Valuable 1p Coins

From the coin grossing the highest UK resale to valuable 1p coins worth adding to the piggy bank, here’s the most valuable British coins of 1p denomination. 

valuable 1p coins

Here in the UK, we’ve had our fair share of pennies in circulation. We’ve even had half pennies. But that was before the iconic move to decimalisation where the value of the pound  went from 240 pence to just 100 pence.  

That said, with all the variances of pennies out there, there are bound to be some that exceed  their face value. And, by ‘face value’ we mean the value that’s printed on the coin.

For  example, one of the valuable 1p coins we have in the list is now worth £50 on the market.  

Rare UK One Pence Coins

So, before we dive right into our list of the 7 most valuable British coins that started life as  one penny, let’s think about all the ways that could cause a rise in the face value.  

There are six aspects that create a rare 1p coin worth keeping in the pocket. The first is the  rarity, then there’s the error, the year, the material, the collection and the monarch. 

Now we have our introduction to rarity, let’s get going.

The 1992 Copper Penny

The 1992 Copper Penny

Original Value: £0.01 

Current Value: £0.01 (no mistake!)

The first in circulation that would resemble the same 1p coins that get lost down the  crevices of the couch today.

This coin is one of our valuable 1p coins on the list but, as  you may notice, maintains its face value.  

With this, it has only earned a place on the most valuable British coins list because of  its story.

1p coins before 1992 were made of bronze.

However, a small material change  to copper-plated steel in 1992 marked a new era for coinage; in fact, it’s the first  magnetic coin.  

The reason for change was due to an increase in metal value across the world, making  bronze a much more valuable resource than steel or copper.

However, because this  coin was introduced in 1992, has a mintage of 253,867,000, resembles the same coins  released by the Royal Mint today, and remains in circulation after 30 strong years, its  face value is still just 1p.  

That said, it doesn’t mean collectors on buying and selling websites or on auctioneer  websites aren’t willing to pay a little extra for the joy of holding a piece of copper plated history.

The 1994 Gibraltar Barbary Partridge Penny

The 1994 Gibraltar Barbary Partridge Penny

Original Value: £0.01 

Current Value: £1.20 

Gibraltar is an overseas territory located at the base of Spain, close to the North  African coast.

With this geography lesson, it’s easy to understand why Gibraltar is in  use of the British Royal Mint but also features a bird native to North Africa.  

The Barbary Partridge is the national bird of Gibraltar much like the Red Grouse is the  UK’s national bird.  

Moving back over to the rare 1p coin of Gibraltar, this penny was minted by Gibraltar  in cupro-nickel (an alloy of copper containing traces of nickel to harden it and reduce  its cost).

It was done so with a similar minimalist design style to their ‘Monkey 1p’  and ‘Mace 1p’. 

The difference to this British Royal Mint coinage being the geographical location; these  coins aren’t legal tender here in the UK.

In addition to this, they are still in circulation  in Gibraltar meaning a quick flight and a kiosk exchange could land you the 1994 Gibraltar Barbary Partridge Penny, anyway.

The 1997 Guernsey Crab Penny

The 1997 Guernsey Crab Penny

Original Value: £0.01 

Current Value: £2.00 

Much like Gibraltar, Guernsey is a British Crown dependency using the British coinage  system.

However, unlike Gibraltar, Guernsey is an island located off the shore of  North-Western France.  

The Guernsey Crab penny is only a rare 1p coin here in the UK; on the island, itself, it’s  a common coin still in circulation.

And, while it might not be the highest of them all, it  is still one of the most valuable British coins because of its rarity and demand here in  the UK. Some people have even listed the coin on online auction sites for up to £500.  

That said, the usual price is £2 which might not seem a lot but is still a 20000% increase  on the original face value.

The Error Penny

The Error Penny

Original Value: £0.01 

Current Value: £50.00 

When we say “The Error Penny”, there isn’t really any single penny we’re referring to.  There are several ways thousands of coins in the British Royal Mint have been printed  with errors over the years. However, it’s when we find them that they become of value

as they are a rare 1p coin no other collector has. Some of the most common errors in  minting are:  

  • Die Chips: When a part of the centre breaks away after being struck.
  • Cracks: When coin material under immense machine pressure cracks. 
  • Blanks/Planchets: When coins are un-struck in the minting process.
  • Clipped Edges/Flans: When a coin is cut with an irregular edge. 
  • Bubbling: When corrosion occurs after the external metal is compromised. 

