Steel alloy farthing

Started by Steptoe_and_hun, September 29, 2021, 08:12:09 PM

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Hello all

I've found this oddity, wondered what the community make of it

White metal , magnetic, same weight as standard farthing, slightly thinner than standard

I know my basic british coins but can't find anything at all like it online
Guess I'm hoping its a trial wartime coin similar to the steel cents in the US and Canada!



KM doesn't list any pattern between 1937 and 1946. That makes sense to me. The UK mint probably had to cope with reduced staff and increased demand, maybe also with higher energy prices. Also, replacing copper by steel in wartime isn't as self-evident as it may seem. Both are war materials, steel even more than copper. If you want to save copper, it would be more efficient to replace it with zinc, as was done in many countries and to start with the largest coins.

With modern equipment, including 3D printers, it is possible to make a good copy of any object in any material.

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


I spoke to Spink (I was writing them regarding my book and took the chance to ask about the steel farthing).

The response I got is that while the official composition never changed during the war, it is, according to their modern UK currency specialist, possible that it was a trial or "recreational" strike at the mint.  A full examination would reveal it is was struck with the original dies (in which case it could be a bit valuable) or is a modern forgery.

I could put you in touch with them if you wish, though you will probably need to provide better images.



That would be fantastic, thank you so much!

Mister T

Interesting - I think from 1942 the use of tin in the bronze was reduced but I haven't heard of any other mid-war alloy experimentation.