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Threefarthing piece of Elizabeth I

Roger Paul requested a valuation on this Elizabethan coin, which is a recent find. Detectable land is becoming ever scarcer as most arable fields at this time of year already have a crop coming through. There will soon be hardly any land left to search and most detecting machines will be put to one side until harvest time.

Roger’s find will be about 12mm in diameter and displays characteristics that mark it out as a threefarthing piece of Elizabeth I. It is dated 1575 above the shield on the reverse and has mint mark eglantine on both sides.

Whilst Elizabeth I was on the throne there were more denominations of silver coins than during any other reign. We have the crown, halfcrown, shilling, sixpence, groat, threepence, halfgroat, threehalfpence, penny, threefarthings and halfpenny. There must have been lots of arguments between buyers and sellers, for some of the smaller denominations were very similar in both size and design.

Readers will have to forgive me for what I’m about to say but it is an important factor in relation to value. Threefarthing pieces used to be rare but their rarity has been diluted due to the number of specimens that have been unearthed by detectorists. It is still the rarest of the smaller Elizabethan denominations but examples appear on the market quite regularly.


There are some rare dates but 1575 isn’t one of them. Roger’s coin would grade Fair to Fine but it looks to have been clipped. However, there would be no point is risking severe punishment for clipping a coin so small, so it is more likely to be full weight but struck on a flan too small for the dies. In its present condition my highest price range would be £35 – £40.

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