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    The Famous 1933 George V Penny
    A Legendary British Rarity

    George V Penny 1933 MS63 Brown NGC, Royal mint, KM838, S-4055, Peck-2279, Freeman-209. One of the only British coins of the 20th century, or any century for that matter, that can truly qualify as famous. Akin to America's 1943 copper cents that were created by accident during World War II, Britain's 1933 penny has achieved superstar status...and it isn't just a coincidence.  While coin collecting has been a hobby enjoyed by king and peasant alike for centuries, numismatics experienced a real boom in the middle of the 20th century. Much of this can be explained not only by the prosperity brought to the victors of war (both the Great Britain and the U.S. being included in that list), but the explosion of marketing, media and perhaps most importantly...munchkins, or children as they are more often referred. With the combination of the three, coins for the first time were able to achieve broad scale recognition and well, fame. Children who engaged in the endeavor of set building, and there were MANY, spent uncountable time and unquantifiable effort trying to complete sets and fill albums. Likely without exception, their quest for the 1933 penny, a coin that was at the time no more than several decades old, failed. Fast forward to current day and these children are now adults. Many have experienced great success in their careers, and as a result, have the ability to reconnect (assuming they ever gave it up in the first place) to their childhood through coins...and for the luckiest of them, it means being able to obtain the unobtainable. In the case of the U.S. cent mentioned earlier, this has translated into numerous million dollar plus transactions. For Great Britain, while still impressive, this figure has been much more modest despite its comparable rarity.

    While not traditionally attracting the same level of enthusiasm, the recent world record price for a pattern of the same date, designed by French engraver André Lavrillier, illustrated that the dream of many is alive and well; that coin, realized £72,000 or just over $100,000. No recent sales of the 1933 penny, such as the current piece, are recorded.

    While produced in standard circulation-strike quality, 1933 pennies were not produced for general circulation. Instead, according to James Mackay in his book A History of Modern English Coinage, these coins were struck for "inclusion in year sets interred under the foundation stones of public buildings, and only one or two are believed to be in the hands of private collectors." While the number extant in collector's hands might be a touch conservative (3 is the generally the number used when discussing the coin today), the explanation about the coin's existence and resulting great rarity is rather eye-opening.

    Of the few that exist in private hands, and perhaps 7 or so that exist in totality (one of the seven known was stolen in August 1970 and remains unaccounted for), it's hard to image an example lovelier than the present piece. Rich reddish-brown colored, the surfaces retain impressive gloss with very faint iridescent blue and yellow tone highlighting portions of both sides. The surfaces are also essentially free of spots or marks from handling (the image shows a line running from Britannia's knee across the first N in PENNY, but this is on the plastic holder and not the coin). Magnified inspection shows almost microscopic die polish swirls as one might expect from a coin that saw so few struck. Additionally, tiny hints of original mint red are seen; on the obverse near the ID in FID and on the reverse just below the exergual line and around the date. Altogether, a delight to view. For the right collector, the one that fully embraces the nostalgia of youth and the thrill of collecting, a once in a lifetime chance to turn that childhood dream into a current-day reality. We wish you luck in your pursuit.
    Ex. Norweb Collection

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2016
    11th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 13
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 9,178

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