Great Britain 1685 half penny

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Goldberg sale 89, lot 1042

This specimen was lot 1042 in Goldberg sale 89 (New York, January 2016), where it sold for $11,408. The catalog description[1] noted, "James II (1685-1688). Tin Halfpenny, with copper insert at centre, 1685. Laureate and draped bust right, legend around without terminal stop. Rev. Britannia seated left on globe, with olive branch, spear and shield, legend around, plain exergue, edge inscribed in raised letters, NUMMORVM* FAMVLVS* 1685 *. Still the finest known James II Tin Halfpenny known, a few tiny corrosion spots, otherwise good extremely fine with plenty of mint lustre. Of the highest rarity this well preserved. ex Entwistle Collection, Spink Auction 75, lot 357, illustrated on colour plate and back cover of catalogue; ex Dr Terry Aitken Collection, Canada, purchased by Colin Cooke 1996; ex Dr Basil Nicholson Collection, online auction, Colin Cooke 2005, lot 27." This type of 1685-87 is not rare but very scarce in collectible condition. The alloy, chosen to promote the product of Cornish tin mines, was a disaster as a coin, corroding very rapidly. British authorities demonstrated their inability to learn from their mistake by persisting in the production of tin farthings and halfpennies until 1692.

Recorded mintage: unknown but scarce.

Specification: tin with copper plug, this specimen 11.07 g.

Catalog reference: Peck 539; S 3419, KM 448.


  • 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.
  • Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1601-1700, 6th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2014.
  • [1]Goldberg, Ira, and Larry Goldberg, Goldberg Sale 89, Los Angeles: Goldberg Coins and Collectibles, 2015.

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