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Brit Tip #19

Small silver dates to watch for 1838-1936 (up though sixpences)

This page details some of the better dates of the small silver British coins 1838-1936 to be on the lookout for (see Tip #11 for 1937-1970). Some of the dates may be "common" in Krause or even the British price guides, but the ebay prices or general availability suggest otherwise. I would very much like feedback on other dates I have missed. I will omit minor varieties here - there are many better references for that angle of collecting. Note that I refer to coins in high grade in most cases.

Threehalfpences:

  • These were all issued in the time of Victoria.  The key date in the series is 1840.  The other date worth checking is 1843, to see if there is an overstrike 1843/34.

Threepences:

  • Beware of maundy threepences being sold as currency.
  • All top grade Young Head  Victorian dates are desirable and are all quite rare in uncirculated condition, except for 1883-1887.
  • The key dates are 1848 and 1852.

  • Almost as rare are 1846, 1852, 1853 and 1869.

  • 1858 (BRITANNIAB) and 1868 (RRITANIAR) are prized varieties.

  • The third tier of good dates includes 1839, 1863, 1865 and 1882.

  • Jubilee Head dates are all fairly common except for 1893.  This date is fairly easy to pick up in lower grades, but very tough to find in uncirculated.  A poor second to that is 1888, considered scarce due to low mintage.
  • Veiled Head dates are all common.
  • Edward VII - 1904 and 1907 are by the toughest to obtain in top grade.  Dates other than 1902, 1908 and 1910 are a challenge.
  • George V - 1926 (first head), 1927 proof, 1928, 1930 and 1931.  ESC lists 1931 as "common" but in reality it is tough to find an UNC piece of that date.  Dates 1923 and 1924 are maundy only.

Groats:

  • These were all issued in the time of Victoria.  They are not to be confused with maundy fourpences.  The top dates are 1847, 1851, 1852 and 1853.  1853 is so tough that you are more apt to find it a as proof.  There are also very rare proofs minted in 1857 and 1862.

Sixpences:

  • Victorian Young Head dates are all desirable, especially the earlier dates having the better high relief portrait.  They are generally not as rare as their threepence counterparts in top grade.
  • The toughest dates in any grade are 1848, 1854 and 1862.

  • Almost as tough is 1863.

  • 1866 (no die number) and 1878 (DRITANNIAR) are prized varieties.

  • The next tier includes 1865, 1867, 1868, 1869, 1870, 1876, 1879 and 1882.  In my opinion, 1882 is rarer than ESC suggests.

  • No coins dated 1849 and 1861 have ever been found, even though Royal Mint records indicates production in both of these years.  Perhaps 1849 coins were dated 1850 (not likely 1848).  1861 coins could have been dated either 1860 or 1862.

  • The Jubilee head dated 1893 is one of the most prized of all sixpences in the period 1838-1970, rivaling the 1854.  It is virtually unobtainable.  In 1967, the price for an UNC was catalogued at 60!!  Today, a date-only condition piece may fetch wild amounts up to 500.
  • No Veiled Head pieces are particularly rare but 1894 and 1895 are scarce.
  • Edward VII - 1904 and 1905 go back and forth as being the scarcest.  All Edward VII silver is prized today, even the smaller pieces.
  • George V - 1917 and 1923 are by far the most difficult dates.  Uncirculated specimens of 1917 are very poorly struck and may be undergraded.

Maundy Issues:

  • All dates are desirable and command far more than catalogue values.  By far the rarest in 1838-modern times is 1953.
  • Ironically, while Edward VII silver is prized, the maundy coins of that reign are among the most common and lowest priced.

Posted on CU 4/6/2005