Great Britain 1694 1/2 penny
This specimen was lot 30639 in Heritage sale 3029 (New York, January 2014), where it sold for $282. The catalog description noted, "William & Mary copper Halfpenny 1694, XF45 Brown NGC. Rich grayish brown surfaces, mostly free of abrasion, make this an appealing example of the halfpenny of this reign. The mint had great trouble at this time producing copper blanks of proper weight and of good quality, having first tried using tin with a diamond-shaped copper plug at center but the metal reacted poorly to humid weather and quickly corroded. The production of the first milled coppers, during the reign of Charles II, seemed to go well but the metal was abandoned in favor of tin early in the reign of James II. In fact, most of the copper issues of William III reigning alone and of George I were also wretched when made, and few have survived. Anne's reign, in between, saw the issue of no coppers during her lifetime, and it was not until George II's time that really fine copper flans were made in quantity. On early pieces such as the present lot, it is highly unusual to find copper of light color, thus the darker color seen here is typical. This appealing halfpenny was struck from normal dies that were aged. The portraits on this piece are exceptional." Tin halfpence were attempted under James II 1685-87 and again under William III 1689-92. Tin farthings were a similar failure. Subsequent issues were copper, a much more stable metal.
Recorded mintage: unknown.
Catalog reference: S-3452, KM 475.3.
- Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1601-1700, 6th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2014.
- Bierrenbach, Cristiano, Stuart Levine and Bruce Lorich, Heritage World and Ancient Coins Auction 3029, featuring Selections from the Eric P. Newman Collection, Part III, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2013.
- Lobel, Richard, Mark Davidson, Allan Hailstone and Eleni Calligas, Coincraft's Standard Catalogue of English and UK Coins, 1066 to Date, London: Coincraft, 1995.
- Skingley, Philip, ed., Standard Catalogue of British Coins: Coins of England & the United Kingdom, 46th edition, London: Spink & Son, 2011.