Regal British Copper Coinage: Introduction

For a brief explanation of the British coinage system - Click here.

For a listing of all denominations of both hammered and milled English coins produced during the American colonial period - Click here.

For a description of each denomination of both hammered and milled English coins produced during the American colonial period - Click here.

For a listing of the English rulers during this period - Click here.

For tables detailing the weight and diameter ranges for each issue of circulating British regal halfpence and farthings, from the first issue of Charles II to the 1775 issue of George III - Click here.

A Brief History of British Regal Copper Production during the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

On Thursday August 1, 1672, Charles II demonetized tokens and announced the government would begin making copper small change coins in a proclamation entitled "A Proclamation for making currant His Majestie's Farthings and Half-pence of Copper, and forbidding all others to be used" (printed in Peck, pp. 605-607). For centuries the crown had produced and continued to mint silver pennies, but they had never issued coppers. With the change from hammer coinage to the use of the screw press the king hoped to be able to profitably make a sufficient number of standardized small change coppers for the country. The first halfpence were to be produced at 40 to the pound avoirdupois or about 175 grains of copper per coin, with the farthing being proportional, which meant the copper content was worth about half the face value of the coin. As such, these coppers were the first royal coinage to have an intrinsic value less than their face value. For this reason they were technically considered to be tokens rather than coins and so were declared to be legal tender only in amounts of six pence or less. No one was obligated to accept more than twelve halfpence per transaction. Further, the minting of coppers was contracted by special arrangment with the mintmaster, as the production of silver and gold coins was considered to be the primary work of the royal mint. In fact, during the reign of William III coppers were produced by a private contractor rather than the mint.

Charles II (1660-1685) first produced copper halfpence and farthings in 1672. Minting began on August 5th with the production of farthings on four presses. A fifth press was used for halfpence but production of those coins did not begin until after Christmas. Interestingly, Charles displayed a bust right (that is, a right profile) on all his gold and silver coins but used a bust left on his coppers. He produced copper halfpence dated 1672, 1673 and 1675 and copper farthings dated 1672-1675 and 1679. In order to produce these coins the mint need blank planchets of the proper size and weight. However they did not have the capability of producing the rolled sheets of copper from which the blanks would be cut out. Therefore the mint was forced to import finished planchets, which they contracted with Abraham Cronstrom of Stockholm, Sweden. The initial run of coppers was produced at 40 halfpence to the pound (175 grains), with farthings proportional. However, Cronstrom had contracted to provide the copper metal at 14.5d per pound but he discovered there was a Swedish export tarrif of 2.5d per pound, raising the price to 17d a pound. The Mint would not revise the contracted price for the first shipment but they did agree to pay the increase for subsequent shipments. To offset this added cost the weight of the coins was reduced slightly during this first year of production (1672) so that halfpence were made at 44 to the pound avoirdupois or about 159.1 grains each. Near the end of his reign Charles began a process that would free the mint from dependence on imported copper. Hoping to assist the ailing British tin industry as well as obtaining a higher minting profit for himself, Charles began minting tin farthings. The contract (the document is actually called a warrant in Eighteenth century legal terminology) to produce these coins was awarded to the partnership of John Buckworth, Thomas Neale, Charles Dunucombe and James Hoare on June 20, 1684. A square plug of copper was added to the center as an anti counterfeiting measure. The tin farthings were produced from 1684 through 1685

James II (1685-1688) started the production of a plugged tin halfpenny in 1685 and continued production through 1687. During his reign the warrant to mint tin coins was renewed by Duncome, Hoare and Neale on March 11, 1686. A few tin farthings were minted in 1684 with larger quantities produced in 1685-1687. Tin was a much less expensive metal than copper so that the intrinsic value of these coins was far lower. This yielded higher minting profits for the king, but the low intrinsic value turned public opinion against the coins. In order to make these tin coins more acceptable James returned to the heavier weight of 40 halfpence to the pound, producing an average weight of 175 grains per halfpenny. As tin was cheap and readily assessable, a number of counterfeit halfpence appeared in circulation. James used a bust left for his gold and silver coins but like Charles used the opposite profile on his halfpence and farthings, which displayed a bust right.

