Farthing of Great Britain

23 Oct 2017  Mon

The tiniest currency of Britain traces its history from 13th century. The first farthing coin was an experiment tried around 1216 AD in the reign of King Henry III.

It was the time, when people use to cut a penny into two or four pieces to obtain smaller coins. The farthing was a quarter the size of penny, it was made in silver which depicted young king holding a sceptre on obverse with a cross covering the whole reverse.

During the sovereign of King Edward I, millions of farting were issued to meet the demand of the population. These coins were minted in London and various provincial cities. Later on, it was minted in Calais. The smaller denomination is farthing ‘third-farthing’ worth a 12th of a penny was minted in Malta.

The rein of James I saw the increase in number of fake farthing, so to stop this Rose farthing was introduced in the 1630s, it was made partly by brass. Farthing depicted Britannia came during the rule of Charles II in 1672. This design continued for a long time, the model used to represent Britannia on farthing was the beautiful Duchess of Richmond.

In 1936, the portrait of Britannia on reverse was replaced by a Wren-Britain’s smallest bird in the above-shown image. This bird remained as the identification of this smallest denomination during King George VI's reign. Till 1950s came farthing was not accepted by the government transport services. The value of this denomination was so less that after 1960s, it failed to be a legal tender.

To know more about the coinage of Great Britain click here

Interesting Facts:
The legend on the obverse of the English coins first came on farthing during the rule of King James I.

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