5th July 1956

New coins are minted for Guernsey

Guernsey’s currency underwent a major change in 1956. Not only did it get a new set of coins, which circulated alongside mainland Sterling; it also saw its first local threepenny piece.

As reported in The Times,

Until now the coins of Guernsey have consisted of eight, four, two and one Double pieces. The States have now authorized a threepenny piece, and at the same time new designs have been adopted which will appear on a coinage of threepences and eight and four Double pieces. The coins have been sent to Guernsey by the Royal Mint, and will shortly be put into circulation.

Mainland equivalents

To four Double and two Double coins, both in bronze, were worth the same as a British penny and half penny, and were designed to be the same size as the mainland equivalents. They each had a Guernsey lily on one side, while the cupro-nickel threepenny piece sported a Guernsey cow and had a scalloped edge with 12 indentations.

The opposite side of each coin had the seal of the Bailiwick of Guernsey. This had been granted to the island by Edward I. According to The Guardian,

To ensure that the representation on the coins conforms as nearly as possible to the original seal the Royal Mint engravers copied the design for the dies from impressions on some fifteenth-century documents lent by private owners.

Guernsey had previous had one and two Double coins in addition to the four and eight Double pieces. However, these were withdrawn in 1956 after 126 years.

The four and eight Double coins were in circulation for just over a decade. Guernsey got its own five and 10 pence coins in 1968 and a 50 pence coin in 1969. It introduced decimal currency in 1971, at the same time as the mainland.


FREE Guernsey history newsletter

Don't miss our weekly update on Guernsey's fascinating history. We promise never to sell your data to anyone else, and there's a super-easy unsubscribe link on the bottom of each email so you can leave whenever you want.



Other events that occured in July