William and Mary (1688-1694) continued the production of tin halfpence and farthings with copper plugs from 1689-1692 but lowered the weight to 42 halfpence to the pound or 166.7 grains each. In 1691 the warrant to mint the tin coins was renewed by James Hoare in partnership with Andrew Corbett and Thomas Povey. By this time there were serious discussions about abandoning the tin coinage. Although minting profits were considerably higher, the effort had not revive the tin industry. Additionally, there was increased public pressure to stop the tin coins due to their low intrinsic value and the number of counterfeits that were appearing. Counterfeits especially hurt the poor in that anyone who unwittingly accepted one might not be able to pass it on and therefore would get stuck with a worthless coin. Further it has been suggested by some modern numismatists that it became apparent tin was a poor metal for coinage as it did not last as long as copper due to corrosion. It may be recalled this was also the period of the 1688 tin American Plantations Token, that either was never issued to the colonies or was not accepted there.

In 1693 the monarchs reinstituted copper farthings and in 1694 produced copper halfpence and farthings. An act of April 17, 1694 stopped all production of tin coins and offered to exchange the less valuable tin coins for new copper coins. Within a month, by May 16, 1694, the government had recieved £40,000 in tin coins from this exchange, which was over half of the entire tin production of £65,000.

With the renewed production of copper coins a new arrangment was tried whereby the minting of coppers was contracted out to a private company working at the royal mint. In the past the mintmaster had contracted small change production, but for the most part, the contractors were salaried, so that profits went to the king. Now the entire operation was licenced to a partnership consisting of Joseph Herne, Francis Parry, George Clark, Abel Slaney and Daniel Bartow. They would sustain any loss or reap any profit from the enterprise. Under the terms of this warrant the blank planchets were to be produced at the mint. This meant the contractors were to purchase rolled sheets of copper in the required thickness and then cut out blanks of the proper diameter. As an economy measure the contractors did not produce blank planchets in the normal manner, rather they simply melted the copper ore then poured it into moulds producing cast blanks. These blanks were servicable but produced a less uniform product with a pitted surface. During this period a large number of coppers were produced but of poorer quality workmanship. This poor quality was due to the poor production techniques and to the hiring of less skilled workman and diecutters to assist with the large production quotas. The authorized weight remained 42 halfpence to the pound (166.7 grains) but the acutal coins were often much lighter, with observed weights as low as 136.5 grains. William and Mary displayed both of their profiles on their coins, using the bust right for all denominations. After Mary died of smallpox, William III ruled alone (1694-1701). During this period, which included a large contract copper production, coins displayed his bust right profile alone without Mary. Such a large quantity of copper halfpence (1695-1701) and farthings (1695-1700) were produced during this period there was no need for additional coppers to be minted during the reign of Queen Anne.

Under Queen Anne (1701-1714) no circulating halfpence were produced, only a few proof samples were minted. In the last year of her reign the London mintmaster, Isaac Newton, oversaw the production of a few farthings, most of which were proofs, but a few may have been made for circulation. These coins were slightly smaller that William's farthings but of a much higher level of craftsmanship. Newton produced a more uniform product with less of a weight range between examples and sharper reliefs on the images. Like all of Anne's other coins her coppers had a bust left profile.

By the reign of the first Hanoverian, George I (1714-1727), there was once again a need for more coppers. In 1717 a royal warrant proclaimed a new halfpenny would be issued by the royal mint. Halfpence and farthings were produced that were somewhat smaller in diameter but thicker than earlier issues. This allowed for an even deeper strike producing a finer relief than had been found on earlier issues. The authorized weight of the coins remained 42 to the pound or 166.6 grains per halfpenny. This series is known as the "dump" issue and was minted 1717-1718. According to Craig, during this period copper prices rose as high as 18d per pound, decreased minting profits to 11% of the total cost. (previously mint profits had fluctuated from 25% to 18% for coppers and 75% to 66% for tin coins). Faced with higher costs the weight of the coin was slightly reduced in 1719 to 46 to the pound or 152.2 grains per halfpenny. These higher yield coppers were returned to their traditional larger size and were made thinner that the "dump issue." The 152.2 grain halfpenny remained the standard authorized weight for regal halfpence through the end of the Revolutionary War period. The larger but thinner halfpence and farthings were produced 1719-1724. As on all his other coins George used a bust right portrait.

