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Detailed information about coin type: Farthing (Britannia, first design) from United Kingdom:

Coin type: Farthing (Britannia, first design)

Part of the "Fourth Issue" copper coinage of King George III.

The figure of Britannia had already been used on earlier English coins, as well as Roman coins minted in Britain. This is the "first" design used on coinage of the United Kingdom (post-1801).

Between 1770 and the end of the century the practice of counterfeiting be­came so prevalent in England that scarcely any genuine British copper coins remained in circulation. The 1770-1775 issue was melted in huge quantities and made into lightweight counterfeit coins; the only other pieces in circulation were the merchants' tokens issued by private firms for their own convenience.

It was during this period that Matthew Boulton offered a solution to the problem by proposing that (1) each coin should contain its intrinsic value of metal, (2) a retaining collar should be used to maintain a constant diameter and (3) a broad raised rim should be used to save the coin from undue wear.

He further proposed that a steam powered coinage press be used to produce a more uniformly finished coin with a greater rate of output.

A total of £10,557 worth of farthings were coined by Boulton in the years 1799, 1806 and 1807. All of these dies were produced by Conrad Heinrich Küchler.

All British copper coinage was demonetised in 1869, with only the bronze coinage (started in 1860) remaining in circulation.

CountryUnited Kingdom CurrencyPound Sterling (pre-decimal)
Sub-type ofFarthing Sub-types
Face value1/4 (x Penny)
Years produced1806 - 1807 CurrentNo (demonetised 1869)
MaterialCopper DesignerConrad Heinrich Küchler
Production technologyMilled (machine-made) ShapeRound
Size (mm) Thickness (mm)
Mass (g)

Laureate and draped bust of King George III facing right; around, the legend GEORGIUS III · D : G · REX. (George the Third, by the Grace of God, King); below, the date. On neck truncation a tiny letter K - the designer's initial (for [Conrad Heinrich] Küchler).

Obverse inscriptionGEORGIUS III · D : G · REX.

Figure of Britannia 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; background left, a sailing ship; around above, BRITANNIA. The mint name, SOHO on right end of rock. At the foot of Britannia's trident, between its shaft and the shield, a tiny letter K - the designer's initial (for [Conrad Heinrich] Küchler).

Reverse inscriptionBRITANNIA
EdgeSecurity groove (grained) Edge inscriptionNone

References to additional information:

[Book] Bressett, Kenneth E. 1962. A Guidebook of English Coins, Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Wisconsin, USA. pp 13-14
[Book] Remick, Jerome. 1971. The Guide Book and Catalogue to British Commonwealth Coins., p190

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