and below were struck with 1967 dates during these years because there was a perception that the public would wonder why the government was wasting money producing coins that were already scheduled to be withdrawn and destroyed within a year or two. Thus, the pretense of the 1967 date, allowing people to believe that all those mint-fresh predecimal coins were made before the decision to go decimal was finalized and the Act was passed.

    Australia had done the same a few years earlier. A large number of "1964" dated Australia coins were actually made in 1965, but the public perception issue caused them to be antedated to 1964.

    None of which answers the OP's question.

    @DoubleDime said:
    Why weren't British half pennies minted in 1961 ?

    The simple answer is "because the Mint wasn't asked to make any by Treasury". Which only passes on the question to asking why Treasury didn't order any. Surpluses from orders placed in previous years are a likely explanation, but there is another source of unexpected coins. During the 1950s and 1960s, Britain's empire was contracting. Colonies formerly using British coins were now making their own coinage, and the old British coins would then be repatriated back to Britain.

    Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.
    Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, "Meditations"

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  • wybritwybrit Posts: 6,952 ✭✭✭

    The old halfpenny was demonetized July 31 1969 ahead of decimalisation, so it's less likely pieces were struck in 1969 bearing the date 1967. The only 1970 pieces were part of the "farewell to £sd" set minted after (the other) d-day, perhaps 1973, but I can't find the reference to back up that claim.

    Former owner, Cambridge Gate collection.
  • wybritwybrit Posts: 6,952 ✭✭✭

    BTW, Sapyx's assumptions and theories about "why none in 1961" probably are true. There were tons of halfpennies circulating about, including ones from the bun head Victorian era. I was there pre d-day. I went through rolls of halfpennies in Great Yarmouth in the mid 60's looking for dates to put in a Whitman folder. I found this one in one of the rolls:

    Former owner, Cambridge Gate collection.
  • 7Jaguars7Jaguars Posts: 7,180 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 29, 2023 10:20PM

    I agree also re: reasons for striking halfpennies; also the purchasing power had dwindled considerably. Interestingly, even in the ex-colonies, we were taught to add, multiply and divide sums in pounds, shillings, pence and EVEN GUINEAS in 1967 & 1968! The last 1970 coins "Farewell to LSD" were struck in proof, almost without exception.
    Well, I have a "currency" 1970 halfpenny struck in iron (MS67), although bearing a need for XRF - extremely rare and NOT proof. Will show a picture tomorrow...

    Love that Milled British (1830-1960)
    Well, just Love coins, period.
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