Sixpence Coin – Choose your year
Great Idea for Birthdays, Anniversaries, Special Dates. A unique gift for all occasions
The sixpence coin or the 6d. Sometimes known as a tanner or sixpenny bit. A coin that was worth one-fortieth of a pound sterling, or sixpence. It was first minted in the reign of Edward VI and circulated until 1980. Following decimalisation in 1971 it had a value of 221 new pence. The sixpence coin was made from silver from its introduction in 1551 to 1947, and thereafter in cupronickel.
Prior to Decimal Day in 1971, there were 240 pence in one pound sterling. Twelve pence made a shilling, and twenty shillings made a pound. Values less than a pound were usually written in shillings and pence, e.g. 42 old pence (1721p) would be three shillings and sixpence (3/6), often pronounced “three and six”. Values of less than a shilling were simply written in terms of pence, e.g. eight pence would be 8d
History of the Sixpence Coin
Sixpence coins were first minted in 1551, during the reign of Edward VI. They came about as a result of the debasement of silver coinage in the 1540s, in particular, the silver testoon. The debased testoon was likely useful in everyday transactions. Deciding that new coinage was introduced with the express denomination of the sixpence coin. The testoon decreased in value because, unlike today, the value of coins was determined by the market value of the metal they contained, and during the reign of Henry VIII the purity of silver in coinage had fallen significantly.
Sixpence coins were minted during the reign of every British monarch after Edward VI. As well as during the Commonwealth, with a vast number of variations and alterations over the years. John Sigismund Tanner designed a number of issues during the reign of George II. One time Chief Engraver of the Royal Mint, and it has been suggested that this is the origin of the nickname “tanner”, which was a popular name for the coin until decimalisation. An alternative explanation for the nickname is that it comes from Angloromani word tawno meaning small thing
Minting the sixpence coin
The Royal Mint undertook a massive recoinage programme in 1816, with large quantities of gold and silver coin being minted. Previous issues of silver coinage had been irregular, and the previous issue, minted in 1787, did little to alleviate the chronic shortage of silver coinage in general circulation. New silver coinage was to be of .925 (sterling) standard, with silver coins to be minted at 66 shillings to the pound weight. Hence, newly minted sixpence coins weighed 43.636 grains or 2.828 grams.
The Royal Mint debased the silver coinage in 1920 from 92.5% silver to 50% silver. Sixpence coins of both alloys were minted that year. This debasement was done because of the rising price of silver around the world and followed the global trend of elimination, or reduction in purity, of the silver in coinage. The minting of silver coinage of the pound sterling ceased completely in 1946 for similar reasons, exacerbated by the costs of the Second World War. New “silver” coinage was instead minted in cupronickel, an alloy of copper and nickel containing no silver at all.
Beginning with Lord Wrottesley’s proposals in the 1820s, there were various attempts to decimalise the pound sterling over the next century and a half. These attempts came to nothing significant until the 1960s when the need for a currency more suited to simple monetary calculations became pressing. The decision to decimalise was announced in 1966, with the pound to be divided into 100, rather than 240, pence. Decimal Day was set for 15 February 1971, a whole range of new coins was introduced. The sixpence coin continued to be legal tender with a value of 21∕2 new pence until 30 June 1980.
1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967