Fiji Halfpenny, Coins From the Island Colony: 1/2 Penny (Fiji, 1952)-Article

This coin is a 8th year Fijian Halfpenny (George VI), dated 1952. The Fijian Halfpenny represented the smallest denomination coin, of the Fijian Pound. The Fijian Pound was a non-decimal currency, which included coins in the 1/2 Pence (Halfpenny), 1 Pence (Penny), 3 Pence, 6 Pence, 1 Shilling, and 1 Florin denominations. A single Fijian Pound was equal to 240 Pence.

The King George VI Fijian Halfpenny first entered circulation in 1940 and was lasted issued in 1952. It was briefly replaced by a US mint produced brass variant, that was issued from 1942-1943. After a several year long hiatus, production resumed from 1949-1952. These coins were seceded by the 1954 Queen Elizabeth II variant. Representing the final version of the Fijian Halfpenny.

The coin is a smooth-edged design made of a copper-nickel alloy and weighs 3.3 g. Its dimensions are 21.1 mm (0.83 in) wide and 2.01mm (0.079) in thick. Making it larger in size to a US Penny (19.05/0.75 in), in that respect. This coin will be reviewed reverse first, as homage to its home nation.


Fijian Half Penny reverse by Percy Metcalfe
Fijian Half Penny reverse by Percy Metcalfe

The reverse utilizes a a fairly simple and practical design. The reverse's artwork is designed around a central hole. This hole features a raised rim with squared serrations, running along it's outer edge. The coin's issue date is divided left ("19") and right ("52"), of the center axis. The coin lists its type ("Halfpenny") above and issuing nation ("Fiji") below.

Both sides of the coin feature a raised rim, with squared serrations, running along its inner edge.


Fijian Half Penny observe by Percy Metcalfe.
Fijian Half Penny observe by Percy Metcalfe.

The observe's central hole features only a smooth raised rim, without squared serrations. Immediately above is the Imperial State Crown, representing the British monarchy. The remainder of the the coin's surface is wreathed by the text, "KING*GEORGE*THE*SIXTH".

Pre-Decimal Fijian Pound Guide

10 Florin=1 Fijian Pound

20 Shilling=1 Fijian Pound

240 Pence=1 Fijian Pound

40 Pence=1 Fijian Pound

20 Pence= 1Fijian Shilling

Size Comparison

A Fiji Half Penny with US Quarter for comparison.
A Fiji Half Penny with US Quarter for comparison.

Additional Notes

  • The 1952 Fijian Half Penny (King George VI), had a relatively small production of 228,000.

  • This coin was designed by English artist Percy Metcalfe (1895-1970). Best known for designing the "Barnyard Collection" coin series, for the Irish Free State.

  • Percy Metcalfe designed the infamous 1936 Fijian Penny (King Edward VIII). This is the only brief exception of the George Kruger Gray designed Fijian Penny run (1934-1936/1936-1945).

  • Coins with a central hole are often referred to as "cash coins" or "cash-type" coins.

  • Cash coins were a type of Chinese currency, used throughout East Asia, from the 4th century BC and early 20th century AD.

  • In 1970, Fiji transitioned a British colony to a self-governing commonwealth lead by a Governor-General.

  • In 1987, Fiji transitioned to a republic after establishing the Office of the Fijian Presidency.

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