Farthing (Britannia, third design), Coin Type from United Kingdom - detailed information

Farthing (Britannia, third design), Coin Type from United Kingdom (issued 1860 - 1895)
Coin TypeFarthing (Britannia, third design)

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.

The denomination continues the tradition of earlier farthing coins of Great Britain, which also featured the figure of Britannia. The bronze coins of this type replaced the larger copper farthings which were issued until 1860; copper was considered to be impractical as it wore too rapidly due to extensive circulation. The new, more durable, alloy was composed of 95 parts of copper, four of tin and one of zinc. The coins were also smaller and thinner, therefore more convenient to carry. The dies were engraved by Leonard Charles Wyon, then Engraver to the Royal Mint.

The reverse features a new, third, design of Britannia. The obverse carries Leonard Wyon's "Bun Head" portrait of Queen Victoria. Both sides were updated to the farthings carrying the fourth Britannia design and a new effigy of the Queen in 1895.

Farthings were demonetised before the rest of the pre-decimal currency. They ceased to be legal tender after 31 December 1960.

Obverse
United Kingdom / Farthing (Britannia, third design) - obverse photo

The obverse of the coins shows the young effigy of Queen Victoria by Leonard Charles Wyon, which is widely known as the "Bun Head" due to the Queen's hairstyle.

The portrait depicts Queen Victoria facing left, wearing a bodice and a mantle decorated with rose, thistle and shamrock (the floral symbols of the constituent parts of the United Kingdom - England, Scotland and Ireland respectively); in her hair is a wreath of leaves and berries tied at back with ribbon, her hair is drawn to a plaited bun behind; she wears a circular brooch; at the back of her shoulder, a small part of the Star of the Garter is visible, with a small part of its motto ("HONI SO") readable.

Around, the monarch's legend VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :. Translated from Latin: Victoria, by the Grace of God, Queen of the Britains, Defender of the Faith.

Obverse Inscription VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Reverse
United Kingdom / Farthing (Britannia, third design) - reverse photo

The reverse of the coin shows, within a beaded border, the figure of Britannia - the female personification of Great Britain - seated facing right, 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.

Reverse Inscription FARTHING [year]
EdgePlainEdge InscriptionNone
Notes

References to additional information:

[Book] Bressett, Kenneth E. 1962. A Guidebook of English Coins, Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Wisconsin, USA. pp 16-18
[Book] Freeman, Michael J. 1970. The Bronze Coinage of Great Britain. Motherwell, Scotland. (2016 ed. pp118-127)
[Book] Remick, Jerome. 1971. The Guide Book and Catalogue to British Commonwealth Coins., p191-192

Coin Type: Farthing (Britannia, third design) - (33) Coins
Coin NameMintageEffigyLegend
Farthing 1860 2,867,200 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1861 8,601,600 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1862 14,336,000 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1863 1,433,600 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1864 2,508,800 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1865 4,659,200 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1866 3,584,000 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1867 5,017,600 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1868 4,851,208 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1869 3,225,600 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1872 2,150,400 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1873 3,225,620 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1874 3,584,000 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1875 6,805,560 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1876 1,175,200 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1877 (Proof only) unknown Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1878 4,008,540 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1879 3,977,180 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1880 1,842,710 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1881 5,286,670 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1882 1,792,000 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1883 1,128,680 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1884 5,782,000 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1885 5,442,308 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1886 7,767,790 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1887 1,340,800 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1888 1,887,250 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1890 2,133,070 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1891 4,959,690 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1892 887,240 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1893 3,904,320 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1894 2,396,770 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
Farthing 1895 (Young Head) 2,852,852 Queen Victoria - Bun Head VICTORIA D : G : BRITT : REG : F : D :
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Farthing (Britannia, third design): Details
CountryUnited Kingdom
CurrencyPound Sterling (pre-decimal)
Sub-type ofFarthing
From1860
To1895
Face Value1/4 (x Penny)
CurrentNo (demonetised 1961)
MaterialBronze
DesignerLeonard Charles Wyon
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
OrientationMedal Alignment (Axis 0)
Size20.000 mm
Thickness1.300 mm
Mass2.840 g