During the thirty three year reign of George II (1727-1760) a large number of coppers were produced. At this time the cost of prepared coppers sheets dropped to 15.75d per pound, increasing minting profits to 13%. However, several illegal counterfeit coining operations opened at this time, producing a large quantity of underweight coppers, to be discussed in the counterfeit section. George produced halfpence during 1729-1740 and 1742-1754 while farthings were made in 1730-1737, 1739, 1741, 1744, 1746, 1749, 1750 and 1754. All of his coin has the bust left portrait.

Due to higher copper prices and the significant number of counterfeit coppers in circulation no regal coppers were produced during the first twenty years of the reign of George III (1760-1820). Regal copper halfpence were produced by the crown during 1770-1775 and farthings were minted during 1771-1775. Throughout this period many counterfeit and evasion pieces were produced, including several using the portrait of George II and dates from his earlier reign. During this period the number of counterfeit halfpence greatly outnumbered the regal issues.

Copper coinage from the later period of George III did not circulate in America. But is mentioned here to complete his reign. In 1787 because of a lack of copper coinage Thomas Williams and the Anglesey Copper Minting Company in Wales produced private pennies and halfpence with a portrait of a hooded druid on the obverse. This started a new era in private token production. Pennies, halfpence and farthings were produced in large quantities until 1797 when the tokens were suppressed (The series is often called the Conder series after James Conder who wrote the first guide to these tokens back in 1798). In 1797 George III contracted Matthew Boulton of the Soho mint in Birmingham to produce large two pence and penny coins known as "cartwheels," because of their wide extruding rim. Boulton designed these coins so they would be difficult to counterfeit. In 1799 the London mint produced a third issue of smaller sized halfpence and farthings and a final issue in 1806-1807. As there was again a shortage of coppers during the Napoleonic Wars a new series of private tokens emerged in 1811 which continued until the final issue of George III coinage in 1816-1820 (which however did not include any copper coins but did include the silver maundy penny). Copper production was resumed by George IV in 1821 with a farthing issue.

Regal British Coppers in the Colonies

During the first decades of the English colonization of North America the settlers needed to obtain their own small change. As we have seen there was some use of British patent farthings and trade tokens especially in the middle colonies of New York, Pennsylvania and down to Virginia. Massachusetts banned the use of tiny patent farthings in 1635 in favor of musket balls, which probably meant these coins were rather rare in New England after that date. During much of the seventeenth century is seems wampum and commodities served as the primary substitutes for coppers. In 1681 St. Patrick coppers were brought to brought to New Jersey and in 1688 Holt was unsuccessful with his American Plantations Token made of tin.

The only small change coins to gain general acceptance throughout the colonies were British coppers. Although British silver and gold coins were not allowed to be exported to the colonies, there was no restriction on the export of coppers. It has been estimated some £69,000 in farthings and halfpence were exported to the American colonies from 1695 to 1775.

It seems some regal English halfpence began to appear in America soon after minting began in 1672. It is sometimes thought the earliest known supply of regal coppers to arrive in America was £300 of halfpence and farthings mentioned in The Loyal Impartial Mercury  newspaper article of October 2-6, 1682, that was brought to Philadelphia by a group of Quakers. As discussed in the English trade token section it seems more probable these coins were demonitized trade tokens. However, the article did mention that British halfpence and farthings traded for twice their value in America. This indeed was the case in Philadelphia and New York, and knowledge of this fact in England may have induced settlers and travellers to take a quantity of these coins with them when the sailed for the colonies.

