The sixpence

Sixpence, 1967
The sixpence was last minted in 1967, but remained legal tender until 1980

The sixepence was a coin in Britain's pounds, shilling and pence currency system.

A sixpence was worth six old pennies (6d) or half a shilling. It was one fortieth of a pound sterling.

A well-known slang word for a sixpence was a 'tanner'.

A sixpence is worth 2½p in Britain's decimal system. It remained legal tender with this value until 1 July 1980.

Origins of the sixpence

The first sixpence piece was struck in the reign of Edward VI. It was a silver coin.

Unlike the threepence , the sixpence remained in circulation until 1980.

The sixpence also remained a silver coin (or silver coloured coin).

The sixpence in popular culture

After the silver threepence disappeared, people put sixpences in Christmas puddings.


The last sixpence was minted for general circulation in 1967. The sixpence played an important role in decimalisation. It was the smallest coin that had a direct equivalent in both systems. An old sixpence was 2½p. It allowed the old and new money to be used together for short time.

The closest decimal coin in value to the sixpence was the decimal 2p.

The very last sixpence

The Royal Mint issued a 1970 proof set of the last 'old money' coins. The set contained a sixpence dated 1970.

What could you buy for a sixpence?

In 1971 when Britain went decimal, a sixpence was worth around 30p in today's money (2023).

Even in 1970, the year before decimalisation, a sixpence wouldn't go far. You could get these sweets and chocolates for 6d in 1970:

How many of these can you stil get today?

By Steven Braggs, February 2023

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Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

Mid Century ★ Facts & Figures ★ Collectibles

Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

★ Mid Century ★ Facts & Figures ★ Collectibles ★