A History & llustrated Gallery of The Much Loved & Collected Penny 1839 - 1901
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A History & Illustrated Gallery of The Much Loved & Collected Penny 1839 - 1901 & Victorian Commemorative Medals
In the Victorian age some of the world's most beautiful copper & bronze coins were struck for circulation in the United Kingdom & British empire, bearing portraits of Queen Victoria 1837 - 1901
On these pages you will find reference information on the Victorian Young Head Copper penny coinage (1839 - 1860), the 'Bun' Penny series (1860 1894) & The Veiled or Widow head issues (1895 - 1901
These large copper pennies were designed by William Wyon (1795-1851) & bear the engravers initials W.W. on truncation. On the Obverse Victoria's 'young head' surrounded by the Legend 'VICTORIA DEI GRATIA' The reverse depicts Britannia with shield & trident & the legend 'BRITANNIAR; REG: FID: + DEF: '
The young head penny was 34mm diamiter, YH 1ds were issued over a twenty one year period including 1839 (proofs only) & in total seventeen different dates occour.
The highest mintage was is 1854 when 6,720.000 were struck, but this is by far the highest & overall considerably lower mintages occour. In the final year (1860) just 32K were issued. In total over 21.23 million coins were issued. This compares to later post-victorian penny dates for example 1917 when 107.9m were issued. Experienced collectors will be aware that Numerous varieties occour in this series such as ornamental trident, spaced colon etc.
'Bronze 'Bun' Penny
In 1860 a new bronze penny (plus halfpenny & Farthing) coinage was introduced. This issue was of a much lighter type & of 31mm in diamiter.
Victoria was depicted by the Engraver Leonard Charles Wyon ( 1926 - 1891) in a laurete style & a bun hairstyle. This coin is therefore known as the 'Bun' penny. The obverse legend reads (latin) VICTORIA D: G: BRITT: REG: F: D:
The reverse again depicts Britannia with a lighthouse to the left & Sailing Ship to the Right. The date is below in exergue. The inscription reads 'ONE PENNY'
Numerous varieties occour such as the 1860 toothed or beaded border. An extreme rarity is the 1863 with die numbers below date, also 1882 without 'H' Mintmark. Heaton mint pennies exist for the years 1874, 1875, 1876, 1881 & 1882 (H below date) One of the most sought after dates is 1869 (although 1868 has a mintage of less than half of the 1869 figure)
Victoria Young Head Penny 1854
Better Grade example
Veiled or 'Widow' Head Penny
In 1895 the last series of the bronze penny, designed by Sir Thomas Brock 1847 - 1922 was introduced. By this time Victoria was in her seventy-sixth year & had been widowed for fifteen years, this final bronze coinage portrait is often referred to as the widow or also simply 'Old' head.
By and large the mintage figures tend to be higher for this series than the earlier 'Bun' pennies.
Some varieties occour & in total the series lasted for seven years, 1895 until 1901 when the great victorian age ended with the queen's death in january of that year.
Victoria 'Bun' Head Penny1862 A Brilliant Lustrous UNC example 1889
Victoria 'Veiled' or Widow Head Penny 1901 HIGH Grade Example
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