Great Britain 1856 penny

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Heritage sale 3010, lot 21163
Great Britain 1856 penny rev Heritage 3010-21163.jpg

This specimen was lot 21163 in Heritage sale 3010 (Boston, August 2010), where it sold for $2,990. The catalog description[1] noted, "Victoria Penny 1856, Young Head, O[rnamental] T[rident], far colon, key date, MS63 RB PCGS, tightly graded as most of the golden mint red luster remains, strike is bold with an almost medallic portrait and Britannia showing all tiny details fully struck, very few marks and those quite insignificant, and importantly no streaks in the color or carbon blemishes, which mar most of the big copper pennies seen. Faint diebreak from the point of the bust. Slight ghosting of some letters in the legend. All in all, one of the most impressive Victorian coins in this sale, a highlight of this outstanding collection where quality was the watchword, and a truly rare coin in this fabulous grade. 2010 SCBC value for 'Unc' is £2,000 for this date and variety. From the Guilford Courthouse Collection." The copper pennies of Victoria were issued 1841-60 in fairly large quantities but are scarce compared to the massive issues of the smaller bronze pennies of 1860-94. The pure copper composition also caused the coins to wear more quickly than bronze, making high grade specimens even scarcer. Like the United States large cents of the same period, many varieties exist, avidly pursued by specialists. This is a key date.

Recorded mintage: 1,212,000 (all varieties).

Specification: copper.

Catalog reference: KM 739; S.3948.


  • [1]Tucker, Warren, Scott Cordry and John Kraljevich, Heritage Sale 3010: World Coins, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2010.
  • Skingley, Philip, ed., Standard Catalogue of British Coins: Coins of England & the United Kingdom, 46th edition, London: Spink & Son, 2011.
  • Michael, Thomas, and Tracy L. Schmidt, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 9th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2019.
  • Bressett, Kenneth E., A Guide Book of English Coins, Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, 2nd Ed., Racine, WI: Whitman Publishing, 1962.
  • Lobel, Richard, Mark Davidson, Allan Hailstone and Eleni Calligas, Coincraft's Standard Catalogue of English and UK Coins, 1066 to Date, London: Coincraft, 1995.
  • Freeman, Michael J., The Bronze Coinage of Great Britain, Rev. Ed., London: Spink & Son, 2006.
  • Peck, C. Wilson, English Copper, Tin and Bronze Coins in the British Museum, 1558-1958, 2nd Ed., London: Oxford University Press, 1970.

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