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Episode 524

History of the British penny (1714–1901)
Thu, 2018-Oct-11 01:05 UTC
Length - 2:34

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Welcome to featured Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of the featured Wikipedia article every day.

The featured article for Thursday, 11 October 2018 is History of the British penny (1714–1901).

The history of the penny of Great Britain and the United Kingdom from 1714 to 1901, the period in which the House of Hanover reigned, saw the transformation of the penny from a little-used small silver coin to the bronze piece recognisable to modern-day Britons, by 1901 struck in the tens of millions each year. All bear the portrait of the monarch on the obverse; copper and bronze pennies have a depiction of Britannia on the reverse.

During most of the 18th century, the penny was a small silver coin rarely seen in circulation, and that was principally struck to be used for Maundy money or other royal charity. Beginning in 1787, the chronic shortage of good money resulted in the wide circulation of private tokens, including large coppers valued at one penny. In 1797 industrialist Matthew Boulton gained a contract to produce official pennies at his Soho Mint in Birmingham; he struck millions of pennies over the next decade. After that, it was not until 1825 that pennies were struck again for circulation, and the copper penny continued to be issued until 1860.

By the late 1850s, the state of the copper coinage was deemed unsatisfactory, with quantities of worn oversized pieces, some dating from Boulton's day, still circulating. They were replaced by lighter bronze coins beginning in 1860; the "Bun penny", named for the hairstyle of Queen Victoria on it, was issued from then until 1894. The final years of Victoria's reign saw the "Veiled head" or "Old head" pennies, which were coined from 1895 until her death in 1901.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 01:05 UTC on Thursday, 11 October 2018.

For the full current version of the article, search Wikipedia for History of the British penny (1714–1901).

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