This 1945 penny was in my change from the grocery store in 2010, and it’s one of my most prized possessions. I’m not really a monarchist, but I like to imagine the way the world was when this coin was new. In the grander scheme of history, it’s very recent, but these days the world of 1945 seems so far from our own. Even just to think of all the little features of that 2010 grocery store trip – the iPhone in my bag, the jeans I was wearing, the frozen pizza in my basket, the ever-present electronic beeps at the till – makes the difference between the two times seem almost too large to process.
Another reason I like this penny is because of the way George VI is facing. The tradition is for each monarch to face the opposite way from their predecessor. George V faced left, but so did Edward VIII. Apparently he did this to show the parting in his hair (typical). So when George VI came to the throne after the scandal of Edward VIII’s abdication, he faced left too, as if his brother had acted properly all along.