Obverse. Photo © JNCoins
  • 1 Penny 1797, KM# 618, United Kingdom (Great Britain), George III
  • 1 Penny 1797, KM# 618, United Kingdom (Great Britain), George III

In 1797 Matthew Boulton was authorised by the government to strike copper pennies and twopences at his Soho Mint, in Birmingham. It was believed that the face value of a coin should correspond to the value of the material it was made from, so each coin was made from two pence worth of copper (2 ounces). The large size of the coins, combined with the thick rim where the inscription was incuse i.e. punched into the metal rather than standing proud of it, led to the coins being nicknamed Cartwheels. Many have survived being used as weights for kitchen scales, and thus battered and worn.

This type was struck in copper by Boulton for several years after 1797 with no change in date, along with some later strikes in a variety of metals. Further restrikes were produced by W.J. Taylor when he bought the dies in 1848; the chief way these later issues can be distinguished is by marks resulting from die corrosion.

Engraver: Conrad Heinrich Küchler


A right-facing laureated portrait of George III, and incused into the rim are the words GEORGIUS III·D·G·REX. The initial K appears on the lowest fold of the drapery at the base of the effigy, indicating that the design is the work of the German engraver Conrad Heinrich Kuchler.

George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 1738 – 29 January 1820) was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of the two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death.

His life and reign, which were longer than any other British monarch before him, were marked by a series of military conflicts involving his kingdoms, much of the rest of Europe, and places farther afield in Africa, the Americas and Asia. Early in his reign, Great Britain defeated France in the Seven Years' War, becoming the dominant European power in North America and India. However, many of Britain's American colonies were soon lost in the American Revolutionary War. Further wars against revolutionary and Napoleonic France from 1793 concluded in the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

In the later part of his life, George III had recurrent, and eventually permanent, mental illness. Although it has since been suggested that he had the blood disease porphyria, the cause of his illness remains unknown. After a final relapse in 1810, a regency was established, and George III's eldest son, George, Prince of Wales, ruled as Prince Regent.



Seated Britannia, facing left, holding an olive branch and trident. There are waves about her feet, with a small ship to the left and a Union Jack shield below and to the right. Date below on border. Soho mint mark (the word 'SOHO' below-right of the shield).

Although the archetypical image of Britannia seated with a shield first appeared on Roman bronze coins of the 1st century AD struck under Hadrian, Britannia's first appearance on British coinage was on the farthing in 1672, though earlier pattern versions had appeared in 1665, followed by the halfpenny later the same year.



1 Penny

KM# 618 Sp# 3777
Material Copper
Weight 28.35 g
Diameter 36 mm
Thickness 2 mm
Shape round
Alignment Coin
Soho Mint

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