Great Britain 1854 Half Penny Inverted A Variety


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Nice red brown uncirculated 1854 half penny with an inverted “A” for “V” in VICTORIA on the obverse. Unlisted in Spink or C.W. Peck’s “English Copper, Tin and Bronze Coins in the British Museum”. According to one collector of such varieties (Chingford, see below) this variety was discovered in 2010. There’s some information on the variety in thread on which we started when the coin was first found. In addition we have sent several emails to various dealers around the world regarding this coin. Below you can see the correspondence we’ve received concerning it.

“This variety was discovered by a British copper halfpenny & penny specialist (1825 to 1860) a couple of years ago. It is amazing that no one had noticed this error for over 150 years ! About 5 or 6 have now been recorded by various copper variety specialists but all have been bought as an ordinary 1854 halfpenny examples (as was yours) so a price for this variety has as yet not been tested. One will need to be placed in a proper auction with the variety mentioned and then we can see what price it commands.”

Michael Goulby, Michael Coins, 8 January 2013

“Fantastic find, always nice to find a rare variety, better still when it is a the top end.
As Michael says circa 5/6 are known top end, the lower end grades run into 10+ now, as the variety is now
known, it is readily sought after, and many more collectors are looking at their Halfpennies a little closer.

Chingford (forum ID) from Predecimal Coin Forum, 9 January 2013

“The 1854 “V over A” is a recent find (past 1 1/2 years). I had one copy of the coin, and wrote to some Dealers in London that I know, about their knowledge of any more. I also inquired within some U.S. and English Coin Forum’s about the coin. From those conversations, I found out there were three (3) more examples. Not long after that, I saw one advertised on eBay (Fine condition) for $1,295, by another English Dealer. This was NOT one of the original four examples. Knowing then, there are five know examples, I estimated that there might be another one or two examples, so I used the figure of eight (8) as the known number. Really I know of only five(5). Since this is a very old coin, the known examples have already come forward except for maybe one or two more…thus the estimate of eight (8) examples. I do know there is one (1) Gem uncirculated copy in Canada, which is included in the number of five (5) known copies.

You might want to send a copy of your pic to Michael Gouby in London, at He is the author of the book “The British Bronze Penny”. Michael is keeping tab of the different varieties of this coin, and is the authority on British Bronze coins of all kinds. He has taken over from Michael Freeman, who is now retired. I tried to buy a copy of that coin from Australia, a while back, but was outbid. It was listed as uncirculated, and looked a lot like yours. Your coin is probably the 2nd best I have seen, behind the “Gem” in Canada. You have a very nice example…an excellent find!”

Bob Crawford, RLC Coins, 31 December 2012

” Thank you for your e-mail and for the excellent pictures.
I have to say that I have not seen this variety before, it is also unlisted in C.W.Peck’s excellent ‘English Copper, Tin and Bronze Coins in the British Museum’.
The bar across the inverted A is strong and clear and in addition to this the coin is in high grade and I think it would sell well in one of our auctions. If you are looking to sell the piece we would be pleased to auction it for you.”

Paul Redford, London Coins, 20 October 2011

Coin Information

Reference Number:C100801
Country:Great Britain
Mint:Royal Mint London
PCGS Reference:20794573
Error Type:Inverted A for V in VICTORIA

Noted sales of this variety include:

1854 Inverted A 1854 Half Penny for Sale – US$695 on RLC Coins.
London Coins 1/9/2013 Auction 142 – coin graded as good fine, sold for £95
London Coins 3/3/2013 Auction 140 – coin graded as good fine, sold for £320
eBay 2/10/2011, coin graded as EF or better (but was borderline AU), sold for AU$356.

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