Farthing, Coin Type from United Kingdom - detailed information

Farthing, Coin Type from United Kingdom (issued 1806 - 1956)
Coin TypeFarthing

The Farthing was a small circulating coin of the British pre-decimal Pound Sterling, equal to a quarter of a penny. Prices were never written in farthings though - something worth a farthing would be quoted as 1/4d ("d" being the abbreviation for "penny", from the Roman "denarius"). There were 20 shillings to a pound, 12 pence to a shilling and 4 farthings to a penny, so 960 of these coins made up £1.

In 1801 the parliaments of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland each passed an Act of Union, uniting the two kingdoms and creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Re-coinage followed in 1806, after which four types of farthings were issued: a large copper coin with concave surfaces and a Britannia reverse (1806 and 1807 only), a large copper coin with a second Britannia design (1821 to 1864), then smaller bronze coins - with a third Britannia design (1860 to 1895), a simplified fourth Britannia design (1895 to 1936) and finally a new farthing design featuring a wren bird (1937 to 1956).

The farthing denomination was demonetised before the rest of the pre-decimal currency - it ceased to be legal tender after 31 December 1960.

Obverse
United Kingdom / Farthing - obverse photo

Effigy of the ruling British monarch, part of the legend (in Latin).

During the existence of the denomination, farthings were issued for:
- King George III (1806 - 1807)
- King George IV (1821 - 1831)
- King William IV (1831 - 1837)
- Queen Victoria (1838 - 1901)
- King Edward VII (1902 - 1910)
- King George V (1911 - 1936)
- King George VI (1937 - 1952)
- Queen Elizabeth II (1953 - 1956)

Obverse Inscription Legend of the ruling British monarch
Reverse
United Kingdom / Farthing - reverse photo

The reverse went through several transformations during the existence of the denomination.

The first reverse (1806 - 1807) was designed by Conrad Heinrich Küchler; the coins were struck by the Soho Mint. It shows the figure of Britannia - the female personification of Great Britain - seated on a rock, facing left, holding a trident and extending an olive branch; a shield decorated with the British flag rests against the rock at right. In the background to the left, a sailing ship. Around above, the legend BRITANNIA. There is no indication of the value and denomination.

Subsequent coins were struck almost exclusively by the Royal Mint; its production was on a few occasions supplemented by Heaton and Sons in Birmingham.

The second reverse (1821 - 1864), designed by William Wyon, features a new rendition of Britannia; she is seated facing right, wearing a Corinthian helmet pushed back to reveal her face, resting her right hand on a shield bearing a saltire of arms, and holding a trident in her left hand. In the exergue, a rose, a thistle and a shamrock combined - the floral symbols of the constituent parts of the United Kingdom, respectively England, Scotland and Ireland.

Coins from the first issue of King George IV (1821 - 1826) display a larger figure of Britannia, with two additions: a lion reclining on her left side (only his head is visible in front of her left leg), and she holds an olive branch in her right hand, which she is resting on the shield. On these, the date is on the reverse and there is no floral arrangement in the exergue.

The reverse also bears part of the monarch's legend. As before, there is no indication of the coin's value and denomination.

The third reverse (1860 - 1895) has a new rendition of Britannia, by Leonard Charles Wyon. Again, she is wearing a crested Corinthian helmet pushed back to reveal her face, resting her right hand on a shield bearing the combined crosses of the Union Flag, and holding a trident in her left hand. In the background at right, a ship sailing away; at left, a lighthouse. Around above, interrupted by the crest of Britannia's helmet and her trident, the denomination FARTHING. In exergue, the date.

The fourth reverse (1895 - 1936) is a simplified version of the third, with the lighthouse and sailing ship removed from the background.

The fifth reverse (1937 - 1956) is a radical departure from the earlier traditions and features the image of a wren - the smallest British bird, as a symbol of the smallest denomination of British coinage. The date is above the bird, and the denomination FARTHING is around below.

Reverse Inscription FARTHING [year]
EdgePlainEdge InscriptionNone
Notes

There are also pattern farthings listed separately.

Coin Type: Farthing - (136) Coins (Page 2 of 2)
Coin NameMintageEffigyLegend
Farthing 1921 9,469,097 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Farthing 1922 9,956,983 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Farthing 1923 8,034,457 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Farthing 1924 8,733,416 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Farthing 1925 12,634,697 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Farthing 1926 9,792,397 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Farthing 1927 7,868,355 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Farthing 1928 11,625,600 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Farthing 1929 8,419,200 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Farthing 1930 4,195,200 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Farthing 1931 6,595,200 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Farthing 1932 9,292,800 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Farthing 1933 4,560,000 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Farthing 1934 3,052,800 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Farthing 1935 2,227,200 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Farthing 1936 9,734,400 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX FID: DEF: IND: IMP:
Farthing 1937 George VI 8,157,606 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Farthing 1938 7,449,600 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Farthing 1939 31,440,000 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Farthing 1940 18,360,000 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Farthing 1941 27,312,000 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Farthing 1942 28,857,600 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Farthing 1943 33,345,600 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Farthing 1944 25,137,600 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Farthing 1945 23,736,000 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Farthing 1946 24,364,800 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Farthing 1947 14,745,600 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Farthing 1948 16,622,400 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Farthing 1949 8,424,000 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX FIDEI DEF.
Farthing 1950 10,342,304 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX FIDEI DEF.
Farthing 1951 14,036,004 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX FIDEI DEF.
Farthing 1952 5,251,200 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX FIDEI DEF.
Farthing 1953 6,149,202 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH II DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REGINA F: D:
Farthing 1954 6,566,400 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Farthing 1955 5,779,200 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Farthing 1956 1,996,800 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait + ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :
Showing 101 to 136 of 136 Coins.
Advertising
Buy American Gold Eagle Coins
Buy American Gold Eagle Coins
Farthing: Details
CountryUnited Kingdom
CurrencyPound Sterling (pre-decimal)
Sub-types Farthing (Britannia, first design)
Farthing (Britannia, second design)
Farthing (Britannia, third design)
Farthing (Britannia, fourth design)
Farthing (Wren)
From1806
To1956
Face Value1/4 (x Penny)
CurrentNo (demonetised 1961)
Material
Designer
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
Size
Mass