Coinage in the Commonwealth - Random Facts
August 2, 2013
The other day I found a 1952 penny in my mother’s change. I like to collect random coins I stumble on, so I decided to keep it. The penny actually caught my eye because it had King George VI on it (for those not familiar, the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II and her predecessor is King George VI). This wasn’t the first older penny I found, but I decided to try and determine its value. While searching, I stumbled on some interesting facts about coinage and the monarchy that I thought I’d share.
Interestingly enough, monarchs that are represented on coinage traditionally face in the opposite direction as their predecessor. If you take any coin minted by a commonwealth country that has the monarch on the back, you’ll notice that Queen Elizabeth II faces right. However coins minted during the reign of King George VI, her predecessor, have him facing left. This tradition started with King Charles II.
King Edward VIII was the only monarch that broke this tradition, as coins that were to have his image had him facing left when he should have been facing right. This was apparently because he liked his left facing portraits more than his right facing ones. His successor, King George VI, faced left on the coins to keep with tradition assuming that his predecessor had faced right.
In the end after all my searching, it turned out that the penny is probably worth no more than $0.20 today. Oh well, it’s still an interesting collectable though.
You can check out some of the monarchs on Canadian coinage on the Royal Canadian Mint’s website.
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