O’Brien Coin Guide: GB & Northern Ireland Bronze Farthings (Elizabeth II)


Background:

By the 1950s, the farthing had pretty much lost its spending power and there were calls for its withdrawal. An average of 20 million farthings per year were produced during the reign of George VI but inflation made these coins virtually obsolete during Elizabeth’s early reign.

  • The Royal Mint stopped producing them in 1956
  • The coins were gradually withdrawn from circulation from 1959 onwards
  • The farthing ceased to be legal tender on 31st December 1960

These coins circulated alongside their Irish equivalents in Ireland up until 1960 and they are commonly found in Ireland in old accumulations even nowadays.

Farthing: Elizabeth II

  • Alloy: Bronze (95% copper, 4% tin and 1% zinc)
  • Weight: 2.83g
  • Diameter: 22.19mm
  • Edge: Plain
  • Designers
    • Obverse: Mary Gillick (MG)
    • Reverse: Harold Wilson Parker (WP)
1953 GB & Northern Ireland bronze farthing (Elizabeth II) - Type 1 obverse

1953 GB & Northern Ireland bronze farthing (Elizabeth II) – Type 1 obverse

Obverse, Type 1: 1953 only

  • Bust of Elizabeth II draped right, wearing a wreath of leaves with 3 pairs of two berries starting at the back, which is tied behind the head with a riband which has the two loose ends extending behind.
  • M·G· (Mary Gillick) on the center of the edge of the shoulder truncation (above BR).
  • Beaded border with thick, raised rim.
  • Legend: ELIZABETH II DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REGINA F: D:
    • Full Latin text: ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA BRITANNIARUM OMNIUM REGINA FIDEI DEFENSATRIX
    • Translation: “Elizabeth the Second, by the grace of God, Queen of all the Britains, Defender of the Faith.”

Reverse:

  • A wren standing left, date above, value below
  • WP (H Wilson Parker) in field behind feet
  • Legend: FARTHING
1956 GB & Ireland bronze farthing (Elizabeth II)

1956 GB & Northern Ireland bronze farthing (Elizabeth II) – Type 2 obverse

Obverse, Type 2: 1954-56 inclusive

  • Bust of Elizabeth II draped right, wearing a wreath of leaves with 3 pairs of two berries starting at the back, which is tied behind the head with a riband which has the two loose ends extending behind.
  • M·G· (Mary Gillick) on the center of the edge of the shoulder truncation (above BR).
  • Beaded border with thick, raised rim.
  • Legend: ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA: REGINA F: D:
    • Full Latin text: ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA FIDEI DEFENSATRIX
    • Translation: “Elizabeth the Second, by the grace of God, Defender of the Faith.”

Reverse:

  • A wren standing left, date above, value below
  • WP (H Wilson Parker) in field behind feet
  • Legend: FARTHING

Market Values:

1953-1956 Elizabeth II bronze farthings (mintage & market values)

1953-1956 Elizabeth II bronze farthings (mintage & market values)

 

Further reading:

 

 

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