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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
· 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.
Value, ship Golden Hind and date below.