The First Three George's

Author: Lawrence Chard - Chairman and CEO

Published: 6 Nov 2018

Last Updated: 26 Dec 2022


Britannia continued to adorn the copper farthings and halfpennies issued for the first three King George's...

"Dump" issues, forgeries, and change! Learn more about the three George's below.....

George I 

 By 1717, there was a strong demand for halfpennies and farthings, and there was no time for the Royal Mint to conduct further experiments in production of its own copper blanks from raw metal. Copper coins were minted using rolled copper fillets or strips, ready for cutting into blanks by the Mint before striking.

The new issues were struck in high relief, and produced attractive coins, although this also caused production problems such as weak striking. The very first issues were made on small diameter thick flans, and are now know as "dump" issues. From 1719 a thinner, larger diameter was used.

George II

The copper coins of George II remained unchanged from those of George I, except for the obvious matter of an updated obverse portrait.

The forgery of copper coins however became a significant problem, and new laws were introduced to control the problem. The forgers responded by deliberately altering the inscriptions, many of which are amusing. Strangely, we see far more forgeries of George III coins than we do of George II.

George III - First Issues

The reign of George III is noteworthy for coin collectors. From 1760 to about 1815, most of the coinage was similar to previous issues. Change started in about 1797 with the issue of "Cartwheel" pennies, twopences by Matthew Boulton, and from 1816, the entire coinage was revised.

In 1762 - 1763, a large issue of halfpennies was produced, all dated 1754, the last date of George II, whose portrait they bore.

From 1770 to 1775, halfpennies were issued for George III, with his portrait and legends, but otherwise continuing previous designs. Similarly, farthings were issued from 1771 to 1775.

As already noted, these were very commonly forged, usually with deliberately altered inscriptions.


Britannia on the Reverse of a George III First Issue London Mint Copper Halfpenny of 1770

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