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Virginia Halfpennies – 1773 – 1774

Learn About the 4 Types of 1773 – 1774 Virginia Halfpennies

The Royal Charter decreed in 1609 for the Colony of Virginia granted the authority to mint coinage for use in Virginia. But that authority was not used for 164 years! In 1773, the Virginia Assembly recognized the need for actual coinage and authorized the striking of a Halfpenny from the Mint on the Tower of London. Engraver Richard Yeo created a coin that had a weight of sixty coins to the pound.

Yeo’s obverse design had a bust of King George III, facing right. Around his bust was the Latin phrase “GEORGIVS III REX.” Translated to “GEORGE the THIRD, KING”. The reverse had a large crowned shield and the periphery had the word “VIR – GINIA” separated by the Shield and the crown separated the 17 – 73 date.

(A 1773 Virginia Halfpenny – Period after Georgivs Variety – Obverse [left] – Reverse [right].)

There was also another variety where there was no period after GEORGIVS. Approximately 670,000 were struck and shipped. A larger coin was struck and it was known as the Virginia Penny. It is pretty rare, unlike the Half Penny.

(A 1773 Virginia Penny in Proof – Obverse [left] – Reverse [right].)
(The only Other Virginia Coin – Silver Shiling – 6 Known – Obverse [left] – Reverse [right].)

Both the Penny and the Shilling were considered patterns due to the limited mintages. The Penny had approximately 30 known examples while the Shilling is one of only 6 known. To coin 670,000 halfpennies, 22 pairs of dies were used and are known.

The coins actually arrived in New York in 1774. The coins were distributed in 1775 and just weeks after they were in the hands of Virginians, the Battle of Lexington and Concord commenced against Royal troops.

Due to the shortage of coinage and the battles raging throughout New England with the British, Virginians hoarded these new Halfpennies. In fact, all Virginia coinage was hoarded until the war had ended.

DateTypeMintageVG ValueUnc Value
1773Virginia – Period After Georgivs670,000$60$1,250
1773Virginia – No Period After GeorgivsIncluded$85$1,400
1773Virginia Penny30 Known$12,500$30,000
1773Virginia Shiling6 Known$50,000$120,000

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