Britain to drop sixpence

Completing its monetary conversio to the decimal system, the British government this month announced that the sixpence will no longer be legal tender after June 30.

Scrapping the last of the empire coinage -- the sixpence was first minted in 1551 -- has brought British sentiment for lost causes to the surface once again. Newspaper comment has lamented the coin's demise since it was formerly so vital to small-change transactions.

Coin leaders see added value in the June cut-off since run-of-the-mill sixpence will eventually be in demand as out-of-circulation pieces. Already sixpence of the limited 1953 issue are worth around $50 each, and the pre-1920 coins are going up in price because of very high silver content.

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