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A tale of three farthings

Started by Figleaf, May 01, 2021, 11:23:30 AM

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Figleaf

These three coins are a kind-hearted gift. I was told all three are different. Perhaps, but my eyesight doesn't allow me to spot the undoubtedly subtle differences. I do not have a specialised catalogue. Can you help me make the correct notations?

  • The farthing 1865 was marked "first young head, short trident"
  • The farthing 1883 was unmarked
  • The farthing 1894 was marked "heraldic colours on shield, long trident"
Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

FosseWay

I can see three differences (one on each side and one on both) that sets the 1865 coin apart from the other two:

- On the obverse, look at, hmm, Victoria's cleavage. On the 1865 coin, the rosette/brooch/whatever it is, is fully visible. On the others it's partly disappearing "out of shot".

- On the reverse, as your notes suggest, the business end of the trident is slightly shorter and smaller than on the other two.

- On both sides, the rim decoration is toothed on 1865 and beaded on the other two.

I can't see any certain difference between the two later farthings. Uncertainly, and given the heads-up in your notes, I wonder whether the blue bits of the Union Jack are plain on the 1883, while they are textured (heraldically coloured) on the 1894. But the 1894 is in better condition, and it may be that the texture is just worn on the 1883.

Apart from that, you may get somewhere if you're into bead counting. I'm not  :)  I'm told (by Seaby and other similar sources) that there are varieties in the Bun Head coinage (all three denominations) based on the number and size of edge beads/teeth.

Figleaf

Thank you. That effectively separates the 1865 coin from the two others. Now that you mentioned the strategic brooch holding the royal front together, I also noticed that the top of the dress at the right is aligned with the top of the D on the 1865 specimen, but with the inner dot of the colon on the other two. However, the portrait is not just elongated. The proboscis of Grecian quality of 1865 became an eagle-i-tarian schnozzle on the later coins.

The pearl circles make me dizzy, pearls change into denticles as the light changes.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

FosseWay

Yes, now you mention the royal snout, the difference is clear.

Also, the date is larger on the 1865 than the other two.

Mister T

If you don't have a copy of Michael Freeman's book handy my farthing book covers it all (though Freeman is much more detailed in listing all the die differences): https://www.commonwealthcoins.net/book/british-bronze-farthings

There were a lot of changes over the years in the British bronze coins though all of those years were struck without varieties.

Figleaf

That helped, but I am not quite out of the woods yet. I can't count berries or denticles. Judging from the dates in your book, the 1865 coin uses dies 4C and the 1883 coin was made with dies 8G. I still can't figure out the 1894 coin. Can you help?

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Mister T

The obverse on your has the legend VICTORIA D:G: BRITT: REG: F:D so it is obverse 8.

Figleaf

Thank you. Since that applies to both the 1883 and the 1894 specimen, I presume you consider them struck with the same dies, so I can politely remove the 1883 farthing?

Looking at the enlargements again, I notice that the font on the obverse of the 1865 coin is ever so slightly plumber and it's not the wear. This is perhaps clearest from the final colon after the D scratching her majesty's back.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Mister T

Yes the 1883 and 1894 were struck with the same obverse and revers design.

I think the earlier years can show a bit of variability - I think there were lots of hand repairs made to the dies.