The British pre-decimal halfpenny (½d) coin, usually simply known as a halfpenny, was a unit of currency that equalled half of a penny or 1/480th of a pound sterling. Originally the halfpenny was minted in copper, but after 1860 it was minted in bronze.

The original coin was not often called a 'half penny', neither was the plural said as 'half pence'. The usual pronunciation sounded like 'hayp-knee' referring to a single coin or 'haypunce' in the plural.

Extensive variations in design continued throughout the reign of Elizabeth II:

· Reverse A - L of HALF at a bead, smaller teeth
· Reverse B - L of HALF between beads, longer teeth

· Obverse 3 / Reverse C - D of DEI between beads, I of DEI nearly at a bead, L of HALF between beads
· Obverse 3 / Reverse D - D of DEI between beads, I of DEI nearly at a bead, L of HALF at a bead
· Obverse 4 / Reverse D - D of DEI at a bead, I of DEI between beads, L of HALF at a bead

1957 (reverse)
· Calm Sea
· Normal (rough) Sea

· Reverse E - 18.75 mm from mainmast to base of sea
· Reverse F - 19.00 mm from mainmast to base of sea
· Reverse G - 19.00 mm from mainmast to base of sea, shorter border teeth

· Normal rim: I of GRATIA directly at a tooth
· Wide rim: I of GRATIA slightly to the left of a tooth


First portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II (laureate bust) facing right, wearing a wreath. It was introduced in 1953, one year after the Queen acceded to the throne. It captures the grace and youth of the 26-year-old new Queen. Her hair is restrained by a laureate crown which is tied with ribbons at the back of her head. The Queen's shoulders are bare and the truncation follows the curve of the coin. The engravers initials M.G. are incuse, generally faint, and are located on the raised edge found at the base of the bust.

ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA BRITANNIARUM OMNIUM REGINA FIDEI DEFENSATRIX means Elizabeth the Second, by the grace of God, Queen and Defender of the Faith.

Engraver: Mary Gillick



Value, ship Golden Hind and date below.

Golden Hind was an English galleon best known for her privateering circumnavigation of the globe between 1577 and 1580, captained by Sir Francis Drake. She was originally known as Pelican, but was renamed by Drake mid-voyage in 1578, in honour of his patron, Sir Christopher Hatton, whose crest was a golden 'hind' (a female deer). Hatton was one of the principal sponsors of Drake's world voyage.

Engraver: Thomas Humphrey Paget



1/2 Penny

1st portrait, without BRITT:OMN
KM# 896 Sp# 4158
Material Bronze
Weight 5.7 g
Diameter 25.4 mm
Thickness 1.3 mm
Shape round
Alignment Medal

Related coins

1st portrait

Copper, 9.45 g, ⌀ 28 mm
2nd portrait

Bronze, 5.7 g, ⌀ 25.4 mm

Bronze, 5.6 g, ⌀ 25.5 mm