Is A 1806 George III Penny Worth Anything?

The 1806 George III penny is one of the earlier copper pennies and was produced at the Soho works in Birmingham, but how much is the coin worth today?

It’s incredibly difficult to give an exact value for an 1806 George III penny as it depends greatly on the condition of the coin and which version you have. Highly graded specimens can sell for hundreds of pounds whilst coins in poor condition can sell for as little as £10 or less. Gilt-proof versions have been known to exceed £1,000 in some cases.

There is a lot to unpack when it comes to this coin, so keep reading to learn more about the intricate details behind the coin and why it is worth potentially hundreds of pounds to the right buyer.

A Brief History Of Copper Pennies

Copper pennies were first minted in 1797 during the reign of King George III, and were produced at a Birmingham Soho mint by Matthew Boulton and James Watt, rather than the Royal Mint.

At the time, the rising price of copper meant that it was no longer sustainable for the Royal Mint to produce copper coins. Matthew Boulton showed initiative and developed a steam-powered press which allowed him to produce copper coins for a profit.

He secured a contract and the first edition of the copper penny was created in 1797- although it faced a lot of criticism due to how large it was. The 1806 copper penny was downsized and the design changed.

Copper pennies continued to be minted during George’s reign until 1808, marking just over ten years of production of George III pennies – one of the reasons why they are sought after by collectors.

After George’s reign ended in 1820 the copper penny would be brought back with new editions minted from 1825 onwards.

How Rare Is An 1806 George III Penny?

When it comes to rarity the mintage figure is usually a good starting place, although this is unfortunately not available for the 1806 George III penny.

Despite the fact that the manufacturing process was outsourced to the Birmingham Soho mint they were still capable of producing many coins – 87 million were minted in 2 years, for example – so we can’t assume that the mintage is low based on this fact either.

However, since very few years of George III pennies are available this does increase the collectability of the coin. Given the sale prices of the coin ranging upwards of £500 in some cases, it’s fair to say that the coin is quite rare today when found in a good condition.

Design Of The 1806 George III Penny

The obverse design features a portrait of King George III facing right with the inscription ‘GEORGIUS III · D : G · REX’ around the edge with the date 1806 below.

The letter K can be seen at the bottom of the portrait which commemorates the designer Conrad Heinrich Küchler. This obverse was used in 1806 only.

1806 Penny Obverse Design
Obverse Design – Credit

The reverse design shows the figure of Britannia on a rock facing left.

She is holding an olive branch in her right arm, with a trident resting in the left. A ship can be seen to the left, with a shield decorated with the British flag resting on the rock at the right.

If you inspect closely you will see the inscription SOHO towards the bottom right on the rock in reference to the mint that it was produced in.

Reverse of the 1806 Penny
Reverse Design – Credit

Incuse Hair Curl

If you look closely to the right of the tie knot on the obverse design at the top of George’s neck you may notice that some versions have a hair curl featured on the design and others do not. You can see this highlighted in the image below.

Incuse hair curl close up image
Incuse Hair Tail – Credit

This doesn’t affect the value of the coin much, but it’s very interesting to see the variations in the design due to the manufacturing process used. See if you can tell whether the obverse design that we included earlier has this hair curl or not!

Gilt-Proof Version

A quick glance at this auction lot and you’ll quickly notice that this 1806 penny appears to be gold, and you wouldn’t be mistaken.

There are several gilted versions of the coin, which means they have been coated in gold. Examples like this are usually found in a much higher grade and sell for upwards of £1,000.

Bahamas 1806 George III Penny

There was also an 1806 George III penny that was produced for the Bahamas.

This version has the same obverse design bearing the portrait of George, but the reverse features a sailing ship with an island and a sinking ship in the background.

The mintage for this coin is around 120,000, which makes it highly sought after. In terms of value, the 1806 Bahamas penny sells for around £100, but this can vary depending on the condition of the coin.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to pennies there is an abundance of different versions that have been released through the years.

The 1806 George II penny has a lot of history and interesting facts relating to it, and if you happen to own a highly graded version of the coin – or even a gilt version – you should consider having it properly valuated.