A 1943 bronze farthing featuring the head of King George VI. King George is facing left with a Latin inscription that reads: George the Sixth, by the Grace of God, King of all the Britain’s, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India. On the reverse of the coin also facing left is a wren, a small bird native to Europe. Prior to George VI’s reign the farthing would have had a picture of Britannia seated on a rock with the mint date of the coin below her. In 1937 King George changed Britannia to a Wren and the previously silver, tin and copper coins to bronze.

History of the Farthing:

In 1279 the penny was already in circulation in England when Edward I introduced the halfpenny and farthings as currency. The name farthing is believed to have originated from Old English words translating as “Quarter” or “forth part”.

The farthing stayed in currency for many future monarchs although the portrait, inscriptions, weight, diameter and material it was cast in changed.

By the 1950’s the farthings value was so low that they were deemed useless. The farthing stopped being minted in 1956 and was no longer legal tender by the end of 1960.


Key theme(s):


More information:

Date 1940s
Material(s) Copper
Item number MBPO19

Questions to help you remember using this item

  • Can you remember having a farthing with a Wren on it?
  • What other coins can you remember before decimalisation?
  • What could you buy for a farthing?

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