British Coin Gallery


British Coin Gallery
British Coin Gallery

King George III - Ruled 1760-1820


The grandson of George II, the silver coins of George III consist of two primary groups, 1760-1815  and 1816-1820. This was a period of great change both in the British Empire and in it's coinage.  There was only a single issue of silver prior to the great recoinage of 1816, being Shillings and Sixpence, in 1787. This shortage led directly to the large issues of token farthings and halfpennies in the 1790's, and the issue of silver tokens and Bank of England tokens in the period up to 1816.


After the death of George II in 1760 no copper coinage had been struck for regular circulation until the halfpenny and farthing issues of 1770-1775. Copper and Bronze can be roughly divided into three types for George III.

Type 1 from 1770-1775 consist of an earlier style of portrait and made using the older presses in the Royal Mint.

Type II include many of the patterns of the 1790's as well as the currency issue of 1797 and 1799. These were minted on the new steam presses invented by James Watt and installed in Matthew Boultons Soho Mint. The new mint with it's modern equipment was a revolution in coinage, allowing coins of a quality never achieved before in mass production.

Type III include the period of 1806-1807 using a more modern style of portraiture.



Copper and Bronze


Farthings ( 1/4 Pence)



1773 Farthing (Type I) NGC MS 65 BN.

From rusted dies but never the less quite well struck.



1799 Farthing (Type II) NGC MS 64 RB.



1806 Farthing (Type III) NGC MS 66 BN.

Very attractive color on this piece.




1771 Halfpenny, NGC MS 66 RB.

Very well struck and with attractive surfaces.



1772 Halfpenny (Type I), NGC MS 64 BN.

P-900, listed as Rare. This is an example of the mispelled Georius, instead of Georgius.

These are scarce, but I don't really consider them rare.



1799 Halfpenny (Type II), NGC MS 65 BN.

The 1799 is collected by specialists based on details on the reverse. In particular the number of gunports shown on the tiny ship just left of Britannia. Examples are collected with no, 5, 6 and nine gun ports.



1806 Halfpenny (Type III), NGC MS 66 BN.

1806 and 1807 mark the only years for issue of the type III halfpennies. For the year 1806 there are two different reverses, no berries on the olive sprig and 3 berries on the olive sprig.





1797 Penny, NGC MS 61 BN.

The "cartwheel penny", so named for it's large size.



1807 Penny, NGC MS 66 BN.





1797 Twopence, NGC MS 63 BN, P-1077.

The only year of issue for this huge copper coin, 40.64mm diameter and 5mm thick.



Copper and Bronze Proofs and Patterns


The George III era was filled with fabulous halfpenny (and a few other) patterns, primarily put out by the Soho Mint, in order to try to win a contract for production of currency pieces. In addition Taylor purchased a large quantity of dies and misc. tooling when Soho Mint closed and issued later fantasy and restrike examples of several of the copper pieces.



1770 Halfpenny NGC PF 66 BN.

A scarce early proof issue.



1788 Halfpenny pattern NGC PF 61.

P-940 (early Soho) in Bright Gilt copper, listed as EXR (exceedingly rare).

Currently the only one graded. I have shown the image so all the hairlines show, in hand it is a lovely coin to look at.



1788 Halfpenny pattern, NGC PF 66.

P-966 (late Soho), Brown Gilt Copper, listed as Very Scarce. A really lovely specimen.



1788 Halfpenny pattern, NGC PF 65 BN.

P-1005 (Taylor restrike), Bronzed Copper, listed as Rare.



1790 Halfpenny pattern, NGC PF 65 BN.

P-971 (late Soho), Bronzed Copper, listed as Rare, with edge marked "Render Unto Cesar".



1795 Halfpenny pattern, NGC PF64 BN

P-1054 (Taylor restrike), copper, listed by Peck as rare.



1799 Farthing, NGC PF64 BN



1799 Halfpenny Pattern Proof, NGC PF64 BN.

P1258 (Taylor restrike), listed as rare. This had previously been graded by NGC as PF 65 BN, but was broken out of it's slab by it's previous (English) owner. Iguess they wanted it out of the slab so they could cause some obvious damage compared to it's previous near perfect look.



1799 Halfpenny Proof, NGC PF 64 BN.

P1234 (early Soho),listed as Scarce.



1797 Penny Pattern, NGC PF 63 BN.

P-1095 (late Soho), listed as Very Scarce.

From the same dies as KP2 used for the original pattern.



1805 Halfpenny Pattern, NGC PF 64 BN.

P1309 (Taylor restrike),listed as Very Scarce.

Note that no regular issue coins were issued in 1805.



1805 (Ireland) Halfpenny, NGC PF 65 BN.



1805 (Ireland) Penny, NGC PF 65 BN.



1806 Farthing, Gilt, NGC PF 64 Cameo.



1806 (Ireland) Farthing NGC PF 65 BN.



1806 Halfpenny Gilt Proof, NGC PF 64 Ultracameo.



1806 Proof Penny, NGC PF65 BN.




The currency silver coinage of George III can be divided into two primary types. The 1787 issue of Shillings and Sixpence, and the "new coinage" issued beginning in 1816.





1787 Sixpence with Hearts NGC MS 65.

Both the 1787 Sixpence and Shilling are available in two primary types,

with and without hearts in the left most shield.



