1860 - the year of bronze beads and teeth

Started by UK Decimal +, July 23, 2010, 05:13:12 PM

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UK Decimal +

1860 was the year in which copper coins, (penny, halfpenny and farthing), were replaced by smaller ones in bronze.   Small quantities of the old larger type were apparently also produced that year, but they are very scarce.

It appears that at first the new coins had beads around the rim but these were soon replaced by teeth.   I have seen mentioned somewhere that the dies were prone to cracking around the beads (think "tear on dotted line") hence the change, although I can't help wondering whether it was just because the toothed version was easier to produce.

Below are illustrations showing the two types of farthing.   Of the two, I find the the beaded version more attractive.   It is interesting that bronze remained in use for what are still referred to as "coppers" until the 1990s when it was replaced by copper-plated steel.

Does anyone's collection contain an 1860 copper farthing that can be illustrated to complete the set?   Or perhaps all three versions of the penny or halfpenny?


Ilford, Essex, near London, England.

People look for problems and complain.   Engineers find solutions but people still complain.


Here is the copper penny


And the two bronze pennies, all from my website, which you should consult for acknowledgements



Gorgeous examples, all of them.  I'd never noticed LC Wyon's initials below and to the left of Britannia's shield before.  I imagine they would wear away fairly quickly, so wouldn't be very easy to spot on more worn examples.


Same for the ship. I still don't know fersure, but having seen these great pictures, I think a merchantman seems more likely than a warship. Surprising (at least to me), since I had expected it to be a three-decker ship of the line, but evidently, it isn't.

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