George VI Pennies

Quite a complex little series, with three obverse designs and four reverses. 

Diameter: 31mm, Weight 9.4g

Alloys:
Cu:95.5%, Sn:3%, Zn:1.5% (1937-1940, and 1947-1951)
Cu:97%, Sn:0.5%, Zn:2.5% (1944-1946)  Reduced tin content, probably due to the loss of the Malaysian tin mines during the War.

In addition to the design changes detailed, the Mint artificially darkened the pennies dated 1944, 1945, and 1946 to counter the tendency of the reduced tin alloy to turn pink after some circulation, and some coins escaped this process in each of these years.  It is not easy to positively identify these escapees unless the coin is in mint state.



 Obv  Rev Freeman
Rarity
    Obverses
 1937  1 A C11 1  (1937 only)
2  (1937-1948)
3  (1949-1951)
1 B C8

Obverse 1

Obverse 2

Obverse 3

2 B C14
1938 2 B C19
1939 2 B C16
1940 2 B C2
2 C C13
1944 2 C C14
2 C* C14
1945 2 C* C18
1946 2 C* C17
2 C*-dot foot
note
1947 2 C* C16
  • P of IMP at a tooth
  • I of IMP to the left of a tooth
  • : before IMP nearly at a tooth
  • Dot after IMP is small
  • P of IMP to the right of a tooth
  • I of IMP to the right of a tooth
  • : before IMP between teeth
  • Dot after IMP is larger
  • IND:IMP omitted from legend
  • F:D: replaced by FIDEI DEF.
  • lettering slightly larger
  • HP slightly larger
1948 2 C* C17
1949 3 C* C7
1950 3 C* R3
1951 3 C* R4



Reverses
(1937 only) (1937-1940) (1940 & 1944) C*  (1944-1951)
Reverse A Reverse B Reverse C Reverse C*
  • Right leg of 2nd N in PENNY at a tooth
  • Sea level on right at a tooth
  • Longer teeth
  • Right leg of both Ns in PENNY between teeth
  • Sea level on right slightly above a tooth
  • Shorter teeth
  • Single exergue line
  • Double exergue line
  • waves touch exergue line
  • waves above exergue line
Reverse A Reverse B Reverse C Reverse C*


It's worth looking at the mintage figures of George VI penny dates...and how those mintages are reflected in Uncirculated values.

1937: 88,896,000

1938: 121,560,000

1939: 55,560,000

1940: 42,284,400

1944: 42,600,000

1945: 79,531,200

1946: 66,355,600

1947: 52,220,400

1948: 63,961,200

1949: 14,324,400

1950: 240,000

1951: 120,000
G6 1d values chart

In order to reduce the excessive quantity of pennies in circulation, and to encourage the take up of the new brass threepence, penny production was suspended in 1940.  Mass production was resumed in 1944, but the Mint had some difficulty balancing supply and demand for pennies in the years after the War.  In May 1949, issue to the UK was halted, but coins dated 1949 were held in stock and continued to be released until 1956. 

1950 and 1951 pennies were produced in very small quantities and were issued to the Colonies.  Quick thinking speculators in Bermuda realised that the entire 1951 issue had been sent to them, and began shipping them home again to collectors - consequently, very few 1951 pennies entered circulation and most are still found in very high grade.

1937

Abundance percentages are from the V.R.Court penny survey published in Coin Monthly, Aug 1972.

1937 1+A 1+A

 36.9% 
1937 1+A
1937 1+B 1+B

20.2%
1937 1+B
1937 2+B 2+B

42.9%
1937 2+B

1938

1938 1938

1939

1939 1939

1940

1940 Single 2+B

Single exergue line

11.6% 
1940 Single
1940 Double 2+C

Double exergue line

88.4%
1940 Double
1940 exergue lines

1944

Note the differing positions of the last 4 in the date, relative to the wave above.

1944 Rev C  2+C



  83.4% 
1944 Rev C
1944 Rev C* 2+C*



16.6%
1944 Rev C*

1945

1945 1945

1946

1946 1946
1946 dot penny
Although not a genuine variety by any definition, the "dot" penny die flaw has crept into most reference books, so I felt I had to include it.  It is not that easy to see as it was a fairly low grade coin.

Reverse A

V.R.Court: 0.58%
1946 dot penny

1947

1947 1947

1948

1948 1948

1949

In common with all George VI denominations, and as a result of Indian independence, IND:IMP is omitted from 1949 onward. Sometimes this required a design change, but on the Penny, only the obverse inscription was altered.

1949 1949

1950

1950 1950

1951

1951 1951