However, the first significant influx of coppers seems to have occurred during the years of the extensive copper production of William III, that is 1695-1701. On June 21, 1698 a group of fifty three Philadelphia merchants sent a petition to the General Assembly complaining about lead and pewter halfpence and farthings then in circulation which customers were trying to pass off for double their value. The petition requested that, "...all such farthings & halfpence that are made of Lead & pewter may be wholly suppresed & Cryed Down and only those of Copper which are the Kings Coyn may pass the farthings for two a penny the half pence for a penny." This seems to indicate a period of transition when regal coppers were becoming available but had not yet fully replaced less valuable lead and pewter tokens previously in use. Apparently by 1698 the merchants felt the quantity of regal coppers available was large enough so that the troublesome lead and pewter coins could be suppressed.

Also, some early copper halfpence have been uncoverd at American colonial sites. Among the coins found in Philadelphia in 1975 during the construction of Interstate 95 were two 1694 William and Mary copper halfpence, two William III 1700 halfpence and an early 1681 Charles II copper Irish halfpenny. Additionally, several William III halfpence have been uncovered in the Hannah town and Fort Ligonier, Pennsylvania area excavations. Several New York City, Philadelphia and Boston newspaper articles from the 1750's mention regal William III halfpence had been in circulation for decades (these are articles on the influx of counterfeit halfpence; for specific quotes see the British counterfeit coppers introduction).

From around the start of the Eighteenth century through the 1740's it appears quantities of regal British halfpence and farthings (as well as some regal Irish issues) came to the colonies. Besides the coins mentioned above, the Philadelphia Highway find also contained regal British halfpence dated: 1719, 1722, 1723, 1724, 1730, 1731, 1734, 1737, 1738, 1746, 1750, 1771, 1772 and 1775 as well as Irish halfpence of: 1723 (Wood's Hibernia), 1737, 1750, 1752, 1776, 1781 and an example from 1804. That this single location shows such an extensive mix of dates of regal coppers, is further evidence of their continual importation. For a full listing of British coppers uncovered in the Philadelphia find - Click here.

Although regal coppers were arriving in the colonies there was still an insufficient quantity of small change. Taking advantage of this situation in 1722-1724 William Wood attempted to introduce his lightweight Rosa Americana pieces in the colonies. Although there was a need for small change, the colonists rejected these lightweight products. Massachusetts resorted to printing pence notes on parchment rather than using the despised Rosa coins. English regal coppers were the preferred small change coins and their importation continued.

The first recorded large scale shipments of British coppers date to 1734 and 1735, when the colony of Georgia was being established. An agreement was made between the trustees of the colony and the king to ship tons of halfpence and farthings to the colony where they would circulate at face value.

As British coppers entered the colonial economy in larger quantites during 1730's-1750's a problem arose over their value, since they usually traded at a premium, higher than face value. This sometimes caused a problem as is seen in the following two episodes from New York and Philadelphia.

On December 16, 1737 New York passed an act stating:

Whereas for some years past great quantities of English copper halfpence and farthings have been from time to time imported into this colony which have been and are paid and received in the Markets and other payments by Common consent of the People at a higher rate that their Insrinsik Value and

Whereas by the Conveniency of such copper money passing in Small payments the Importation of the Same is still continued...
The act went on to state the importation of more than ten shillings in coppers into the colony was subject to confiscation.

The problem was not with the coppers but with their valuation. Since coinage was at a premium in the colonies most coins were accepted above their face value. British and Irish coppers were no exception. In New York English halfpence were accepted at twice their face value, so twelve British halfpence equaled a New York shilling of account. As New York valued the Spanish dollar at eight shillings, one could obtain a Spanish dollar for 96 British halfpence. Whereas in Boston, it took eighteen British halfpence to equal a Massachusetts shilling and, as they value the Spanish dollar at six shillings, a Spanish dollar cost 108 British halfpence. In Philadelphia there appear to have been various rates at this time, one rate was fifteen British halfpence to the Pennsylvania shilling. As Pennsylvania valued the Spanish dollar at 7s6d (90d), a Spanish dollar could be obtained for 112.5 British halfpence in Philadelphia if someone was using the fifteen halfpence rate (another lower rate that came into general use in Philadelphia during the Confederation era was 14 British halfpence to the shilling or 105 halfpence to the Spanish dollar). Clearly it was advantageous to bring coppers to New York and exchange them for Spanish dollars. Bostonians obtained a 12.5% profit and some Philadelphians could reap a 17% profit. New York first handled this situation by limiting copper imports from other colonies. However, they still accepted casks of coins brought over from England.

