The Washington Grate Halfpenny is part of the series of merchant tokens and collector coins produced in England in the late 1700s. Collectively, these coins are known as Conder tokens. Some Conder tokens offered themes that related directly to the American Colonies or the United States. This particluar piece, because of the portrait of George Washington that appears on the obverse, has been accepted into the canon of U.S. colonial coins, though the striking date was late and the association loose.
The Grate Halfpenny derives its name from the fireplace grate on the reverse of the coin. This was meant to evoke the comfort and warmth of the home setting. On this variety, the edge is not lettered, but shows a diagonal reeding. The Large Button variety refers to the button on Washington's coat -- compare and contrast with the Small Button variety (PCGS #749).
The Grate Halfpenny is a relatively common coin, but true Mint State examples are somewhat scarce. The finest examples certified by PCGS rate MS65BN. Red-Brown examples represent a small fraction of the known population.