Today’s coin is just like yesterday’s, just a different year.
United Kingdom, 1 penny, 1971 (KM #915)
1971 was the year that the United Kingdom ended their centuries-old pre-decimal “L-S-D” system of coinage, where there were 12 pence in a shilling and 20 shillings in a pound. The new system would do away with shillings, and divide the pound simply into 100 pence. Pre-decimal coinage was halted in 1967, and preparations were made for Decimal Day in 1971. Some of the larger decimal coins were struck in advance and are 1968-1970, but 1971 is the earliest date for decimal pennies. Since demand for the brand new denominations was very high, large numbers of the new decimal coins were minted at quantities not exceeded for decades afterward. Thus the 1968-1971 British coins are very common.
Another thing to note is the wording “New Pence” on the reverse. This was done from until 1982, to help differentiate the new pence from the old and invalid pence.
Before decimalization, it must have been fascinating to search for old coinage in circulation in British coins, considering that there were centuries of coins to find. Nowadays, it is impossible to find coins older than 1971 circulating in Britain.
Weight 3.56 g
Diameter 20.32 mm
Thickness 1.52 mm
Engravers Arnold Machin (obverse)
Cristopher Ironside (reverse)
Orientation Medal alignment