Quarter Farthing, Coin Type from United Kingdom - detailed information

Quarter Farthing, Coin Type from United Kingdom (issued 1839 - 1868)
Coin TypeQuarter Farthing

The Quarter Farthing was the smallest circulating coin of the British pre-decimal Pound Sterling, equal to 1/4 of a farthing, or 1/16 of a penny. There were 20 shillings to a pound, 12 pence to a shilling and 4 farthings to a penny, so 3,840 of these coins made up £1.

The coin was introduced in 1839 exclusively for use in Ceylon, but it is considered to be part of the British coinage, being made in the same style as the contemporary half-farthing. The half farthing was also made exclusively for Ceylon in the beginning, but was later made legal tender in the United Kingdom too; the quarter farthing, however, was not. It was roughly equal to a half duit or a half Indian pie.

The obverse of the coin was struck from the dies for Queen Victoria's Maundy twopence. The denomination was short-lived, and after a final proof-only issue in 1868 (in bronze, unlike the circulation coins which were copper) it was discontinued.

United Kingdom / Quarter Farthing - obverse photo

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

During the existence of the denomination, it was only issued in the name of Queen Victoria and displayed her "Young Head" portrait.

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

Within a beaded border, the reverse of the coin shows at its centre, on two lines, the value and denomination in words: QUARTER FARTHING.

Above that, St Edward's Crown. Named after Saint Edward the Confessor, it has been traditionally used to crown English and British monarchs at their coronations since the 13th century (with a two-century gap between 1689 and 1911).

Below the denomination, the date [year], under which a Tudor rose.

Reverse Inscription QUARTER FARTHING [year]
EdgePlainEdge InscriptionNone

References to additional information:

[Book] Bressett, Kenneth E. 1962. A Guidebook of English Coins, Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Wisconsin, USA. p9
[Book] Remick, Jerome. 1971. The Guide Book and Catalogue to British Commonwealth Coins., p187

Family-run store trading in rare coins and bullion, plus jewellery design and sales
Family-run store trading in rare coins and bullion, plus jewellery design and sales
Quarter Farthing: Details
CountryUnited Kingdom
CurrencyPound Sterling (pre-decimal)
Face Value1/16 (x Penny)
CurrentNo (demonetised 1870)
DesignerWilliam Wyon
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
OrientationMedal Alignment (Axis 0)
Size13.5000 mm
Mass1.2000 g