In Philadelphia the problem of copper valuation led to a demonstration on January 2, 1741. Some merchants were accepting British halfpence at the New York rate of double (100%) their value, so that one halfpenny equalled one Pennsylvania penny. Other merchants were trading them at only 60% over face value, so that five halfpence equalled four Pennsylvania pence. The situation was so confusing and disruptive that on January 2nd the city bakers refused to open their shops causing a minor crisis. This event forced the city and the merchants to work together to end this problem. The result was an edict by the mayor of Philadelphia on June 18, 1741 stating:

Whereas the Currency of English Half-pence in this Province, has long been found convenient for the Use of Inhabitants, for small Change; but the Value or Rate at which they should pass not having been settled by any Authority, they have often received at too high a Value, by Reason whereof great Quantities of Half-pence were imported from the Neighboring Colonies, and exchanged for our Gold and Silver,

And whereas at a late General Meeting of the Merchants and others, it was agreed that the said Half-pence should be received at Fifteen for One Shilling, current Money of this Province, which was judged to be the nearest to such Value as might discourage too great a Quantity being imported, and at the same Time prevent their being carried away.

[it is declared]...any Person or Persons who shall refuse to receive English Half-pence in small Payments, at the Rate of Fifteen English Half-pence for One Shilling, ought to be deemed a Disturber of the Publick Peace of the Province.
The rate of fifteen British halfpence to the Pennsylvania shilling (or 60% over face value) became the standard for the entire colony and was also adopted by New Jersey.

Valuation had not been a major problem in Massachusetts. Their rate of exchange had been sufficiently high so that they needed more coppers. Indeed, as is discussed in our colonial currency site, at the time they were flooded with paper currency rather than hard coin. Their needs were finally addressed in 1749 when the largest shipment of British coppers to be sent to the colonies arrived in Boston on the ship The Mermaid.  The British parliament sent Massachusetts Bay almost twenty-one long tons of Spanish silver coins (653,000 troy ounces in 217 chests) as well as ten long tons of English coppers (in one hundred casks), in order to reimburse the Colony for the assistance it provided to the Lewisburg expedition on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, during the French and Indian War. According to the Massachusetts Currency Reform Act of January 26, 1749 the total reimbersment was equivalent to £183,649 2s7 and 1/2d in British sterling. The coppers included over 800,000 halfpence and more than 420,000 farthings all dated 1749; approximately thirty percent of the entire mintage for the year.

Although the shipment had long been expected the space the coins took up was more than the colonists had anticipated. The ship arrived in Boston harbor on Monday September 18, 1749 and the commander of the Mermaid Captain Montague along with one of the colonies London agents, William Bollan, who had accompanied the shipment from England, went to the Governor's Board to inform them they could take possession of the funds. However, the shipment was so large there was no place to secure the coins! The records of the General Court states the situation unfolded as follows:

Voted, that Ezekiel Lewis & Samuel Danforth, Esquires go with Mr. Treasure Foye to his House in King's Street, & see if there be any convenient Place for Lodging the publick Money there, & treat with the Tenant about her Removal in Order to the Treasurer & his familys removing thither.

Mr. Lewis reported thereupon that the Committee had viewed the House (which they found well accommodated for receiving the said Money) & discoursed with the Tenant, who could by no Means be persuaded to remove out of it.

