Coin Curiosity

Researching the history coins of the British Commonwealth

Home > 1937 British Penny Varieties

1937 British Penny Varieties

Posted on

In 1937 two different obverse and reverse dies were used to strike British pence. The differences are slight and were probably made to improve the new obverse and reverse designs introduced that year.

1937 Penny reverse B
1937 Penny reverse B
1937 Penny obverse 1
1937 Penny obverse 1

Freeman labelled the obverses 1 and 2 and the reverses A and B (p64, Freeman, The Bronze Coinage of Great Britain (1860-1970), 2016).

1937 Penny Dies
Obverse 1P of IMP at denticle
Obverse 2P of IMP to right of denticle
Reverse Asecond stroke of second N of PENNY at denticle
Reverse Bsecond stroke of second N of PENNY between denticles

Curiously, while there were two obverse and reverse dies used in 1937, the combination of 2+A is not known to exist, while combinations 1+A, 1+B and 2+B are all known and, while not equally common, are all very common. The exact date of discovery of the varieties is not clear but they have been known probably since the 1960s, and given that no 2+A has yet come to light in the many decades since then, it is unlikely that a 1937 2+A penny exists. More likely is that obverse 2 was created and introduced towards the end of production, well after all reverse A dies had been used up.

1937 British penny die pairings
Die pairingNotesReference
1+ACommonFreeman 217
1+BCommonFreeman 219
2+BCommonFreeman 221

Images provided by Museum Victoria under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International