1686 Sixpence – James II

The 1686 Sixpence - James II

Silver sixpence of King James II, dated 1686 and minted at the Tower Mint in London. Diameter 21mm and weighs 2.99g. SCBC: 3412.

The 1686 and early 1687 are known as early type sixpences. The later 1687 and 1688 are late types. The difference is in the shields on the reverse, the early type shields have indented tops.

The Obverse shows a laureated and draped bust of King James II facing left. Legend around is "IACOBVS . II . DEI . GRATIA".

The Edge has diagonal milling.

The Reverse shows four crowned shields in a cross formation, showing the arms of England, Scotland, France and Ireland. Star of the Garter in the centre. Legend around is "MAG . BR . FRA . ET . HIB REX 1685". Date is divided by the crown.

Image credit: Museums Victoria

Mintage: Not known
Minted at The Royal Mint.
James II (1685-1688)
James was King of England and Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685 until he was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Born on 14 October 1633, the brother of Charles II, at St James's Palace, London and died 16 September 1701. Many dies engraved by John Roettier (1631-1700).

The regnal years used on James II coins were:
1686:SECVNDO; 1687:TERTIO; 1688:QVARTO.
General Description: Sixpences

The Sixpence (half a shilling) was a British silver coin that was first minted 1551 and virtually continuously until decimalisation in 1971. They were often known as 'tanners'. They are small coins, the last minted had a diameter of about 19.4 mm.


  • Year Minted: 1551-1970
  • Diameter: 19.41 mm
  • Weight: 2.83g (1816-1970)
  • Edge: Milled
  • Metal: 
    • 1551–1816: Silver
    • 1816–1920: 92.5% Silver
    • 1920–1946: 50% Silver
    • 1947–1970 Cupronickel. Zero Silver

In today's money they are 2½p. It doesn't sound much but at the time it was a weeks pocket money! It was a popular coin when in circulation and is now popular with collectors as it has a long history and many nice specimens can be obtained at affordable prices.

Which Mint: The Royal Mint
The Royal Mint is the designated place for the UK to mint coins. It dates back well over 1000 years and is a Government-owned company. 

Formed in the reign of Alfred the Great about the year 886, during the period 1279-1812 it was generally referred to as The Tower Mint as it was housed at the Tower of London. The Master of The Royal Mint has included famous figures such as Sir Isaac Newton.

Since 2010 it has operated as Royal Mint Ltd, a company owned by HM Treasury, under an exclusive contract to supply all coinage for the UK although it also produces medals and coins for other countries. It is currently located at Llantrisant, Wales.

There is also an on-line shop at The Royal Mint Shop.
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
The United Kingdom (UK) is the Union of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is often refered to as Great Britain (GBR). It has a long, rich history.

The orignal coinage was Pounds, Shillings and Pence but since decimalisation on 15 February 1971, it is £1 = 100p, that is One Pound = 100 pence. The coinage of the UK is also a long history, the Royal Mint being established as long ago as 886AD when coins were hammered. Today there is perhaps 30 billion coins in circulation, and many (numismatic) collectors coins and sets are issued frequently in gold, silver and other metals.
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