An exciting new discovery?

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An exciting new discovery?

Whilst browsing through farthings and farthing images, it is suprising how many variations in the standard design features are evident when carrying out comparisons, each of which potentially require additional study. A recent example is the Victoria copper farthing series. For a while I have recorded some slight variations in the Reverse types of this series, and noted these features as areas for additional study. Recently I have been contacted by a fellow numismatist and collector David Ayling-Smith, who had also noticed some variations in the design, however David had gone a step further and checked through the series to see whether there were any consistent patterns across the datal range.

Through correspondence, we have now collaborated and combined our findings to compile a set of distinguishing features which can be used with some certainty to distinguish the two Reverse designs. From the images below other unlisted minor differences are also visible, however in my opinion they are not consistent enough to warrant inclusion.

Whether this design change was an intentional re-design or just a routine re-working of the designs is uncertain, but the consistency of our findings does leave me to believe this should now be classified as a new Reverse type.

For the purposes of cataloguing they will be referred to as Reverse type A and Reverse type B. The photos and diagrams below can be used to identify the Reverse types, and the dates in which they can be found are also detailed. It is possible that each of the Reverse types may be identified for dates not listed below. This is due to the overlap between Reverse type A dies being utilised and the introduction of Reverse type B. If this has occurred the most likely combinations would be an 1846 Reverse Type A or an 1842 Reverse type B.

I urge all collectors to check through their farthings and report back any new combinations encountered, because there is inevitably further study required regarding this subject.

Finally I would like to take the opportunity to thank David for his efforts in relation to this study, and the information he has contributed and shared.

1. Trident shaft separated from thigh on Reverse B

2. Britannia’s facial design has changed, with a “sad” downturned mouth, the cheek bone no longer extends across to the nose on Reverse B

3. Britannia’s plume finishes short of the shoulder on Reverse B (Plume reaches shoulder on Reverse A)

4. A section of Britannia’s plume is missing resulting in a wedge shaped notch being visible on Reverse B (Plume is complete on Reverse A)

5. No flaw is visible along the arm on Reverse B (Only visible on Reverse A from 1841 onwards)

6. Fewer armour scales are clearly defined, although this is only evident on well struck and higher grade examples (vertical columns of scales numbering 1, 2, 3, 2 and 2 are visible on Reverse B instead of 1, 3, 3, 2 and 2 on Reverse A)

1 Comment

Gordon Garvie

March 14, 2021at 1:56 pm

Wow Colin..

Very Interesting variations..i will have to get my farthings out and do some profiling..

Thank you for your great photos and wisdom.!

Kind Regards..


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