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Edward III farthing

Anthony Hopkinson unearthed this tiny hammered silver coin a few days before he sent in the images. It had been identified as a farthing but Anthony wanted further details.

At the end of the obverse legend is a star. On the reverse there is another star in the LON quarter. Therefore, the coin is a second coinage London farthing of Edward III, examples of which are listed in the Standard Catalogue as numbers 1542 and 1542A.

The catalogue price for Edward III farthings of this type in Fine condition is only £25, so they could be taken to be fairly common. This certainly isn’t the case, for this is the first specimen I have seen as a detecting find. In 1980 the catalogue price in Fine condition was £110; in 2001 the price had dropped to £25 and it is the same figure today. In the massive collection of coins of Edward III formed by Gordon V. Doubleday (sold at auction in 1972) there were no examples of farthings struck during the second coinage.

This, therefore, would seem to be a coin that was assumed to be fairly common by more recent compilers of the Standard Catalogue when it is in fact quite rare.

Anthony’s coin doesn’t show much wear from circulation but the edge a badly chipped and parts have been lost. Its condition leaves much to be desired but on the plus side the evidence cited above proves it is a rare coin.

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