Coins of England and Great Britain

('Coins of the UK')

by Tony Clayton


3 - Decimal One Penny


Decimal Halfpenny <<-- : -->> Decimal Two Pence

Values of Decimal Bronze coins
Pictures of Decimal One Penny Coins


The new penny weighs 3.56 grams and has a diameter of 20.32 mm. Initially issued in bronze, the material used to make the 1p coins changed to copper plated steel in 1992. Since then the only penny to appear in bronze has been the proof issue of 1999.

The copper-plated steel pence are lower in density than the bronze pence, and so are slightly thicker as the weight remained the same - a fact that becomes very evident if you compare piles of 10 coins of each type. A magnet is the easiest way of distinguishing the two types of 1992 and 1999.

Proof versions were issued in sets every year from 1971.

There are seven types of this coin.

  1. Obv: First Portrait, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D (date) starting top right
    Rev: Portcullis, 1 below, NEW PENNY above
    Bronze, issued from 1971 to 1981 (1972 in Proof only)
     
  2. Obv: First Portrait, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D (date) starting top right
    Rev: Portcullis, 1 below, ONE PENNY above
    Bronze, issued from 1982 to 1984 (n.b. some catalogues say that the 1984 coin is only obtainable from Mint and Proof sets, but this is not so - it is reasonably plentiful in circulation)
     
  3. Obv: Second Portrait, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D (date) starting low left
    Rev: Portcullis, 1 below, ONE PENNY above
    Bronze, issued from 1985 to 1992. The 1992 bronze coins are found only in the Mint Sets and Proof Sets of that year.
     
  4. Obv: Second Portrait, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D (date) starting low left
    Rev: Portcullis, 1 below, ONE PENNY above
    Copper plated steel, issued from 1992 to 1997. The 1996 version exists as a silver proof.
     
  5. Obv: Third Portrait, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D (date) starting low left. Initials IRB below bust. Beading around.
    Rev: Portcullis, 1 below, ONE PENNY above
    Copper plated steel, issued from 1998 to 2008. All dates up to 2008 are in circulation.
    Proofs: silver in 2000, 2006 and 2008; gold in 2002 and 2008; platinum in 2008.
     
  6. Obv: Third Portrait, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D (date) starting low left. Initials IRB below bust. Beading around.
    Rev: Portcullis, 1 below, ONE PENNY above
    Bronze, issued in 1999 in the Proof Set (and possibly Uncirculated Coin Set) only.
     
  7. New design
    Obv: Third Portrait, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D (date) starting low left. Initials IRB below bust. No beading.
    Rev: Left side of the Royal Arms, ONE PENNY to the left
    Copper plated steel, from 2008. 2008 to 2013 seen in circulation.
    A silver version dated 2011 was issued in a drawstring pouch for use as a Christmas Gift.
    Proofs: silver from 2008 to 2010; gold in 2008; platinum in 2008; silver piedfort in 2008.

The full designation of the 1971-2008 reverse is 'A portcullis with chains royally crowned'.


Late Use of Bronze


Production difficulties at the Royal Mint meant that during 1998 some 'copper' coins were produced in bronze instead of copper-plated steel. They can easily be distinguished by the use of a magnet.

However, the 1998 1p was only issued for circulation in a copper-plated steel form. The 1p in the 1999 Proof Set was issued in bronze instead of the usual copper plated steel.

I am most grateful to the Royal Mint for giving me this information regarding the issue of 'copper' coins in 1998 and 1999.


Reverse Die Varieties

A letter from Dr. R.M.Owens to Coin News in the January 2013 issue has brought to my notice that there are two varieties of the portcullis reverse. In Die A the bolts at the junctions of the bars are represented by raised dots, while in Die B they are represented by incuse circles. He reports that Die A is known for 1971-1994 and 2007-2008, while Die B is known for 1992-2007, with both types known for 1992-4 and 2007.


Acknowledgements

See my Main Coins Index page for acknowledgements


Links

Decimal Halfpenny <<-- : -->> Decimal Two Pence

Main History Index
Values Index
Values of Bronze (and Copper-Plated Steel) Decimal Coins
Pictures Index
Pictures of Decimal One Penny Coins

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Decimal Coins of the UK - 3 - The Decimal Penny
Copyright reserved by the author, Tony Clayton
v29 19th November 2013
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