Maundy money refers to the coins given to elderly people by the monarch in a ceremony that drew inspiration from the Bible when Jesus Christ washed the feet of his disciples on the day before Good Friday. The first Maundy money ceremony took place in the reign of Charles II, when the king gave people undated hammered coins in 1662. The coins, struck especially for the occasion, were a four penny, three penny, two penny and one penny piece. In 1670 the king began giving out a dated set of all four coins.
Maundy money has remained much the same since 1670, the coins used for the Maundy ceremony traditionally being struck in sterling silver. A Maundy set still consists of four small silver coins, but in 1971, at the time of decimalisation, the face values of the coins were changed from old to new pence.
Issued in 1940, during the Second World War, the obverse features George VI’s portrait by T. Humphrey Paget. The reverse depicts the crowned numeral almost encapsulated by a wreath, a design first used during the reign of King William III and Queen Mary II.