Although, there are still many more error types out there.

One of the more well-known  valuable 1p coins of error is the 1971 Mis-strike New Penny 1971.  

Selling at auction for £50 in 2014, this penny was a rare 1p coin with a 500000% face value increase for several reasons.

For one, this coin was manufactured of Brass while  the other 1971 New penny mint featured Bronze.

In addition, the coin weighed 3  grams rather than 3.6 and it had an off-centre strike.

The 1901 Bronze Victoria Old Head Penny

The 1901 Bronze Victoria Old Head Penny

Original Value: £0.01 

Current Value: £50.00 

Online coin dealers with stock of this coin can sell it for £50 a piece.

So, if you find one,  it’s certainly worth keeping and hopping onto an online bidding website such as eBay to find out how much rare 1p coin collectors are willing to pay.

While you may not get  the full £50, it’ll be close! 

The 1901 Bronze Victoria Old Head Penny reaches its value after being the last minted  coin with Queen Victoria’s head on it after her death that same year.

It is also known  as “The Victoria Veiled Head Penny”, characterised by the veil she wears with her  crown.  

That said, the only reason it isn’t worth more is due to the mint numbers released in  that final year: 22,205,568 of these coins were in circulation prior to the  decimalisation in 1971.

The 1882 Young Head Bronze Penny

The 1882 Young Head Bronze Penny

Original Value: £0.01 

Current Value: £37,200.00 

This penny is a very rare 1p coin find with the most recent auction becoming the most  famed with a sell of £37,200.00.

Traditionally speaking, this coin could fetch around  £7000 at auction due to its age, its rarity and its condition as many from that time  have faded hammering.

However, what makes this one of the most valuable British coins to have been sold is  the lack of the “Heaton Mark”.

The Heaton Mark is a small “H” printed underneath  the date on Royal Mint coins to indicate it was coined in the Birmingham Mint  (previously, the Heaton Mint).  

In 1883, the Birmingham Mint had a monopoly as the supplier of all British coins and  would mark their coins as they are printed. In fact, this monopoly lasted until 1923. 

So, to find one printed during this period without the “H”, makes this one of the most  valuable 1p coins. 

The 1933 Lavrillier Pattern Penny

The 1933 Lavrillier Pattern Penny

Original Value: £0.01 

Current Value: £72,000.00 

Finally, we have our most expensive and rare 1p coin: The 1933 Lavrillier Pattern  Penny. Selling for £72,000 in 2016, this penny is one of the rarest in history due to the  mint in that year. 

As King George V was on the throne at the time, his face is hammered into the design. 

However, the French designer – Lavrillier – was heavily criticised for his unflattering  depiction of the Kings’ neck, meaning the pattern was rejected and the coin remained  a prototype.  

That said, it’s not the only aspect making this rare find one of the most valuable 1p  coins out there.

In 1932, there was a surplus of pennies and none were minted; in  1933, only seven were minted for collection purposes. 

Of the seven coins minted, three were placed under foundation stones of landmark  buildings at the time.

Although they were ultimately stolen by thieves, allowing them  to enter circulation.

So, as we’ve reached the end of our list of valuable 1p coins that may or may not be worth  keeping in your pocket, we can see that the highest value comes from the coins that are no  longer in circulation, have a rare mint and were criticized in design.

In other words, the more  of the six aspects of coin value that are reached by a single coin, the more valuable it becomes. 

Before we end this article, it’s probably worth mentioning that 2019 saw no new 1p coins  being introduced to circulation as there was a surplus.

With this, only a small handful of coins  were minted in 2020. So, if you find a 1p coin with “2020” engraved, keep it in the piggybank  to see if its value skyrockets over the next decade or two. 

When you’re ready to sell the most valuable British coins, you can get the Royal Mint to verify  them.

It’s important to remember fake coins may have reached circulation and a verification  on a coin can help secure a good lump-sum from a buyer.

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