, known colloquially as the tanner
, or half-shilling
, was a British
pre-decimal coin, worth six (pre-1971) pence
, or 1/40th of a pound sterling
, the first sixpences were struck in the reign of Edward VI
in 1551 and continued until they were rendered obsolete by decimalisation
in 1971. Along with the shilling
(12 pence) and the florin
(2 shillings), the last general issue sixpence was issued in 1967 and a special proof
version struck for inclusion in the farewell proof set of 1970. However, sixpences, shillings and florins continued to be legal tender at values of 2½, 5 and 10 new pence respectively.
Sixpences were originally supposed to be demonetized upon decimalisation in 1971. However, they remained legal tender until 30 June 1980.
After the Great Recoinage of 1816
, the mint coined each troy pound (weighing 5760 grains) of standard (0.925 fine) silver into 66 shillings, or its equivalent in other denominations. This effectively set the weight of the sixpence at 43.636 grains or 2.828 grams from 1816 until the last striking in 1970.
The silver content followed the pattern of other silver coins. They were sterling silver
until 1920, when they were reduced to 50 percent silver. The last 50-percent-silver sixpence was minted in 1946; they were changed to cupro-nickel
from 1947 onwards.
As the supply of silver threepence
coins slowly disappeared, sixpences replaced them as the coins put into Christmas puddings
; children would hope to be the... Read More