Obverse. Photo © NumisCorner.com
  • 1/2 Penny 1856, KM# 5, Nova Scotia, Victoria
  • 1/2 Penny 1856, KM# 5, Nova Scotia, Victoria

The local legislature of Nova Scotia had sought the right to issue coins in 1817 and got as far as legislation being passed in Britain but this failed to gain Royal Assent. In 1824 they ordered tokens from a firm in Birmingham without seeking approval from the Home Office. These proved successful and further orders were made in 1832, 1840 and 1843. On 25 October 1855 they sought approval for a further issue. This was approved by the British Treasury and resulted in a new authorised issue in 1856 still using the word 'token', an indication that the metal content of the pieces was not full value.

There are two obverse varieties, one with and one without the designers initials (L.C.W.) below the queen's bust. It appears that the with L.C.W. was struck only as proofs. Proofs of the no L.C.W. also exist. A rare variety of the no L.C.W. was struck from a blundered die where an inverted A punch was used to repair a defective V in PROVINCE.


Diademed head of the Queen facing left, surrounded by her title, date below.

VICTORIA DEI GRATIA BRITANNIARUM REGINA FIDEI DEFENSATRIX means Victoria, by the Grace of God, of the Britains Queen, Defender of the Faith.

Victoria (1819–1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she adopted the additional title of Empress of India. She inherited the throne at the age of 18, after her father's three elder brothers had all died, leaving no surviving legitimate children. Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in 1840. Their nine children married into royal and noble families across the continent, tying them together and earning her the sobriquet "the grandmother of Europe". Her reign of 63 years and seven months is known as the Victorian era and was longer than that of any of her predecessors. It was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire.

Engraver: Leonard Charles Wyon



A branch of mayflower with leaves and blossoms.

The reverse design, a sprig of mayflower, is now the provincial flower and is considered one of the most beautiful coins made for North America.

Engraver: John S. Thompson



1/2 Penny

KM# 5 Breton# 876
Material Copper
Weight 7.6 g
Diameter 27 mm
Thickness 1.9 mm
Shape round
Alignment Medal
Heaton Mint, Birmingham (H)

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