Talk:Penny (English coin)

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Former featured article Penny (English coin) is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
January 19, 2004 Refreshing brilliant prose Kept
September 9, 2004 Featured article review Demoted
Current status: Former featured article
WikiProject Numismatics / British currency  (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
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 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
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older entries[edit]

This article is to be commended. Amazing already. - user:zanimum

Very good - I think I'll list it on wikipedia:brilliant prose - though I think it could probably doing with being split into a section for Plantagenet, a section for Tudor, etc - with a main page that gives a summary. That'd make for easier reading, IMO. Martin

Thanks -- I'll probably split it somehow into more logical chunks once I've finished the whole story, but for now the start of Elizabeth I is a reasonable place to break as she had the first machine-produced coins. Arwel

OK - the article's finished at last. I hope the chapter breaks meet with everyone's approval! :) -- Arwel 01:04 Apr 11, 2003 (UTC)

Outstanding, this must have taken a very long time to prepare. Well done!
-- Adrian Pingstone 08:32 Apr 11, 2003 (UTC)

Thanks for the kind words. It took about two weeks altogether. I may take a short break before I start on the ha'penny! Arwel 11:25 Apr 11, 2003 (UTC)

Merge?[edit]

Why is there a separate article for Victoria? It should be merged with the Hanoverians since space allows. --Jiang 23:01, 23 Dec 2003 (UTC)


You have removed from the introduction several points of fact which are no longer in the article, Please restore them. Andy Mabbett 23:34, 23 Dec 2003 (UTC)

I did not remove it from "the introduction" but rather, the disambiguation text on top of the introduction. The text was really confusing and wordy. Perhaps you should check again whether I've incorporated everything properly? --Jiang 23:42, 23 Dec 2003 (UTC)

No, you have not. If you find such text confusing, perhaps you could lewave it to somebody else to edit, instead of removing it? Andy Mabbett 23:56, 23 Dec 2003 (UTC)

What specifically did I leave out? --Jiang 00:06, 24 Dec 2003 (UTC)
Read the orginal. Read what you left. Specifically, any fact not in the second, but in the first, you left out. Andy Mabbett 00:09, 24 Dec 2003 (UTC)

This article refers to the penny coin which existed from its introduction in England in the reign of Offa of Mercia in the eighth century until decimalisation of the currency in 1971. - in the article; we don't need an extensive summary at the top

This article discusses the silver coins produced until 1820 (for later silver pennies, to the present day, please see the article on Maundy money) - stated what the article doesnt discuss "silver coins produced after 1820". What the article does discuss should be presented in the article itself.

and the copper or bronze coins produced from 1797 to 1970. - not sure whether these refer to pennies; i added it in and arwel removed it. since she wrote the article, we should trust her judgement on this.

I removed part of your amendment because it was directing people interested in copper and bronze coins (pennies) from 1797-1970 to the Maundy money article, which doesn't discuss them -- this series of articles covers silver pennies 785-1820 and copper/bronze pennies 1797-1970, while the Maundy article covers not normally circulating silver pennies 1820-date. Arwel 23:59, 24 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Your point? --Jiang 00:16, 24 Dec 2003 (UTC)

You have removed from the introduction several points of fact which are no longer in the article, Please restore them. Andy Mabbett 00:21, 24 Dec 2003 (UTC)
I ask what and you keep repeating yourself. Sorry, but I can't help you that way. I don't know what you want me to restore, short of the whole thing.--Jiang 00:26, 24 Dec 2003 (UTC)
Then please do. As I've already said, If you find such text confusing, perhaps you could lewave it to somebody else to edit, instead of removing it?. Andy Mabbett 00:30, 24 Dec 2003 (UTC)
I see no reason to revert my edit simply because you don't like it. You have to tell me why. Arwel did not revert it and she wrote it. --Jiang
"He", please! Arwel 23:52, 24 Dec 2003 (UTC)
(Sorry. --Jiang)
I have told you why. Twice. Andy Mabbett 00:41, 24 Dec 2003 (UTC)
I know, but you never told me what specifically. I can't really gauge the actual effects of my edits. --Jiang 00:45, 24 Dec 2003 (UTC)
Read the orginal. Read what you left. Specifically, any fact not in the second, but in the first, you left out. Then again, if I can't really gauge the actual effects of my edits; don't make any. Andy Mabbett 00:50, 24 Dec 2003 (UTC)

I would agree with Jiang--I think the disambig at the top should be brief and only direct people to what isn't here, not what is (that's what the introduction is for). Perhaps its wording could be altered a little for clarity, but I think Jiang's version is superior. Jwrosenzweig 00:19, 24 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Perhaps it should be brief. That's not my point. Andy Mabbett 00:21, 24 Dec 2003 (UTC)

In "From the time of King Offa, the penny was the only denomination of coin minted in England for some five hundred years, until the attempted gold coinage issue of King Henry II...", Henry II is a misprint for Henry III. It was during the latter's reign that his brother, the Count of Cornwall, conducted a failed attempt to bring in a gold penny (though it failed, the attempt was personally profitable for the Count - the profits helped finance his successful bid to become Holy Roman Emperor). PML.

