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Berwick mint farthing of Edward III

This coin was unearthed from Lincolnshire soil by Dave Waller and measures only 11mm in diameter but is shown greatly enlarged. Dave asked for my opinion on its possible value.

The coin is a class VIIIB Berwick mint farthing of Edward III, which was struck during this king’s first coinage (1327-35). On the reverse there is a bear’s head in two quarters and the legend reads VIL LAB ERV ICI. In the Standard Catalogue farthings of this type are listed as number 1539.


This is a rare coin and most specimens that turn up are not in good condition. However, Dave’s farthing is really outstanding and would grade VF+ for the mint and type.

Last year a similar coin was sold at auction and the hammer price was £400. It was graded as VF but Dave’s find is better so it could sell for an even higher price. During the medieval period Berwick changed hands a few times between England and Scotland. Therefore, coins from that mint can be of interest to both English and Scottish collectors of hammered silver coins.


I have an old priced catalogue dating from 1960, which covers the whole series of English coins. Just for interest, I looked up the price for an Edward III Berwick farthing with bear’s heads on the reverse and it was listed as £20. For comparison I checked the price for Edward III gold nobles in VF condition and it averaged out at £15, which is £5 less than for the Berwick farthing. Today an exceptional Berwick farthing might sell for £500 but a VF Edward III gold noble would be around £3,500, which is seven times more.

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