Maundy money, legally called "the Queen's Maundy money" is money in British silver coins 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).
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 are given an appropriate number of complete sets, plus a part set if necessary, to equal the sovereign's age.
The reverse designs of the coins have seen only one change since 1822: a slight alteration of the style of the crown and denomination numerals in Queen Victoria's golden jubilee year of 1887. The dimensions of the coins have been fixed since 1822, although their silver content has changed twice (reduced in 1921, increased in 1947):
1 penny : weight 0.47 grams, diameter 11.15 millimetres.
2 pence : weight 0.94 grams, diameter 13.44 millimetres.
3 pence : weight 1.41 grams, diameter 16.26 millimetres.
4 pence : weight 1.88 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 coinage in favour of cupronickel, but as it was felt to be inappropriate to strike Maundy coins in base metal, their fineness was restored to 0.925, where it remains to the present day.
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