O’Brien Coin Guide: GB & Ireland Bronze Farthings (George V)


Background:

After the formation of the Irish Free State in 1922, UK currency remained the formal currency of the Irish Free State until 1928. After this date, UK coins continued to circulate alongside the Irish coins right up until Decimalisation (1971) and well into the 1970s. Irish Free State farthings were minted in London by The Royal Mint and were similar in terms of metal alloy, weight and diameter – as such, it was easy for the two coins to co-exist in the pockets (and tills) of Ireland post-Independence.

Farthing: George V

  • Alloy: Bronze (95% copper, 4% tin and 1% zinc)
  • Weight: 2.83g
  • Diameter: 22.19mm
  • Edge: Plain
  • Designers
    • Obverse: Bertram MacKennal
    • Reverse: George De Saulles
1919 GB & Ireland bronze farthing (George V, Type 1 Obverse)

1919 GB & Ireland bronze farthing (George V, Type 1 Obverse)

Obverse, Type 1: 1937-48 inclusive

Obverse:

  • Bare head of King George V facing left, with the surrounding legend:
  • ‘GEORGIVS V DEI GRA:BRITT:OMN:REX FID:DEF:IND:IMP:’
    • Full Latin text: GEORGIVS V DEI GRATIA BRITANNIARUM OMNIUM REX FIDEI DEFENSOR INDIAE IMPERATOR
    • Translation: George V, by the Grace of God, King of all the Britains, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India.

Reverse:

  • Britannia seated, facing right, wearing a helmet, holding a trident, hand resting on a shield, with the word ‘FARTHING’ around the top, and date below

Edge:

  • Plain

Notes:

1911 GB & Ireland bronze farthing (George V, Hollow Neck & Flat Neck varieties)

1911 GB & Ireland bronze farthing (George V, Hollow Neck & Flat Neck varieties)

 

Obverse, Type 2: 1925-36 inclusive

Obverse:

  • Modified effigy
    • There were only subtle alterations to design from some time in the middle of 1925 onwards, i.e. the rim denticals were extended, and designs inside of these were slightly reduced in size.
    • 1925-36 GB & Ireland bronze farthing (George V, Type 2 Obverse) showing the subtle design difference

      1925-36 GB & Ireland bronze farthing (George V, Type 2 Obverse) showing the subtle design difference

Notes:

  • Both Type 1 and Type 2 obverse is found in the 1925 farthing
    • Both variations are easy to find, i.e. neither one is scarcer than the other.
    • There is no price premium
  • In addition to the above, there are also dark and bright variations
    • Between 1911 and 1918, George V farthings were artificially darkened to reduce confusion with half-sovereign. In 1918, both variations exist. After 1918, the coins do naturally turn dark with wear & oxidation.
In 1918 GB & Ireland bronze farthing were no longer 'darkened' since there was no half-sovereigns in circulation. Both varieties exist for 1918.

In 1918 GB & Ireland bronze farthing were no longer ‘darkened’ since there was no half-sovereigns in circulation. Both varieties exist for 1918.

  • Within days of the outbreak of war on 4 August 1914, the Government asked the public to hand in its gold Sovereigns.
    • The Government used the precious metal to pay off its international debt, support the Bank of England’s reserves and finance the war effort.
    • Very soon, the intrinsic value of a gold sovereign would be way more than £1
  • On 7 August 1914 the Government issued two Treasury notes.
    • One was worth £1 while the other was worth 10 shillings.
      • They were designed to replace the gold Sovereigns and Half-Sovereigns
    • By the summer of 1915, gold was no longer a regular part of the coinage of GB & Ireland – an incredible turnaround from before the Great War when there was about £100m in gold coins circulating
  • By the end of the war, it did not matter what colour the farthings were because there were no half-sovereigns in circulation

Market Values:

George V, Type 1 Obverse

1911-1925 George V, Obverse Type 1, bronze farthings (mintage & market values)

1911-1925 George V, Obverse Type 1, bronze farthings (mintage & market values)

 

George V, Type 2 Obverse (Modified effigy)

1925-1936 George V, Obverse Type 2, bronze farthings (mintage & market values)

1925-1936 George V, Obverse Type 2, bronze farthings (mintage & market values)

Notes:

The reign of George V was one of major political upheaval and numismatic change in Ireland.

  • In 1921, in advance of the inevitable independence, George V opened a Northern Ireland Parliament with devolved powers
  • In 1922, the Irish Free State came into being but no immediate plans for a separate currency existed, since over 90% of our trade was with Britain. This was one of the
  • A Currency Commission was created in 1927 by the Currency Act.
  • A competition was held to create the designs for the new Irish Free State currency
1928 Irish farthing

1928 Irish farthing

 

Other farthing coins in this series:

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s