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Charles II Halfpenny

This is the first Irish copper coin to appear on the website. It was found by Stewart Beech and is a halfpenny of Charles II. Towards the end of the 17th century small change was in short supply. So, besides the official English currency, copper coins of Scotland and Ireland circulated freely in England. Halfpennies like Stewart’s find were struck after Sir Thomas Armstrong and Colonel George Legge were granted permission to make them. These and the English copper coins of Charles II helped to finally remove from circulation the underweight traders’ tokens that had been used as small change for many years.

Stewart’s halfpenny is dated 1683 and is the small lettering variety. Therefore, it is amongst the coins listed as number 6575 in Coins of Scotland, Ireland and the Islands. I’ve seen a number of Irish halfpennies as detecting finds but they have invariably been worn and/or corroded. This one is certainly the best preserved specimen I have seen. Most numismatists store their coins in cabinets, which have recesses in the trays to hold coins in place.


Even though this Irish halfpenny would grade better than Fine, it has lost its most of its natural copper colour. This would put off some collectors. However, a someone who still considered this halfpenny to be reasonably attractive should be willing to pay around £40 in order to acquire it.

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