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Detailed information about coin type: Farthing (Wren) from United Kingdom:

Coin type: Farthing (Wren)

A new reverse design was adopted for the farthing in 1937 mainly due to certain members of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee who favored a complete departure from the traditional design of former years. A number of artists were invited to submit designs and that of a wren, by H. Wilson Parker, was finally accepted. The wren, being the smallest British bird, symbolises the smalles denomination of British coin.

During the reign of King George VI, proof strikings were issued in specimen sets in 1937, 1950 and 1951. Proofs of other years are all extremely rare.

The portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on coinage after 1952 was designed by Mrs. Mary Gillick. The original portrait was in very low relief and showed little detail in the hair and features. This defect was remedied by retouching the dies early in 1953. In 1954 the dies were further retouched to sharpen the portrait and the legend was changed to eliminate BRITT: OMN: from the Queen’s title.

Proof specimens struck during 1954-1956 are all extremely rare. The 1953 proofs were issued in specimen sets late in the year and all show the recut portrait.

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

CountryUnited Kingdom CurrencyPound Sterling (pre-decimal)
Sub-type ofFarthing Sub-types
Face value1/4 (x Penny)
Years produced1937 - 1956 CurrentNo (demonetised 1961)
MaterialBronze DesignerHarold Wilson Parker
Production technologyMilled (machine-made) ShapeRound
Size (mm)20 Thickness (mm)
Mass (g)2.8000

Effigy of the ruling British monarch, legend in Latin. During the existence of this coin type, pennies were issued for King George VI (1937 - 1952) and Queen Elizabeth II (1953 - 1956).

Obverse inscriptionLegend of the ruling British monarch

Wren (bird) standing facing left; in the field behind it, in monogram form HWP (Harold Wilson Parker); below, the denomination FARTHING; above, the date.

Reverse inscriptionFARTHING [year]
EdgePlain Edge inscriptionNone

References to additional information:

[Book] Bressett, Kenneth E. 1962. A Guidebook of English Coins, Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Wisconsin, USA. pp20-21
[Book] Freeman, Michael J. 1970. The Bronze Coinage of Great Britain. Motherwell, Scotland. (2016 ed pp132-138)
[Book] Remick, Jerome. 1971. The Guide Book and Catalogue to British Commonwealth Coins., p193

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