George V Halfpennies

In my experience, high grade halfpennies are harder to come by than pennies from this era - more difficult than most other denominations, I'd say.  The early part of the reign is plagued by weak strikes, which can make some high grade coins appear more worn than they strictly are, and well-struck examples will command a premium.

The series starts with a four-way combination of two reverses and two obverses, and a scarce Reverse variety in 1912.  There are alloy changes in the early 1920s, which can produce coins that appear darker or lighter than others of the same year, but these changes are not as clear cut or well documented as is the case with farthings and pennies. 

The Modified Head, introduced to combat ghosting, is applied to the Halfpenny a year earlier than in the other denominations, so the 1925 has two types, of broadly similar abundance.  As in all the George V denominations bar the Farthing, the small head is introduced in 1928.

1911
1911 1+A1911 1+A*1911 1*+A1911 1*+A*
Two Obverses: 1 and 1*, Two Reverses: A and A*
1912
1912
Scarce Rev A*
1913
1913
1914
1914
1915
1915
1916
1916
1917
1917
1918
1918
1919
1919
1920
1920
1921
1921
1922
1922
1923
1923
1924
1924
1925
1925 First Effigy1925 Modified Effigy
First and Modified Effigies
1926
1926
1927
1927
1928
1928
1929
1929
1930
1930
1931
1931
1932
1932
1933
1933
1934
1934
1935
1935
1936
1936


Diameter: 25mm, Weight: 5.7g
Alloys: Copper: 95%, Tin: 4% Zinc: 1%, and Copper: 95.5%, Tin: 3% Zinc: 1.5% - possibly some others...


1911

1911 holds much for the hardcore variety hunter.   Take the halfpenny, for instance; not only does it display the hollow neck/flat neck obverses, like the other bronze denominations of this year, but there are 2 reverses too, making four combinations to find.  Groom catalogues the four types separately, but Peck and Freeman do not, so the best relative scarcity estimates I can give are those from the small number that have passed through my hands.  I do not suggest any level of statistical significance to this size of sample!

Reverse A
  • No gap between date and exergue line
  • last 1 in date to the right of a bead
  • small beads with gap

1911 1+A
Obverse 1
  • Flat neck
  • Upright of D of DEI points between beads


1911 1+A
Reverse A*

  • Clear gap between date and exergue line
  • last 1 in date points between beads
  • large beads with almost no gap

1911 1+A*
Obverse 1

  • Flat neck
  • Upright of D of DEI points between beads


1911 1+A*
Reverse A
  • No gap between date and exergue line
  • last 1 in date to the right of a bead
  • small beads with gap
1911 1*+A
Obverse 1*
  • Hollow neck
  • Upright of D of DEI points at a bead

1911 1*+A
Reverse A*
  • Clear gap between date and exergue line
  • last 1 in date points between beads
  • large beads with almost no gap
1911 1*+A*
Obverse 1*
  • Hollow neck
  • Upright of D of DEI points at a bead

1911 1*+A*

1912

All the 1912 halfpennies that I have had have been Reverse A, with:

Peck and Freeman only recognise this type, but Groom suggests that a Reverse A* type exists too, with:

1912 1912

1913

1+A

They were plagued by weak strikes and streaky lustre, so it is quite unusual to find one that exhibits neither.

Halfpennies are seriously under-rated in terms of their difficulty in high grade

1913 1913

1914

1+A

1914 1914

1915

1+A

1915 1915

1916

1+A

1916 1916

1917

1+A

From a standing start, it took me seven upgrades to get this far with this date

1917 1917

1918

1+A

1918 1918

1919

1+A

1919 1919

1920

1+A

1920 1920

1921

1+A

1921 1921

1922

1+A

1922 1922

1923

1+A

1923 1923

1924

1+A

1924 1924

1925

The Modified Head was introduced in 1925 for Halfpennies, a year earlier than the other denominations.  It is slightly scarcer than the First Head halfpenny, but nothing like the rarity of the 1926 Modified Head penny.



1925 Halfpenny First Effigy
First Head

1925 Halfpenny First Effigy


1925 Halfpenny Modified Effigy
Modified Head

1925 Halfpenny Modified

I find the Modified Head halfpenny to be much easier to identify than the equivalent penny - there is no need to go down to the level of pointings of legend letters or comparisons of the engravers initials.  The difference is immediately recogisable when it's possible to compare the coins side by side.  Compare the length and shape of the border teeth, for instance.


1926

2+B

1926 1926

1927

2+B

1927 1927

1928

3+B - Obverse 3 has the smaller head that sees the coinage through to the end of the reign.

1928 1928

1929

3+B

1929 1929

1930

3+B

1930 1930

1931

3+B

1931 1931

1932

3+B

1932 1932

1933

3+B

1933 1933

1934

3+B

1934 1934

1935

3+B

1935 1935

1936

3+B

1936 1936