World Coins

British penny substitutes as half dollar: Found in Rolls

It is no secret that as a roll searcher I have my favorites among the denominations of coin rolls that I like to look through. The list in order from top to bottom is as follows: large-sized dollar coins (when I can find them), half dollars (when I can order them), cents (easy to get and loaded with treasures), small-sized dollars (I find a fair number of die varieties), quarter dollars (I don’t find much but when I do, it’s fun), 5-cent coins (near the bottom of the list because I keep getting rolls that are a nickel short) and dimes (they are so small that they drive my fingers crazy). So there you go! 

One thing that I find with all denominations is world coins, which come in all sizes and shapes. No matter what type of United States coinage I am searching, the potential to find interesting non-U.S. coinage keeps things very exciting! 

My most interesting find came in a roll of what should have been all United States half dollars.

As soon as I opened the roll, I noticed that this coin was going to be different.

Of course, the copper color of this piece and the lack of edge reeding made it a standout among the rest of the coins in the roll. The fact that the coin would be considered as Brilliant Uncirculated in condition didn’t hurt either! 

Immediately recognizable, because I’ve found coins like this before, it is dated 1963. Struck of a bronze alloy, this penny of Great Britain has a diameter of 30.72 millimeters, just slightly larger than the 30.6-millimeter half dollars.

The obverse features what is known as a Laureate bust of Queen Elizabeth II, facing right encircled by the inscription + ELIZABETH • II • DEI • GRATIA • REGINA • F : D : .

The reverse design includes a centered figure of Britannia seated, facing right. The date,1963, is in an exergue, and the denomination ONE PENNY is plainly visible. A lighthouse is seen to the left beneath the word ONE.

Other finds among the half dollars I searched included a few Kennedy silver-copper clad half dollars. Two were dated 1966, one was dated 1967, and one was dated 1968-D. I also found one 1999-P gold-plated half dollar. All in all, I had a lot of fun adding a few more coins to my collection!

Please tell me about your finds. at

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