Sing a song of sixpences

Our local metal detectorist found quite a few pre 1971 sixpence coins or tanners as they were affectionately known as. They all come from the old recreation ground. Here’s a sample to show changes.

Some 6d coins found on the old recreation ground in Market Lavington

Some 6d coins found on the old recreation ground in Market Lavington

These coins were known as ‘silver’ unlike the penny and ha’penny which were ‘coppers’. In times past they were probably made of silver metal but silver content was gradually reduced over the years. The oldest coin there, the one at top left, dates from 1923 and features a lion and crown on the reverse side which we show here. It has retained its silver colour so will have some silver content. The second coin at top right dates from 1929 and still has silver. It has an oak leaf and acorn pattern on the back. These coins are fifty percent silver. In the front row we start with a 1942 coin. This is still a 50% silver coin but by 1949, the next coin, all silver content had gone. The coin, like the last one form 1958 is cupro-nickel and both have tarnished in the ground. The 1958 coin shows the plant emblems of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. None of these coins have much cash value but they had actual value back then. A person who earned sixpence in 1958 would earn about £1.54 now – an annoying amount to lose. In connection with other finds they start to paint a picture of the way the old recreation ground was used. It was certainly a place where money changed hands and got lost as well.

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