I'm implementing this change now. PML.

It seems to me that all of the articles on the history at the bottom should be incorporated into this one -- it's strange to have an article titled "History..." that really doesn't cover the whole history. -- BCorr ¤ Брайен 01:39, 24 Dec 2003 (UTC)

I originally started writing the article in one piece, but hit the 32K limit before the start of Elizabeth I's reign, as well as receiving suggestions from other readers to break the article up into periods, which I did. Arwel 23:52, 24 Dec 2003 (UTC)
The date in the title is sufficient to indicate this. The page would be over 32kB if we kept it on one page. --Jiang
I didn't realize that -- good point. Could it have short sections (say 1 to 3 paragraphs) on each period in this article though? -- BCorr ¤ Брайен 01:50, 24 Dec 2003 (UTC)

You mean like History_of_Algeria#Chapters_of_the_series? Sure... --Jiang 01:51, 24 Dec 2003 (UTC)


To try to pre-empt the ongoing edit war, I'd like to point out that I originally wrote the italicised first paragraph as an introduction to the article, NOT as a disambiguation. -- Arwel 21:36, 2 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Image[edit]

This article has been listed as a featured article lacking a picture, so I looked around and found a couple of useable penny images and combined them for 'contrast', as it were (in horizontal and vertical forms). It's not great, but it's an image...
Should we use it?
James F. (talk) 07:43, 8 Jul 2004 (UTC)

It would be nice if we could find a picture of a medieval penny to compare with the late versions in these pictures. The history of the penny covers 1200 years, and these pictures only cover the last 80 or so! -- Arwel 10:26, 8 Jul 2004 (UTC)
There's Image:Henry III short cross penny.jpg, but the background on that, and relatively low image quality, makes it difficult to use (I did try, to no avail, sadly). Perhaps if we could find a white-backgrounded picture of an early penny?
James F. (talk) 12:50, 8 Jul 2004 (UTC)
There are medieval penny images on the Wiki page Offa of Mercia.--RgoNaut 18:45, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

English penny vs Frankish & German coins[edit]

The article presently begins, "The penny, originally a coin of 1.3 to 1.5 g pure silver, was introduced to England around the year 785 by King Offa of Mercia, in the English midlands. Coins of the same value were in circulation continuously until decimalisation in 1971, at which time a new penny was introduced worth 2.4 times the value of the old coin. Offa's original coins were similar in size and weight to the continental deniers of the period.

The name penny comes from the Old English pennige (roughly pronounced "penny-yeah", IPA [penije]), sharing the same root as the German pfennig. Its abbreviation d. comes from the Roman denarius and was used until decimalisation in 1971."

This article really needs to start with a more accurate description. The penny was introduced by King Offa of Mercia as 1/240 of the Tower pound. The monetary system based on the penny, shilling, and pound persisted until decimalisation in 1971. The new penny introduced at that time is 1/100 pound, and therefore 2.4 times the previous penny.

I think using the term "value" to describe the denomination of a coin is very misleading. Inflation devalues currency. The English penny was increasingly debased (diminished in silver content) in the Plantagenet and Tudor periods. The coinage was reformed in the late Tudor period, returning to sterling silver by removing excess copper content. The new coins were about a third of the original sizes, and copper pennies replaced silver pennies altogether.

The present gives the impression that English and continental coinage was nearly interchangeable, which is grossly inaccurate. The Frankish denier was one third the weight of the English penny. Offa's penny was slightly larger than the old continental Saxon sceat. The primary German coin was the schilling of Cologne, which was about a third larger than Offa's penny. Charlemagne's monetary standard was only an accounting practice setting the ratios 1li=20s=240d.

The Germanic root word basicly means small, thin. Any small coin could have be called a penny, and nearly all medieval coins were very small, indeed. The old Saxon coin was almost certainly called a penny; the Saxon word sceat properly means "wealth" but was misinterpreted from some ancient texts to be the name of the coin.

Not all the above detail needs to be in the article introduction, but the errors should be corrected and a smooth introduction crafted.
RgoNaut 19:47, 22 September 2006 (UTC)


suggestion for word change[edit]

I agree entirely that this is a very interesting and seemingly thoroughly researched piece of work. I would suggest one small change: In the following section, I feel that the word "value" is misleading:

The penny, originally a coin of 1.3 to 1.5 g pure silver, was introduced to England around the year 785 by King Offa of Mercia, in the English midlands. Coins of the same value were in circulation continuously until decimalisation in 1971...

