A 1951 sixpence featuring the head of a King George VI facing left with a Latin inscription that translated reads:
George the Sixth, by the Grace of God, King of all the Britain’s, Defender of the Faith. The reverse of the coin has the date split between a crown with King George VI’s initials and the word sixpence below.

The sixpence was introduced during the reign of Edward VI in 1551. A single sixpence had the value of six single pennies. It would have originally been minted in silver. In 1920 this was reduced to 50% silver due to high costs of silver; these were later changed in 1947 to Cupronickel – copper & nickel. Whereas a shilling had the nickname “bob” the sixpence was also known as “tanner”. The sixpence was taken out of circulation in 1980 following decimalisation on February 15th 1971.

Over the years the sixpence became a symbol of good luck. To this day it is still a common tradition to give a silver sixpence to a new born baby, stir into a Christmas Pudding or tuck a sixpence in a Bride’s shoe on her wedding day.


More information:

Date 1950s
Material(s) CopperCupronickel
Item number MBPO30

Questions to help you remember using this item

  • Have you ever been given a silver sixpence as a token of good luck?
  • Or have you been lucky enough to get the slice of Christmas Pudding with a sixpence in?

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