George V Pennies


1911
1912
1913
1914
1915
1916
1917 1918
1919
1920
1921
1922



1926
1927
1928
1929
1930
1931
1932

1934
1935
1936




1911

All 1911 denominations have two obverse types – a Flat Neck, and a Hollow Neck version.

The rare Hollow Neck 1911 Penny has a distinct diagonal indentation toward the back of the neck, roughly following the position of the tendon, whereas the King’s neck on the commoner type is sculpted quite smoothly.  Again, fairly clear on a specimen in the hand, but difficult to show in photographs, so I’ll use a pointing to clarify.

The scarce Hollow Neck variety is often referred to as Gouby obverse X, and is also classified as Obverse 1* in the new Freeman edition, where it is estimated that under 50 of these coins have been found, but more are coming to light, so this one is definitely worth looking for...

1911 1911
With a little wear to the truncation, the hollow neck really stands out.  Instantly recognisable when you know what you're looking for, but there are pointings to confirm as well:
  • I of BRITT at a bead
  • I of IMP at a bead
It is a fairly recent discovery. 
Peck didn't find it, Freeman didn't find it, but Michael Gouby did, so it will always be known now as Gouby X
1911 Gouby X 1911 Gouby X

1911 Gouby X

1912

Minted at Tower Hill in London (no mintmark), and by Ralph Heaton and Sons in Birmingham, indicated by the small H mintmark in the left of the exergue.

1912 1912
1912 H 1912 H

Difficult to find at this level - the vast majority of H and KN pennies are really much of a muchness. The 1912 H in particular is very much commoner than it was while circulating at its natural level; as a well-known variety, a higher proportion of these were rescued from the decimalisation melting pot than London Mint 1912 Pennies, so they are commoner now than they have ever been.


1913

Another classic crossover mule. 1913 began with 1+A and finished with 2+B In between, probably by mistake, a few 1+Bs and 2+As slipped through.

Two obverses - use the spacing of the A in GRA and the B in BRITT to distinguish them.




And two reverses - use the pointing of the first 1 in the date to distinguish these.
Obverse 1
 
1913 Obv 1
Obverse 2

1913 Obv 2
Reverse A

1913 Rev A
1+A

Freeman 174

Common

21.8%
2+A

Freeman 176

Scarce

1.4%
Reverse B
1913 Rev B
1+B

Freeman 175

Scarce

2.6%
2+B

Freeman 177

Common

74.2%

1913 1+A 1913 1+A
1913 1+B 1913 1+B
1913 2+B 1913 2+B

1914

1914 1914

1915

I'm not sure why but in all my years of collecting, this is, until recently, the best I could do for a 1915 Penny.  That's got to tell you something

1915 Normal Ear 1915 Normal Ear

This is an interesting variety. It is likely that the Mint was attempting to reduce ghosting by recessing the ear.

 All Recessed Ear coins have a broken border tooth above the colon after BRITT.
Examples from 1915 are scarcer than 1916 recessed ears
1915 Recessed Ear 1915 Recessed Ear

1916

1916 Normal Ear 1916 Normal Ear

This is an interesting variety. It is likely that the Mint was attempting to reduce ghosting by recessing the ear.

 All Recessed Ear coins have a broken border tooth above the colon after BRITT.
Examples from 1915 are scarcer than 1916 recessed ears
1916 Recessed Ear 1916 Recessed Ear

1917

1917 1917

1918

Three Mints took part in the production of pennies in 1918 and 1919:

Tower Hill mint, London (no mintmark)
Ralph Heaton & Sons, Birmingham (H mintmark)
The Kings Norton Metal Company, Birmingham (KN mintmark)

In both years, the H and KN pennies suffered from a similar rescue rate phenomenon to the 1912 H penny, and are thus very common in low circulated grades.  In top grade they are extraordinarily difficult, and very collectable.  They are textbook examples of condition rarities.

1918 1918
1918 H 1918 H
1918 KN 1918 KN
1918 KN Bird's foot flaw 1918 KN Bird's foot flaw


Some 1918 KN pennies display a die flaw below the ear, shaped like a bird's foot.  This "Bird's Foot" flaw, illustrated above, is noted in Peck.


1919

Three Mints took part in the production of pennies in 1918 and 1919:

Tower Hill mint, London (no mintmark)
Ralph Heaton & Sons, Birmingham (H mintmark)
The Kings Norton Metal Company, Birmingham (KN mintmark)

In both years, the H and KN pennies suffered from a similar rescue rate phenomenon to the 1912 H penny, and are thus very common in low circulated grades.  In top grade they are extraordinarily difficult, and very collectable.  They are textbook examples of condition rarities.

1919 1919
1919 H 1919 H
1919 KN 1919 KN

1920

Obverse 2 is the normal type for 1920, and so far, Obverse 3 is believed to be unique for 1920, which makes it a very exciting find if another turns up!

Both Obverses are used in 1921, so there is an easy way to familiarise yourself with the two types - go through your 1921 pennies and identify the Obverse 2s and Obverse 3s. 

You can look at all the photographs you like, but there really is no substitute for examining coins in the hand when learning varieties of this subtlety.

Obverse 2 Obverse 3
Obverse 2 Obverse 3
Lower colon dot is almost in contact with the letters on either side A and B are further apart so that there is a clear gap between the lower colon dot and the letters on either side

1920 1920

1921

According to Court, 37.3% of 1921 pennies are Obverse 2, and I have found that to be more or less the case. Roughly twice as many Obv 3 as Obv 2 coins have passed through my hands...



1921 2+B
Obverse 2

1921 2+B


1921 3+B
Obverse 3

1921 3+B

1922

1922 1922

A very rare variety of the 1922 penny does exist, sometimes catalogued, inaccurately, as “1922 with 1927 reverse”.

Only a handful of these are known, but as with all relatively recent discoveries, there will be more out there, so don’t stop checking for this one.  I use the trident as a quick check on any 1922 pennies that I come across, but see how many other variations between the two reverses you can see – it’s like a game of spot the difference.

1922 pennies


1926

The 1926 Modified Head Penny makes up approximately 2.4% of the 1926 issue, according to Court’s survey, equivalent to about 1 in every 40 1926 pennies, so it’s worth checking for.

This is one of those varieties that you just see, after a while, but in the meantime, we’ll use some specifics to identify them. There are, as always, many more differences between the two obverses than the diagnostic specifics that I highlight.

In this case, we do know why the design change was implemented – it was one of a series of attempts to reduce the “ghosting” that you often see on more worn George V coinage, where a faint inverse impression of the bust is visible from the reverse side.



1926 First Effigy
First (common) Effigy

1926 First Effigy


1926 Modified Effigy
Modified (scarce)Effigy

1926 Modified Effigy

1926 Modified Effigy

1927

All 1927 pennies sport the Modified Head, so this is quite an easy way to familiarise yourself with it.

1927 1927

1928

From 1928 onwards, a new, smaller head was employed, and this is the closest the Mint ever came to finally curing ghosting.

1928 1928

1929

1929 1929

1930

1930 1930

1931

1931 1931

1932

1932 1932

1933


1934

1934 1934

1935

1935 1935

1936

1936 1936