Should this word be changed to "denomination"? A 1971 penny was almost valueless when compared with a penny of Offa's time, which would have had significant purchasing power. The two pennies are comparable only in name.

Sorry if this appears pedantic (it probably is) and also if, through missing a nuance of numismatist-speak, I am, in fact, wrong. As I say, I really enjoyed the article and the word usage just popped out at me as I read it. Best wishes, Dgriff 20:42, 27 September 2006 (UTC)


Dgriff again[edit]

sorry, I hadn't read RgoNaut's comment who makes the same point in rather greater depth. Dgriff 20:46, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

Anonymous message[edit]

The penny, originally a coin of 1.3 to 1.5 g pure silver, was introduced to England around the year 785 by King Offa of Mercia, in the English midlands. Coins of the same value were in circulation continuously until decimalisation in 1971,

Should the text read "of the same value..." or "of the same denomination..." ? A penny in 1971 didn't have the same value as a penny in 785, as the initial penny was made of silver and the later pennies were made of base metals - a penny in Offa's time could buy much more than a penny in 1971. The only thing the two pennies really had in common was their name.

(Copied from foot of article. Angus McLellan (Talk) 19:38, 13 October 2006 (UTC))

The denomination is the distinguishing feature. The penny (as 1/240 of a pound, rather than the decimal pence) had been the same denomination from its creation in the 8th century all the way until its discontinuation as legal tender on decimal day in the late 21st century. That's a span of just under 12 centuries!! (it may have been the longest standing continuous denomination). 90.195.140.50 (talk) 14:25, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
Just wondering, how do you know what's going to happen in the late 21st century??  :-) Uporządnicki (talk) 13:43, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

History by period vs history by coin[edit]

I would personally prefer a reworking of the entire article series so that there is one article per version of the coin (i.e. bronze (1860-1971), copper (1797-1971) etc.). This would allow an infobox on each page and link the series together much nicer than how it is currently. I am aware, however, that this would be a large undertaking and would appreciate feedback (pro or neg) before doing anything. Retroplum (talk) 19:21, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

Well, someone seems to have done it, but I find it entirely unhelpful as this is a single topic and it is now spread haphazardly and misleadingly across several pages. — LlywelynII 06:55, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
I tend to agree, it's all a bit of a mess at the moment and has been for a while. It's a shame because there is a lot of information (perhaps too much information in places) spread across various articles, although its largely uncited. Also, the distinction between the 'English' and 'British' penny seems entirely unnecessary. A single article is probably the most useful to the reader so that would seem like the best option to me. Retroplum (talk) 23:31, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

Grains[edit]

There were nominally 32 and probably actually 30 Tower grains in the early pence and their modern equivalent in modern grains is entirely irrelevant as no one then used that unit and practically no one still does. I corrected the worst of it but it still needs more thorough treatment so that the penny (coin) articles reflect the info at the pennyweight article. — LlywelynII 06:55, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Silver Pennies[edit]

The Design Silver section of this page says

 "No silver pennies were minted at all between 1800 and 1817."

It is true that no silver pennies bore these dates but the Royal Maundy page says

 "To evade statutory prohibitions on the striking of silver coin during the Napoleonic Wars, all Maundy pieces issued from 1800 to 1815 bear the date 1800, though most were struck later.[69]"

Thus, it would be better to say

 "Silver pennies minted between 1800 and 1817 were dated 1800 and only used for the Royal Maundy."

EcuPadic (talk) 20:33, 6 December 2015 (UTC)

Proposed merger[edit]

I propose that the article Penny (English coin) is merged into this one. In my opinion the distinction between the English and British penny is unhelpful and doesn't really mean anything. I'm perfectly happy to create a new merged article and unless there are any objections I'm going to go ahead and do that. Retroplum (talk) 16:46, 2 January 2017 (UTC)

Old vs new--statement of increase wrong[edit]

This comment is about the article Penny (British pre-decimal coin), but clicking on the Talk Page there redirects here. So I guess this is where I have to comment.
That article says that the new, decimal penny is 58.33% more than the old. I see where this figure came from, but the statement is not correct; the arithmetical result has been misinterpreted/misrepresented.
With decimalization, the pound stayed constant. Where there were 240 old pence to the pound, now there are 100 new pence. Thus, the new penny is worth 2.4 times the old, or 240%. So the increase is 140%.
Here's where the other figure came from: The old penny is worth 41.666 ...% of the new. Therefore, the difference between the two is 58.333 ...% of the value of the NEW penny--NOT a very informative bit of data. Uporządnicki (talk) 13:28, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

I went ahead and changed it. It seems that my analysis is no more Original Research than the earlier statement. Uporządnicki (talk) 13:52, 21 July 2017 (UTC)