When archeologists found this British half-pence (or half-penny), it was located in the remnants of a wood lined cellar of the British Barracks of Fort Stanwix. These barracks were in use between 1764 and 1781. This British half-pence bears the date 1723. Just as happens today, the British or American person to whom this coin belonged would have exchanged it several times and it would have stayed in the exchange system for decades. Coins were scarce in the colonies, and even less common at Fort Stanwix than within urban settings like Albany, New York (Heldman 1980: 95-96; Hume 1969: 167-68). Consequently, bartering and trade on credit were common practices at Fort Stanwix and in the surround communities.
The face of the coin (right) depicts King George I facing right with the lettering "GEORGIVUS · REX" encircling the top of his profile. On the back of the coin (left) the design of the woman is the classic Britannia symbol. This symbol first appeared on British copper coins in 1672 during the reign of King Charles II. The image was a legacy of Roman coins and was revived during a period in which Great Britain's naval power was being tested by France and other countries (Royal Mint). The symbol includes the image of a woman holding a spear and olive branch with a shield leaning against her skirt on the right. The lettering that encircles her profile spells "BRITANNIA". Britannia is still a significant symbol of Great Britain and is depicted on British coins today.
To view this coin in better detail, visit the National Park Service Museum Collection Web Catalog: British Half Penny
For more on the history of the Britannia symbol on British coins visit the Royal Mint: Britannia on British Coins.
Heldman, Donald P. (1980). Coins At Michilimackinac. Historical Archaeology 14: 82-107.
Hume, Ivor Noel (1969). A Guide to Artifacts of Colonial America. University of Pennsylvania Press: Philadelphia.