The sixpence, also known as a 'tanner' or 'sixpenny bit', was a silver British coin originally worth sixpence, or 1/40 of a Pound. First introduced in 1551, the sixpence would continue to be issued until decimalisation in 1971.
With a history spanning over 500 years, no silver coin collection would be complete without the sixpence.
Sixpence coins were first minted in 1551, while Edward VI was King. Silver had been debased during the reign of his father, King Henry VIII, and the silver testoon in particular found its value halved.
Having been produced over the following 400 years, the silver sixpence has been minted in a number of purities, including Sterling (925) and debased (500) fineness. After the second world war, gold and silver were no longer used for circulating currency, and the sixpence was produced instead using cupronickel.
Following the decimalisation of Britain’s currency in the 1971, the sixpence remained in circulation for another nine years until 1980. As part of the decimal system, the sixpence had a somewhat confusing value of 2.5 pence.