The appellation continues the tradition of earlier penny coins of Great Britain, which besides featured the name of Britannia. The bronze coins of these specifications replaced the larger copper pennies which were issued until 1860. The new, more durable, alloy was composed of 95 parts of copper, four of tin and one of zinc. between 1860 and 1895, the penny had the third Britannia plan on the reverse, and Queen Victoria ‘s “ Bun Head ” effigy. In 1895, the revoke was updated to this fourth Britannia design – which is a simplified translation of the earlier design by Leonard Charles Wyon, and the obverse to the Queen ‘s “ Veiled Head ” portrayal. Unlike the smaller denominations, which were redesigned for the newly neologism of King George VI in 1937 ( see the Ship Halfpenny and the Wren Farthing ), the penny did not get a new design and retained the classic Britannia reverse until the end.
During the reign of King George V, the batch had issues with the monarch ‘s portrayal by Sir Bertram Mackennal. Many of the bronze blanks used for the coins were produced by secret firms in Birmingham. A great share of difficulty was encountered in striking coins of this design. The high easing portrait caused a displacement of metallic, called “ ghost ”, that showed through on the reverse side as an incuse draft of the head. A new tan alloy was adopted in 1923 in an effort to remedy the situation. It consisted of 95.5 per penny copper, 3 per penny can and 1.5 per cent zinc. This alloy has a more golden tint than the early one. It lessened the hardness, enabling the coins to be more easily struck and lengthened the life of the dies. During 1925 the features of the design were slightly modified to further serve eliminate the “ ghost ”, but this mistake was not fully corrected until 1928 when a new design, with a smaller headway, was introduced. The coins with the modified effigy from former 1925 and thereafter all have the graphic designer ’ south initials in little letters without periods.
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One penny coins issued in 1916 remained in circulation for 55 years until “ decimal Day ”, 15 February 1971 when the old currency was demonetised and the decimal Pound Sterling was introduced, with a new decimal penny replacing these previous coins.