1953 six penny coin.

A silver sixpence was often called a ‘tanner’.

This coin shows the first coin portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. Introduced in 1953 it shows the youth of the new 26-year-old queen. Her hair is brushed off her face and she wears a laureate crown (a mark of honour and distinction) tied with a ribbon. This portrait was used on coins until 1970.

A new design was made for the reverse of the silver sixpence in 1953, showing an intricate floral design of a rose, thistle, leek and shamrock to represent the four Home Nations: England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

After decimalisation, when the pound was to be divided into 100 rather than 240 pence, sixpences continued to be legal tender with a value of 2 ½ new pence, until 30 June 1980.

Silver sixpences would be baked into Christmas puddings for good luck, and they were also given to brides on their wedding day to wear in their shoe for good luck.

“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in her shoe.”

More information:

Date 1950s
Material(s) Silver
Item number MBPO31

Questions to help you remember using this item

  • Did you ever find a sixpence in your Christmas pudding?

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