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Old pence

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Old pence

For the historic penny of England, see Penny (English coin). For the British penny in current usage, see Penny (British decimal coin). For silver pennies produced after 1820, see Maundy money.
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The penny of the Kingdom of Great Britain and later of the United Kingdom, was in circulation from the early 18th century until 15 February 1971, Decimal Day.

Twelve pence (pennies) made one shilling, a shilling was  120 of a pound, and a penny was  1240 of a pound. To express an amount, "penny" was abbreviated to "d," from the first letter of the Roman term denarius.

History

The coin's predecessor, the English silver penny, weighed 24 grains of sterling silver in 1279. Over the centuries that weight had declined to 12 grains and lower.

British silver pennies were minted until about 1750, then occasionally until about 1820; thereafter, they were only minted for Maundy money.

From 1797, pennies for general circulation were minted in copper and were extremely heavy.

Miscellaneous

Pre-decimal penny coins continue to be used to adjust the timing of the pendulum of the clock in the Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster, commonly known as "Big Ben".

In the United States, other than the known uses in numismatics, British Pennies are also used in coin magic, because they are at contrast with the just slightly smaller US half dollar (the half dollar is 30.61 mm in diameter compared to the 31 mm in British Pennies), with their copper sheen compared to the silver in half dollars. Indeed, many routines involve a copper-silver transposition, in which a British Penny and a half dollar change places.

Pennies by period

Media

References

  • Coincraft's Standard Catalogue English & UK Coins 1066 to Date, Richard Lobel, Coincraft. ISBN 0-9526228-8-2

External links

  • British Coins - information about British coins (from 1656 to 1952)
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