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Henry VIII Farthing

The images of the coin pictured here were sent in by Peter Smith on behalf of the finder – Dennis Copley – who is 85 years old. Perhaps Dennis’s hobby has helped him to keep fit when he is well into his 80s. I was asked to identify and put a value on his find.

The coin looks to be massive in the main picture but, as you can see against Peter’s finger, it is only about 6mm in diameter. It’s a very rare second coinage farthing of Henry VIII. Tiny coins like this one used to be excessively rare but over the last few decades detectorists have managed to locate a few dozen.

The obverse on this one has a portcullis in the centre and the surrounding legend reads RVTILANS ROSA (Dazzling Rose); the mint mark, at the top, is an upright arrow.

The lettering is fairly crude but this is only to be expected as it must have been very difficult to punch them into such a small die. The obverse is in remarkably good condition, which is curious as the reverse is in bad condition. If the detail did show up on the reverse then there would be a rose on a cross in the centre and the legend would read DEO GRACIAS.


In the Standard Catalogue Henry VIII farthings of this type are listed as number 2363. As already mentioned, they aren’t as rare as they used to be but they still sell for high prices when in good condition.

If the reverse on this coin was as good as the obverse then Dennis’s find could have been worth £700-800. However, with such a poor reverse the sale price would be nearer to £300.

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