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Halfpenny of Elizabeth I

This little hammered silver coin was recently unearthed by John Warden when he was detecting in Hertfordshire. The coin only 11mm in diameter but is shown greatly enlarged. John’s find is a halfpenny of Elizabeth I.

On the obverse is a portcullis (a symbol first used by the Tudors) and above it is the mint mark, which in this case is a letter A. On the reverse is a cross Moline with three pellets in each angle. The coin is a product of the sixth issue and the mint mark dates it to 1582-84.

Halfpennies of Elizabeth I used to be rare. However,since detecting machines became more sensitive to tiny silver coins the number on record has grown in size. Today they are no longer rare but the same could be said of many other hammered silver coins. And, lots of the examples that turn up as detecting finds are not in good condition.


This Elizabeth I halfpenny is one of the best I have seen. It’s well struck, it displays no defects and overall it would grade good VF. The catalogue price in VF condition is £135, which is a bit optimistic. However, this one is so attractive that to a keen collector it could be worth as much as £150 – £180.

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