Elizabeth II's Decimal Pennies have been struck from 1971 to present day. There are currently three different types of obverse and four types of reverse. All decimal Pennies are still in circulation. All Decimal Pennies weigh approximately 3.56 grams and have diameter of 20.32 millimeters. I have listed all decimal Pennies up to 2008 not including the current reverse design as these are still being made and will be added when a new design is put into production. Eventually when the current type of Decimal coinage is changed it will be added to the catalogue.
Designer Arnold Machin
Designer Raphael Maklouf
Designer Ian Rank-Broadley
To produce Gloss Proofs like this the entire die's surface is polished to obtain this perfect finish across the whole coin. The surface is highly reflective and with full luster has a very glossy quality unlike any circulation issue.
A Frosted Proof is a Proof coin which has a contrast between the device and the Field.The field is made perfect and flawless by polishing the die and the Frosted area is created by shot blasting it to give the die a rough surface.
Obv1 Rev1 Circulation Coin
Struck from 1971 to 1981 in bronze. The 1972 penny was only struck to go into proof sets these have been known to sell for as much as £8.50. The right facing portrait of Elizabeth was designed by Arnold Machin, the inscription reads "ELIZABETH·II D·G·REG·F·D·" followed by the date. The reverse design was by Christopher Ironside, it depicted a crowned portcullis with chains hanging down from either side with a 1 below the image. The reverse inscription reads "NEW PENNY". The portcullis design takes its inspiration from the portcullis badge of Henry VII.
Obv1 Rev1 Gloss Proof
Obv1 Rev1 Frosted Proof
Obv1 Rev2 Circulation Coin
Struck from 1982 to 1984 and struck in bronze. It uses the same obverse by Arnold Machin as the first type. The reverse is slightly different to the first. The image is the same portcullis designed by Christopher Ironside but the inscription has changed to "ONE PENNY".
Obv1 Rev2 Frosted Proof
Obv2 Rev2 Circulation Coin
Struck from 1985 to 1992 (1992 being proof only) it was the last type of Penny to be struck in bronze as the next type was debased to save money. It uses the same Christopher Ironside reverse as used in the previous type. The new obverse uses a new portrait by Raphael Maklouf, depicting Elizabeth II slightly older. The reverse inscription still reads "ELIZABETH II D·G·REG·F·D·" followed by the date.
Obv2 Rev2 Steel
Struck from 1992 to 1997, the obverse and reverse were both the same as the previous type the difference is the coins metal has been debased. The coin was no longer struck in bronze because the value of copper had increased so much that the copper content in the coin was made of was above the coins face value. Instead the Pennies were made out of copper plated steel, to keep the weight the same the coin was made thicker than the original bronze Pennies. All Pennies struck 1992 and after are easily identified because they are magnetic.
Obv3 Rev3 Circulation Coin
This type was struck from 1998 to 2008, The reverse of the coin was kept the same but the portrait was redesigned by Ian Rank-Broady making Elizabeth look much older. The obverse inscription still read "ELIZABETH·II·D·G·REG F·D·" followed by the date. The Penny was still made of copper plated steel.
I love this portrait of Elizabeth II. A lot of people comment negatively on it as it depicts Her Majesty as being elderly. They then draw the conclusion that this is unflattering. To me this portrait is honest Elizabeth II is elderly, and she has dedicated her life working for her subjects. It is not an unflattering portrait but a portrait of an experienced and wise stateswoman.
New Design Part Shield Reverse
Striking of this new design started in 2008 and is unfortunately in use still today. The abomination of a reverse design was designed by Matthew Dent. It features a small portion of the Royal Arms with the inscription ONE PENNY frankly if a primary school child designed it i would still consider their design to be unimaginative and lazy. How ever I'm sure some one at the Royal Mint likes his design as it was chosen from other designs in a competition to redesign the reverses of the coinage excluding the two pound coin. The obverse was kept the same as the previous type.
Writing this additional comment in 2014 I can say much to my surprise that the majority of people have grown rather fond of the new reverse design. It does however upset a lot of people still to no longer have Britannia on any of our coins and her return is eagerly awaited by many (Myself included) .