Voted thereupon, That a brick Arch be built in the Cellar of the House where the Treasurer now dwells for the Reception of the Province Money from on board his Majesty's Ship Mermaid as soon as may be, & that Samuel Danforth & Andrwe Oliver Esquire assist the Treasurer in the said Affair.       (Crosby, p. 227; King's Street is now known as State Street)

By the 1750's and 1760's the valuation problem was being resolved as each colony learned to regulate copper values based on regional standards. However, another potentially more serious problem arose. During the 1740's larger quantities of counterfeit halfpence started appearing in Britain and soon these coins found their way to the colonies. In 1753 in New York an examination of a bag of coppers arriving from England showed out of a total of 2,880 halfpence there were 864 cast counterfeits. Due to the influx of counterfeits New York merchants lowered the rate at which they would accept halfpence from twelve to fourteen to the New York shilling. This led the New York Assembly to pass an act on December 12, 1753 against the importation or passing of counterfeit halfpence and farthings. They imposed a £100 fine for importing counterfeit coins while for knowingly passing counterfeit coppers one was fined ten times the amount of the coppers passed. Also, as the merchants were already accepting British coppers at a lower rate, in January the city of New York officially lowered the value of the halfpenny to fourteen to the New York shilling.

The Maryland Gazette of February 28, 1754 stated both genuine and counterfeit English halfpence were circulating in the colony and that those coins were overvalued by 25% in relation to Maryland paper currency. At the time copper halfpence were trading at a rate of eighteen to the Maryland shilling. Maryland's financial position was rather peculiar in that the colony invested in shares of the Bank of England and used these sterling based shares to back their currency. Thus, while they could legislate 18d in Maryland paper currency equalled 1s sterling, the fact was, that 18 British copper halfpence equalled only 9d sterling (this was 25% less than the paper currency!). When using British coins they could not legislate a sterling value above the British value. The Gazette article recommended using the Pennsylvania rate of 15 halfpence to the shilling (which would make the overvaluation even worse) but at the same time they proposed devaluing counterfeit halfpence to a rate of 48 per Maryland shilling (that would be four counterfeit halfpence per pence or 72 per shilling sterling). Apparently the author thought the lower valuation of the counterfeits would make up for the overvaluation of the genuine coppers. This proposal never went forward. However it does show the problems individuals were facing over valuation and the influx of counterfeits.

There are very few references to farthings in the colonies from the period after mid century. Quite possibly this was because by 1760 the majority of coppers sent over from Britain were counterfeit and it was much more profitable for counterfeiters to make halfpence than it was to produce farthings. As a large quantity of regal farthings had been sent to Massachusetts in 1749, the coin seems to have circulated in New England until at least 1765. Eric Newman has uncovered five different broadsides or pamphlets stating the value of coppers in New England during the period 1750-1765. The most complete was printed by William Goddard in Providence, Rhode Island on January 1, 1764. His list, which includes the use of farthings, converts British halfpence into colonial shillings of account (called Lawful Money) as follows:

British HalfpenceLawful Money
1 1/21d

The 1 and 1/2 halfpence refers to a farthing and a halfpenny or three farthings. In a broadside of August 1, 1765 printed by Daniel and Robert Fowle in Portsmouth, New Hampshire it specifically states "3 English Farthings" traded at 1d Lawful Money. This shows farthings were still encountered (at least in New England) after mid century.

[Note on the chart: The British column is in the number of halfpence while the Lawful Money column is in local pence, thus 6 British halfpence (which equals 3d sterling) is equivalent to 4d (8 halfpence) in Lawful Money of the colony. Lawful Money is the term used for the legal exchange rate between British sterling and the colony's money of account based on the rate established in Queen Anne's Proclamation of 1704, in which colonial money of account could not drop below one third of British sterling.]

In the later colonial era British halfpence were quite common, but most were counterfeit. Although there was concern, this did not stop the use of the coins. Indeed in December of 1768 North Carolina passed an act encouraging the importation of British halfpence, which were to pass at twelve per shilling, but the act was repealed by the king. These British coppers, both regal and counterfeit, continued to be used even after the revolution. On March 5, 1787, the New York State legislature produced a report discussing the principle coppers then in circulation. The report stated the investigation committee:

...find that there are various sorts of copper coins circulating in this State, the principal whereof are,

First.   A few genuine British half-pence of George the Second, and some of an earlier date, the impressions of which are generally defaced.

