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George III halfpenny

Over the last 50 years detectorists will have unearthed a huge number of Georgian copper coins. Nowadays I don’t manage to get out as often as I would like but when I was out regularly my average for Georgian coppers was 25 each year. Most of those I unearthed were in very poor condition and those in Fine condition numbered at best 1 in a 100.

The coin featured here was found very recently by Colin Barton. It’s a George III halfpenny, which is dated 1775 (it looks more like 1776) on the reverse.

Colin asked me what I thought about its overall state of preservation. Well, I’ve never found an example anywhere near as good as this specimen. The obverse would grade VF. The reverse isn’t as good but is still decent with not much wear and no corrosion.

Contemporary forgery

The not so good news is that this halfpenny is probably a contemporary forgery. The dies are well made but not quite up to the Royal Mint standard. After close examination the main give away is the hand of Britannia. On official halfpennies the hand holding the spray is in the shape of a fist but on this coin it looks as if it is being held by a finger and thumb.


The good news is that good quality forgeries can sell for prices similar to genuine halfpennies. In its present condition this coin could have a pre-sale auction estimate of £50 to £70.

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