Maundy Money
 
Maundy money is a welcoming British coinage given to deserving poor people in a religious ceremony performed, in many periods with the participation of the monarch, on Maundy Thursday, the Thursday before Easter. A Maundy ceremony at the court of Elizabeth I. Miniature attributed to Levina Teerlinc, c. 1560.The present-day Maundy ceremony has evolved over the centuries and bears little relationship to the original rites to which it owes its origins. A fundamental aspect of the original Maundy service was the washing of the feet of the poor, which has its origins in Jesus' washing of the feet of the Disciples at the Last Supper. In early ceremonies, senior clergymen would wash the feet of lower clergy, while in other ceremonies, the washing would be done by someone higher up the hierarchical order.
 

KM#777 3 pence 1900 Victoria Plain 1.4138g .925Ag.
KM#797.1 3 pence 1904 Edward VII 1.4138g .925Ag.
KM#813 3 pence 1912 George V 1.4138g .925Ag.
 
  • 1822–1830 — Left-facing head of King George IV. GEORGIUS IIII D G BRITANNIAR REX F D (George IV by the Grace of God King of the Britains, Defender of the Faith).
  • 1831–1837 — Right-facing head of King William IV. GULIELMUS IIII D G BRITANNIAR REX F D (William IV by the Grace of God King of the Britains, Defender of the Faith).
  • 1838–1887 — Left-facing "young head" of Queen Victoria. VICTORIA D G BRITANNIAR REGINA F D (Victoria by the Grace of God Queen of the Britains, Defender of the Faith).
  • 1888–1892 — Left-facing "Jubilee head" of Queen Victoria. VICTORIA D G BRITANNIAR REGINA F D (Victoria by the Grace of God Queen of the Britains, Defender of the Faith).
  • 1893–1901 — Left-facing "old head" of Queen Victoria. VICTORIA DEI GRA BRITT REGINA FID DEF IND IMP (Victoria by the Grace of God Queen of the Britains, Defender of the Faith, Empress of India).
  • 1902–1910 — Right-facing head of King Edward VII. EDWARDVS VII D G BRITT OMN REX F D IND IMP (Edward VII by the Grace of God King of All the Britains, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India).
  • 1911–1936 — Left-facing head of King George V. GEORGIVS V D G BRITT OMN REX F D IND IMP (George V by the Grace of God King of All the Britains, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India.
  • 1937–1948 — Left-facing head of King George VI. GEORGIVS VI D G BR OMN REX F D IND IMP (George VI by the Grace of God King of All the Britains, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India).
  • 1949–1952 — Left-facing head of King George VI. GEORGIVS VI D G BR OMN REX FIDEI DEF (George VI by the Grace of God King of All the Britains, Defender of the Faith).
  • 1953 — Right-facing head of Queen Elizabeth II. ELIZABETH II DEI GRA BRITT OMN REGINA F D (Elizabeth II by the Grace of God Queen of All the Britains, Defender of the Faith).
  • 1954–current — Right-facing head of Queen Elizabeth II. ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA F D (Elizabeth II by the Grace of God Queen, Defender of the Faith).
Note that the "young head" of Queen Elizabeth (by Mary Gillick) has been used on all Maundy coins of her reign, despite it not having been used on regular circulation coins since decimalization.
 
Until 1820 ordinary silver coinage was used for the Maundy money, but from 1822 special coins were minted in values of 1, 2, 3, and 4 pence. The 4d coin was also known as a groat. Each set of Maundy money therefore contains 10 pence, and recipients would be given an appropriate number of complete sets, plus a part-set when appropriate.

The dimensions and reverse designs of the coins have not changed since 1822, although their composition has changed over the years (not necessarily in ways which would be expected):
  • 1 penny : weight 0.4713 grams, diameter 11.15 millimetres.
  • 2 pence : weight 0.9426 grams, diameter 13.44 millimetres.
  • 3 pence : weight 1.4138 grams, diameter 16.26 millimetres.
  • 4 pence : weight 1.8851 grams, diameter 17.63 millimetres.
     

The original composition of the coins was Sterling (0.925) silver. In common with all circulating British silver coins, the fineness was reduced to 0.500 in 1921. In 1947, silver was removed from all circulating British coins in favour of cupronickel, but it was felt to be inappropriate to strike Maundy money in such debased metal, so unusually the fineness was restored to 0.925, where it remains to the present day.

In 1971, British currency was decimalised, with 100 new pence instead of 20 shillings of 12 pence (240 pence) in a pound. The design of the Maundy money was not changed at all, so instead of being worth 1, 2, 3, or 4 old pence, the coins are now worth 1, 2, 3, or 4 new pence, each one being worth 2.4 times its former value. As there is no difference in the design or weight between pre- and post-1971 coins, it was uniquely decided to revalue all pre-decimal Maundy coins back to 1822 at the equivalent value in new pence, i.e. the face value of each coin was increased by a factor of 2.4 overnight. All Maundy coins, back to 1822, remain legal tender in Britain at their stated value in new pence.
 
Source of Information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maundy_money.
 

 
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