Half Farthing 1837, Coin from United Kingdom - detailed information

Half Farthing 1837, Coin from United Kingdom (demonetised 1870)
CoinHalf Farthing 1837

The Half Farthing was a small circulating coin of the British pre-decimal Pound Sterling, equal to one eighth of a penny. There were 20 shillings to a pound, 12 pence to a shilling and 4 farthings to a penny, so 1,920 of these coins made up £1.

The denomination was initially produced for use in the colony of Ceylon only. It was made current for use in the United Kingdom by a proclamation on 13 June 1842 and remained so until demonetised along with the rest of the copper coinage after 31 December 1869.

There was much cynicism of the need for such a coin in Britain, with letters written to The Times, but the coin did indeed circulate widely in Britain and Ceylon. However, when the rest of the copper coinage was changed to bronze after 1860, the half farthing was not; the last circulation coins of the denomination were issued in 1856.

MintRoyal Mint Mint MarkNo mint mark Total Mintage1,935,360 (1.9 million)
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Obverse
United Kingdom / Half Farthing 1837 - obverse photo

Within a beaded border, the bare head of King William IV facing right.

Incuse on the truncation of the King's neck, the designer's initials W.W. (for William Wyon).

Around, part of the monarch's legend: GULIELMUS IIII DEI GRATIA.; translated from Latin: William the Fourth, by the Grace of God. Note the dot after the legend, unlike on the higher denominations.

Below, the date of issue 1837.

Obverse Inscription GULIELMUS IIII DEI GRATIA. 1837
Reverse
United Kingdom / Half Farthing 1837 - reverse photo

The first reverse (1828 - 1837), designed by William Wyon, features the figure of Britannia - the female personification of Great Britain; 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.

The design is identical to that of the farthing, halfpenny and penny coins issued in the same period. Typically for British coinage of the time, the denomination (or, indeed, the country of issue) is not spelled out on the coin. The various denominations can only be distinguished by size.

The second reverse (1839 - 1868), also designed by William Wyon, shows at its centre, on two lines, the value and denomination in words: HALF 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 1837, under which a rose, a thistle and a shamrock combined - the floral symbols of the constituent parts of the United Kingdom, respectively England, Scotland and Ireland (except for 1839, when there was only a rose).

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 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.

Around, the rest of the monarch's legend: BRITANNIAR: REX FID: DEF:; translated from Latin: King of Britain, Defender of the Faith.

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.

Reverse Inscription BRITANNIAR: REX: FID: DEF:
EdgeEdge Inscription
Notes

References to additional information:

[Book] Bressett, Kenneth E. 1962. A Guidebook of English Coins, Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Wisconsin, USA. p11
[Book] Remick, Jerome. 1971. The Guide Book and Catalogue to British Commonwealth Coins., p188

Half Farthing 1837: References to Information Used
SourceEditionAboutLinkNotes
Remick, Catalogue of British Commonwealth Coins 1971 Mintage
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Half Farthing 1837: Details
CountryUnited Kingdom
CurrencyPound Sterling (pre-decimal)
Coin TypeHalf Farthing
Issued1837
MonarchKing William IV
EffigyKing William IV - Portrait by William Wyon
ReverseBritannia, Seated
Face Value1/8 (x Penny)
Circulation Mintage1,935,360 (1.9 million)
Total Mintage1,935,360 (1.9 million)
CurrentNo; demonetised 1870
MaterialCopper
DesignerWilliam Wyon
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
OrientationMedal Alignment (Axis 0)
Size18.000 mm
Mass2.400 g
OCC IDMXKD-EKQC-RRGL-EWQJ
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Half Farthing 1837: Photos
ImageDetails
½ Farthing - William IV
Copyright: Heritage Auctions
Source
½ Farthing - William IV
Copyright: Heritage Auctions
Source
Half Farthing 1837: Catalogue Reference IDs