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In 1947 our silver coinage lost all its (50 per cent) silver and henceforth was struck in cupro-nickel. This alloy already had a long history in British coinage – some pattern proof pennies and halfpennies were struck in 1868. They are believed to be trials for the coins struck for use in Jamaica the following year. In this sale there was an immaculate halfpenny. Maritime pride was at its height and the reverse bears an image of the Eddystone Lighthouse and a ship behind the figure of a proud Britannia. It made a mid-estimate £350.

The 1566 Mary Queen of Scots silver ryal previewed in this column recently made £900 (estimate £600-800). Still North of the Border a James VI (I of England) 1582 silver 20 shillings with a fine half-length miniature-like portrait of the young monarch, realised a bid over the top estimate when the gavel crashed at £640.