Finding something in a roll that was completely unexpected is always
fun for me.
A discovery I at first thought was a badly hammered and corroded
U.S. cent coin actually turned out to be a piece that originated in
Great Britain more than 135 years ago. The beat-up 1879 bronze
farthing featured this month was discovered in a roll of what should
have been United States 5-cent pieces.
The word farthing is derived from “fourthing,” with the coin being
valued at one quarter (1/4d) or one-fourth of a British penny. That’s
the equivalent of one nine hundred and sixtieth (1/960th) of a British
Minted in a bronze composition and struck from 1860 to 1956, the
obverse of the farthing bore the portrait of the reigning monarch.
Two reverse designs were used during this denomination’s lifetime.
The earlier reverse, in use from 1860 until 1936, was designed by
Leonard Charles Wyon and features the image of Britannia seated.
The design from 1937 onward, by H. Wilson Parker, depicts a wren.
The farthing ceased to be legal tender when it was demonetized in 1960.
My particular coin, dated 1879, bears Queen Victoria’s bust facing left with the
abbreviated legend: VICTORIA D:G: BRITT: REG: F:D: (Victoria by the
Grace of God, Queen of Britain, Defender of the Faith).
The reverse of the coin exhibits a seated Britannia facing right
while holding a shield and trident. The word FARTHING is seen above,
and the date is visible below.
Admittedly, some of the details on the coin that I found have to be
imagined as you look at this piece, since so much of the surface is
worn away. But even with all the extraneous damage, this coin was a
Good time for rolls
As we enter the holiday season, please be reminded that this is an
excellent time to do some extra roll searching.
I have always found that many coins that had been stored in jars and
coffee cans all year begin to emerge at local banks.
Since this is the time of year when many people roll up and cash in
their loose change, to use the cash for their holiday shopping, we can
often find some fairly unusual coins in rolls!
Especially ask your bank tellers for half dollars and large-sized
dollar coins, as this is the time of year that they will be cashed in
by many of the bank’s customers.
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