Great Britain 1686 half penny

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Heritage sale 3073, lot 31092
GB H3073-31092r.jpg

This specimen was lot 31092 in Heritage sale 3073 (Chicago, April 2019), where it sold for $1,800. The catalog description[1]B noted, "James II tin 1/2 Penny 1686 AU58 NGC. The highest certified example of this year by either NGC or PCGS; considering the volatility of tin and its susceptibility to corrosion, AU58 is an incredible grade for this type and near-unbeatable. A pleasing gunmetal gray in color with a high-quality planchet, almost entirely round save for a light edge flaw at 9 o'clock, all details properly struck up and present. For the serious collector of British Halfpennies this is an unmatched opportunity to obtain a premium James II specimen, the entire denomination under this short-reigned monarch represented in this unstable metal. From the Lake County Collection." 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.

Specification: tin with a copper plug.

Catalog reference: KM 448, S-3419, Peck-543.


  • [1]Bierrenbach, Cristiano and Warren Tucker, Heritage World and Ancient Coins Auction 3073, featuring the Lake County Collection of British coins, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2019.
  • Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1601-1700, 6th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2014.
  • 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.

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