The penny that never saw the light of day
In 1933 the Royal Mint decided to temporarily cease the production of pennies. This was due to a surplus of the coin already in circulation. Millions of Victorian and Edwardian pennies still changed hands in the 1930s.
Despite the lack of necessity, it was still decided to strike a small number of pennies in 1933. It was customary to place complete sets of dated coins beneath the foundations of buildings constructed in that year. The mint released 1933 pennies especially for this purpose, and packaged them in sets with other coins, to be buried beneath three buildings. A handful were also kept for the Royal Mint and British Museums. It is not known exactly how many were minted, but it is believed to be no more than seven. Thus, even fewer are in public hands.
The design of the 1933 penny is much the same as the well-known design which came before it, and in the decades after. The reverse depicts Britannia seated facing right, holding a trident and a shield decorated with the Union Flag motif.
During this year of hiatus, when no circulating pennies were issued, the mint attempted to create a new portrait for King George V. The seasoned
and highly regarded artist Andre Lavrillier was commissioned to produce King George V’s likeness. He produced four proofs of the coin to show to the’ Standing Committee on Coins, Medals and Decorations’. With all being rejected by the committee, one of these proofs is now with the Royal
Mint Museum and the other 3 are in private hands.
The 1933 penny we are displaying sold at auction for a staggering £127,248. It is accompanied by a rare Lavrillier pattern piece, presenting an outstanding opportunity to view these two rare and legendary coins.