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Farthing (British coin)

Former coin of the United Kingdom and other territories / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The British farthing (from Old English fēorðing, from fēorða, a fourth) abbreviated qua. (L. quadrans),[1] was a denomination of sterling coinage worth 1/960 of one pound, 1/48 of one shilling, or 1/4 of one penny; initially minted in copper and then in bronze, which replaced the earlier English farthings. Before Decimal Day in 1971, Britain used the Carolingian monetary system, wherein the largest unit was a pound sterling of 20 shillings, each of 12 pence. Each penny was divided into 4 farthings, thus, a pound sterling contained 960 farthings, and a shilling contained 48 farthings. From 1860 to 1971, the purchasing power of a farthing ranged between 12p and 0.2p in 2017 values.[2]

Quick facts: Value, Mass, Diameter, Thickness, Edge...
One farthing
United Kingdom
Value1/4d sterling
Mass2.83 g
Diameter20.19 mm
Thickness0.666 mm
Years of minting1860–1956
DesignElizabeth II
DesignerMary Gillick
Design date1953
DesignWren (Britannia on earlier mintages)
DesignerHarold Wilson Parker
Design date1937

The farthing coin was legal tender during the reigns of eleven British monarchs: George I, George II, and George III, George IV, William IV, and Victoria, Edward VII and George V, Edward VIII, George VI, and Elizabeth II. In Britain and Northern Ireland the farthing coin ceased to be legal tender on 1 January 1961;[3] however, the farthing remaind legal tender in the Falkland Islands, the Falkland Islands Dependencies, and the British Antarctic Territory until 31 October 1970.[4]

In two-and-a-half centuries in circulation as British currency, the reverse face of the farthing coin was minted in two designs: (i) from the 18th century until 1936, the farthing featured the figure of Britannia; and (ii) from 1937, the farthing featured the image of a wren. Like all British coins, the obverse face of the farthing coin bore the portrait of the incumbent monarch.[5]