Secondly.   A number of Irish half-pence, with a bust on one side and a harp on the other.

From this and related reports it has been suggested that all George III halfpence in America were counterfeit. Although most were counterfeit it seems a few regal George III coppers did circulate in America. Until recently most coin inventories listed the dates but not the weights of the coins, so determining regal from counterfeit examples not always possible based on the published data. However in the recent excavations of Fort Ligioner and the surrounding area in western Pennsylvania full weight George III halfpence have been uncovered. For further details on this and on counterfeits see the sections on Counterfeit British Coppers and the American Imitation British Halfpence.

Examples displayed

The farthings displayed below include an example from the first regal issue by Charles II and examples from George I and George II. The halfpence issues include examples from George I and George II (including a 1749 halfpenny as was sent to Massachusetts in large quantities). Another section shows a few well worn royal issues from William and Mary, William III, and George II. Coins of these dates circulated in early colonial times and continued to circulate long after they had been well worn, as is mentioned in the 1787 document quoted above. The selection displays how these coins would have look during the 1780's and are especially interesting for comparison with the section on imported British counterfeits and with the sections on American made counterfeit halfpence including the Machin's Mills halfpence, the few unattributed counterfeits, and the related Blacksmith coppers.

Coincraft numbers are given for British regal issues.

There is also a selection of regal Hibernia coppers as they also circulated in the American colonies. The 1688 James II halfpenny was part of the second Irish regal issue, which partially replaced the St. Patrick coppers. (The first Irish issue was from 1680-84 under Charles II and was continued from 1685-88 by James II.) Finally, there is an Irish 1744 George II farthing and a 1781 George III halfpenny.

Updated April 2007. Ivan Smith proofread this page and informed me of an error that has been corrected.


Mossman, pp. 105-123; Eric Newman, "American Circulation of English and Bungtown Halfpence", Studies on Money in Early America,  edited by Eric Newman and Richard Doty, New York: American Numismatic Society, 1976, pp. 134-172; Harrold Gillingham, Counterfeiting in Colonial Pennsylvania,  Numismatic Notes and Monographs, number 86, New York: American Numismatic Society, 1939, pp. 6-7; Kenneth Scott, Counterfeiting in Colonial Pennsylvania,  Numismatic Notes and Monographs, number 132, New York: American Numismatic Society, 1955, pp. 9-10; John Sallay, "The Depreciation of the Massachusetts Currency and the Effects of the Redemption in 1750," The Colonial Newsletter15 (January 1976, serial no. 45) 519-31; Acts and Resolves, Public and Private of of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, Boston: for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by Albert Wright, 1878, vol. 3, pp. 430-441; Eric P. Newman and Peter P. Gaspar, "The Philadelphia Highway Coin Find," The Numismatist vol. 91 (March, 1978) 453-467, with a full listing on p. 495; Eric Newman, "The Face Value of English Coppers Sent to Massachusetts in 1749," The Colonial Newsletter 18 (July 1979, serial no. 55) 681-84; Crosby, pp.226-229; Eric Newman, "1764 Broadside Located Covering the Circulation of English Halfpence and Farthings in New England." The Colonial Newsletter 35 (July 1995, serial no. 100) 1531-33. General references to British coinage include: John Craig, The Mint: A History of the London Mint from AD 287 to 1948  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1953, pp. 174-176, 182 and 250-254; C.E. Challis, ed. A New History of the Royal Mint, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992, pp. 365-378 and 434-438; Steven Mitchell and Brian Reeds, Standard Catalogue of British Coins: Coins of England and the United Kingdom31st ed. London: B.T. Batsford for Seaby, 1996; Richard Lobel et al., Coincraft's Standard Catalogue of English & UK Coins 1066 to Date London: Coincraft, 1995 finally, the best single source on English regal coppers, C. Wilson Peck, English Copper, Tin and Bronze Coins in the British Museum 1558-1958,  second edition, London: British Museum, 1964.

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