Great Britain 1684 farthing

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from Goldberg sale 98, lot 2891
England G98-2891r.jpg

This specimen was lot 2891 in Goldberg sale 98 (Los Angeles, June 2017), where it sold for $2,233. The catalog description[1] noted, "Great Britain. Tin Farthing, 1684. Charles II, 1660-1685. Obverse: Draped laureate bust of king left. Reverse Britannia. Reverse: Britannia. Date in raised numerals on edge. Superb obverse portrait and good bright tin color. Practically as struck, and an attractive and rare specimen. NGC graded MS-62. It is important to bear in mind that tin coins were made of much softer metal than their copper siblings. Most tin coins are subject to corrosion, blistering and dramatic loss of detail. This piece has survived these problems admirably." This type was struck 1684-85 and is fairly common in low grade. This attempt to strike farthings in tin was an ignominious flop. The alloy, chosen to promote the product of Cornish tin mines, was a disaster as a coin, corroding very rapidly. British authorities demonstrated their inability to learn from their mistake by persisting in the production of tin farthings and halfpennies until 1692.

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: copper.

Catalog reference: KM 436.2, S.3395.


  • Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1601-1700, 6th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2014.
  • Lobel, Richard, Mark Davidson, Allan Hailstone and Eleni Calligas, Coincraft's Standard Catalogue of English and UK Coins, 1066 to Date, London: Coincraft, 1995.
  • Skingley, Philip, ed., Standard Catalogue of British Coins: Coins of England & the United Kingdom, 46th edition, London: Spink & Son, 2011.
  • [1]Goldberg, Ira, Larry Goldberg, John Lavender, Yifu Che, Jason Villareal and Stephen Harvey, Goldberg Sale 98: the Pre-Long Beach Auction, Los Angeles: Goldberg Coins and Collectibles, 2017.

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