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British Fractional Farthings Or Amazingly Small Denominations For Colonies

 
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Author Previous TopicReplies: 7 / Views: 350Next Topic  
Valued Member
United States
358 Posts
 Posted 05/21/2020  4:01 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add willieboyd2 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Great Britain used to mint fractions of farthings for British colonies to emulate local denominations.

A farthing was 1/4 of a British penny or 1/960 of a British pound

At the time these were minted a British pound was worth around United States $5 making the farthing worth about 1/2 of a cent.

We have here coins worth 1/4 of a US cent and 1/6 of a US cent.
It is amazing that there were things which could bought for such small amounts then.

Here are four fractional farthings:


Great Britain fractional farthing - 1/2 farthing 1844
Queen Victoria facing left
Crown, HALF FARTHING
Copper, 18 mm, 2.4 gm


Great Britain fractional farthing - 1/3 farthing 1868
Queen Victoria facing left
Crown and wreath, ONE THIRD FARTHING
Bronze, 15 mm, 0.9 gm


Great Britain fractional farthing - 1/3 farthing 1902
King Edward VII facing right
Crown and wreath, ONE THIRD FARTHING
Bronze, 15 mm, 0.9 gm


Great Britain fractional farthing - 1/3 farthing 1913
King George V facing left
Crown and wreath, ONE THIRD FARTHING
Bronze, 15 mm, 0.9 gm

Here are all four fractional farthings with a United States dime:


The 1/2 farthings were minted for Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) to emulate the local duit or (British) India pie.
A pie was 1/12 anna or 1/192 India rupee; a rupee was worth about 48 US cents then.

The 1/3 farthings were minted for Malta to emulate the local grano.

There were also 1/4 farthings for the big spenders.


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Pillar of the Community
United Kingdom
672 Posts
 Posted 05/22/2020  06:02 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Anaximander to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The half farthing was issued by George IV in 1828 and 1830, by William IV in 1837 and by Victoria from 1839 to 1856, ( 39 42 43 44 47 51 52 53 54 56, not counting proofs etc ). Initially it was just for Ceylon, but became legal tender in Britain in 1842. It was not popular because it was worth so little, and was demonetized in 1869.
Bedrock of the Community
Australia
17087 Posts
 Posted 05/22/2020  07:09 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I have seen 1/3 and 1/2 Farthings, but never a Quarter Farthing. High catalog pricing confirms their scarcity.
Quarter Farthing for Ceylon replaced by bronze Ceylon 1/4 Cent in 1870.

Silver 1 1/2 Pence (same design as Maundy series) issued for Ceylon (and Jamaica) although far more common, is smaller than the Quarter Farthing.
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Sweden
334 Posts
 Posted 05/22/2020  10:27 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add erafjel to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
What I find fascinating is all the detail and workmanship that has gone into the design and engraving of these minute coins. For larger denominations, well, there an elaborate design is a security feature and a guarantee that the coin is genuine - but 1/3 farthing? I can't imagine that to be worth the effort to forge...

So, it was just that even the very smallest denominations should be beautiful, apparently.
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Australia
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 Posted 05/22/2020  10:58 am  Show Profile   Check ryurazu's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add ryurazu to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I wonder what you possibly could have bought with a quarter farthing in Ceylon back then pieces of string?
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Australia
673 Posts
 Posted 05/22/2020  11:02 am  Show Profile   Check ryurazu's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add ryurazu to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
People always thing what is the point at faking low denomination coin, it more that they what to know they can do so and there also the fact that you probably won't get prosecuted. Although your not gonna get rich from that.
Bedrock of the Community
Australia
17087 Posts
 Posted 05/22/2020  6:28 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The tiny bronze coins issued for Ceylon may not have had much buying power in Britain, but in the mid 18th century they certainly had useful buying power in some of Britain's colonies. The tiny Quarter Cent continued to be issued until early into the 20th century, in Edward V11's reign.

Indeed, the biggest silver coin issued under British control was the Ceylon 50 Cents, which was nominally the same size at the Shilling. Such a coin represented much greater buying power in Sri Lanka, than did the Shilling did in Britain at the same time.
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Turkey
116 Posts
 Posted 05/24/2020  4:21 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add apeka to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
it is amazing that there were things which could bought for such small amounts then.


such an unfortunate word choosing... When colonists could have been buying post slavery labour in exchange of farthings it is necessary to think how amazing that poor colonized people were selling their labour for such an incredibly low price... this is something needs to get ashamed of. Also what is more amazing is colonial tokens... Which were not allowing plantation workers to spend their earnings outside of that plantation.
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