1816 Sixpence, NGC MS 65.

The first year of the "new coinage" issued from 1816-1820.



1819/8 Sixpence, PCGS MS 64

Probably the toughest date of the Geo. III Sixpence, this one with really original looking toning.





1787 Shilling with Hearts, NGC AU 58.

I could easily acquire a higher grade example, but this was the first British coin I purchased in 1986 while lliving in the UK. Available in two versions, with and without semmee of hearts in shield. 1787 was the only year of an issue of currency silver until the great recoinage of 1816. A small issue of so-called Northumberland Shillings was issued in 1763 when the Earl of Northumberland was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. That issue featured a young bust of George III and had a mintage of approximately 2,976.



1817 R/E Shilling, NGC MS 63

ESC 1232A listed as R4, 11-20 known. 4 examples certified to date in the US with this piece tied for finest graded. GEOR was mispelled GEOE, and then the second E was overpunched with the correct R.



1819/8 Shilling, NGC MS 64.

ESC 1235A listed as R3, Extremely Rare. This example chosen for illustration both because of the overdate variety, and the lovely toning it exhibits.



1819 Shilling, NGC MS 67.

I'm showing a large image of the obverse, because this is what you would wish they all looked like. At least as far as marks go.


SIlver Proofs and Patterns



1787 Sixpence Proof with hearts, ESC 1627, NGC PF 65. 

ESC lists this as R2, Very Rare.



1787 Sixpence Proof, ESC 1628 (Heavy Flan), NGC PF 55.

ESC lists this as R4, 11-20 known and I believe it's on the low side of the estimated population.



c. 1790 Sixpence Obv. Die Trial.

Unlisted in the reference books and the only one I have seen.



1790 Sixpence Pattern, NGC PF 63.

Engraved by Droz , ESC 1645, these are reasonably available and often come very nicely toned.



1791 Sixpence Pattern in copper, NGC PF 63 BN.

Another pattern by Droz with a different version of Britannia and the date in exergue, ESC 1649, rated as R2, Very Rare. Much rarer than the silver pattern above, this piece is Ex Herman Selig collection sold by Spink in 1999 and currently the only one graded at NGC.



1817 Sixpence, proof, NGC PF 63.

ESC 1633, rated as R2, Very Rare. Proofs are available for both the 1816 and 1817.



1787 Shilling Proof, ESC 1217, PCGS PF 64+

ESC lists this as R4 (11-20 known), unpriced in Spink with just a notation Extremely Rare.

Currently 2 examples graded, this one, and one graded PF 64 at NGC.


Bank of England Tokens


At the beginning of the 19th C. the state of the finances in Great Britain was dire. War with Napolean had bled the country for many years and the Royal Mint had not had a regular issue of silver coinage since 1787. With the Royal Mint unable to supply the country with coins the Bank of England was authorized to issue Bank of England tokens in various denomination which were struck by Boulton at his Soho Mint.



1805 Ireland Five Pence, NGC MS62



1812 Nine Pence, Laureate Head, NGC PF 63.

Rated Extremely Rare in ESC, seemingly around 20 or so surviving specimens but they don't come up for sale often. There are two reverses known, this one the most common, and another with "Nine D" as the value.



1811 Eighteen pence (1Shilling 6 pence) Armored Bust, NGC MS 66.



1811 Eighteen Pence (1 Shilling 6 pence) Armored Bust, NGC PF 63 Cameo.

ESC 970, rated as Scarce. Proofs are available for 1811 and 1812, although a little on the scarce side they are not really rare.



1812 Eighteen Pence (1 Shilling 6 pence) Laureate Head, NGC PF64.

ESC 973, rated as scarce. Really lovely toning on this one and currently the finest of two graded at NGC.



1812 Eighteen Pence (1 Shilling 6 pence), NGC MS 63, ESC 975, Laureate Head Proof Pattern.

These are rated as R7 (1-2 known) in ESC but most likely 3-5 examples are floating around. In any case they are extremely rare, referred to as the Small Letters Reverse.



1812 Eighteen Pence (1Shilling 6 pence) Laureate Head, NGC MS 66.

Nicely toned to my eye, this type was continued until 1816.



1811 3 Shillings Curraissed Bust, PCGS PF64 Cameo

A very nice example of this scarce issue. This particular piece is EXC 409a, Obverse 2/Reverse 1 and is rated R4, 11-20 known.



1811 3 Shilling Cuirassed Bust, NGC 65.

Really a fabulous looking coin, the type 1 minted in 1811 and 1812.



1812 3 Shilling Laureate Head, NGC MS 65.

This type continued until 1816.



1804 5 Shillings (One Dollar), NGC MS 63.

Toned in grey and gunmetal blue, this is a really lovely design.



1804 5 Shillings (One Dollar), NGC PF 63.

ESC 166, listed as Rare. Another of the semi-official Bank of England tokens. I have represented the proofs with a Bronzed Copper Proof, although they are more readily available in silver.





1798 Victories Medal, NGC MS 62, Gilt Bronze.

Really a lovely piece of medallic art, commemorating battle victories of 1798 including The Battle of the Nile, still considered one of the most important sea battles in History and the one that elevated Lord Nelson to history. The portrait is really nicely engraved.



1820 Death of George III, NGC PF 65 BN, bronze.


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