1835 Third-Farthing – William IV


The 1835 Third-Farthing - William IV

Copper Third-Farthing dated 1835 from the reign of King William IV. Although this coin was minted by the Royal Mint in London, the coin itself was intended for circulation in Malta. Diameter 16mm, Weight 1.59g. SCBC 3850.

Today it's hard to image a coin that is only worth 1/720th of a pound sterling, and it says a lot about inflation. Third-Farthing were first issued in 1827 under George IV, then during William IV, Victoria, Edward VII and finally for George V in 1913, although not that often and several times just for Malta.

Despite the fact that many people do not even know that these coins exist, the Third-Farthing is fairly easy to find and not that expensive. There is an 1835 Proof Third-Farthing which is much rarer.

The Reverse shows Britannia seated on a rock, holding shield and trident. In the exergue are the symbols of the British countries: rose, thistle and shamrock.

The Obverse is the bare head portrait of King William IV, facing right.

Image credit: CNG Coins.


Mintage: Not known
Minted at The Royal Mint.
William IV (1830-1837)
William IV was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover from 26 June 1830 until his death. He was the third son of King George III. William married Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen and had two daughters (Charlotte and Elizabeth) but was also known to have ten illegitimate children.

Note that on coins, William IV is often written as GULIELMUS IIII .
General Description: Farthings
The Farthing was a small British coin that was worth one-quarter of an old penny - 1/960th of a Pound. It's name derives from the Anglo-Saxon feorthing or fourthling, meaning fourth part. It was last minted in 1956.

Origins of the English Farthing

Farthings were minted as early as the 13th century under the reign of Edward I, although they may have been minted earlier under Henry III. Early examples are rare. These were small silver coins but they competed with 'cut-coinage' where a penny would be literally cut into four and used as a quarter of a penny. Farthing were minted in silver, copper and tin.

British Farthings

After the Act of the Union in 1707 (which unified England and Scotland), copper farthings were minted on a more regular basis. In 1799 Matthew Boulton started producing farthings in his steam-powered Birmingham factory (famous for making the cartwheel penny and twopence). The reverse was marked '1 FARTHING' which was the first time a denomination had ever appeared on a British or English coin. It was also the first coin to have the date on the same side as the Monarch. Boulton made another batch in 1806 and the Royal Mint took over in 1821. Farthing were made under George IV and William IV and the design was generally that of a small version of a penny, with Britannia on the reverse.

Farthings were minted in most of the years of Victoria's reign. The same obverse dies were used for the copper farthing and the sovereign and probably were used for the gold coin first. Victoria was the only monarch to have two obverses: a 'Bun' head and the Old or 'Veiled' head.

1860: Bronze replaces Copper

By 1860, the government decided to switch from copper to alloys so as to improve the quality of the coinage. Pennies, halfpennies and farthings were struck in bronze, both in Birmingham and at the Royal Mint. Bronze is 95% copper, 4% tin and 1% zinc and this was used with only minor changes until the end of the farthing in 1956.

Farthings continued to be minted almost every year and the design was the same as the penny (with Britannia on the reverse). There was a pattern design for the Edward VIII farthing in 1936 but none were actually made in production.

The Wren and Demonetisation

In 1937 the farthing at long last got it's own unique reverse: a wren, designed by artist Harold Wilson Parker.  By the 1950's inflation had eroded the spending power of the farthing (which was just 1/960th of a Pound) and with it the support of the public waned too. Production was discontinued after 1956 and the coin ceased to be legal tender after 31st December 1960.
Which Mint: The Royal Mint
The Royal Mint is the designated place for the UK to mint coins. It dates back well over 1000 years and is a Government-owned company. 

Formed in the reign of Alfred the Great about the year 886, during the period 1279-1812 it was generally referred to as The Tower Mint as it was housed at the Tower of London. The Master of The Royal Mint has included famous figures such as Sir Isaac Newton.

Since 2010 it has operated as Royal Mint Ltd, a company owned by HM Treasury, under an exclusive contract to supply all coinage for the UK although it also produces medals and coins for other countries. It is currently located at Llantrisant, Wales.

There is also an on-line shop at The Royal Mint Shop.
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
The United Kingdom (UK) is the Union of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is often refered to as Great Britain (GBR). It has a long, rich history.

The orignal coinage was Pounds, Shillings and Pence but since decimalisation on 15 February 1971, it is £1 = 100p, that is One Pound = 100 pence. The coinage of the UK is also a long history, the Royal Mint being established as long ago as 886AD when coins were hammered. Today there is perhaps 30 billion coins in circulation, and many (numismatic) collectors coins and sets are issued frequently in gold, silver and other metals.
If you don't see a coin in the list below try the Farthings page on eBay UK

List of items on:

UK On eBay UK:
Edward VII Coin Set - Crown to Third Farthing in Great Condition
Edward VII Coin Set - Crown to Third Farthing in Great Condition
£ 550.00
GB-1866  THIRD FARTHING COIN  1/3d - FOR COLONIAL USE - QUEEN VICTORIA  -#VF334
GB-1866 THIRD FARTHING COIN 1/3d - FOR COLONIAL USE - QUEEN VICTORIA -#VF334
£ 30.00
1885 THIRD FARTHING Coin Choice UNC Graded Encapsulated LCGS 82 Peck 1937
1885 THIRD FARTHING Coin Choice UNC Graded Encapsulated LCGS 82 Peck 1937
£ 79.99
1878 VICTORIAN THIRD FARTHING IN VERY FINE CONDITION.
1878 VICTORIAN THIRD FARTHING IN VERY FINE CONDITION.
£ 28.00
1885 1/3 Third Farthing Victoria MS65 NGC Minor Coin Great Britain
1885 1/3 Third Farthing Victoria MS65 NGC Minor Coin Great Britain
£ 168.00
ONE THIRD  FARTHING 1913 (4396)
ONE THIRD FARTHING 1913 (4396)
£ 24.99
1902 Edward VII One Third Farthing Coin | British Coins | Pennies2Pounds
1902 Edward VII One Third Farthing Coin | British Coins | Pennies2Pounds
£ 44.75
1881 VICTORIA THIRD FARTHING IN NEAR VERY FINE CONDITION.
1881 VICTORIA THIRD FARTHING IN NEAR VERY FINE CONDITION.
£ 30.00

List of items on: