Saturday, 7 May 2011

A lovely bird on a coin........................... the Wren

The term "farthing" is derived from the word fourthing or feorling because the first farthings were simply pennies cut into four pieces.

For many years it was thought the first silver farthings were produced in the reign of Edward I (1272-1307) but five examples have been discovered in recent years dating from the reign of Henry III (1216-1272).
 It was decided in the reign of King Charles II (1660-1685) that halfpennies and farthings needed to be produced as coins in their own right.

These depicted Britannia on the reverse, where she remained until 1937 until she was replaced by a Wren.
In 1936, Edward VIII asked the Royal Mint to come up with some modern designs for the reverse of the coinage. One designer the sculpture Harold Wilson Parker submitted designs known as the Royal Animals Set which included a Dove, Stag, Wren, Swan, Sturgeon and an Eagle (which the Royal Mint rejected because of it's association with America).

The King liked this set but eventually chose heraldic designs by George Kruger-Gray but in light of Wilson Parkers work the Wren was kept for the farthing.
The last farthing in the UK was minted in 1956 (the year of my birth) but was withdrawn from circulation at the end of 1960.
Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)
A lovely little bird I get to see in my garden.


grammie g said...

Hi Andrew... couldn't be associated with America .hmmm I don't think I blame
Very interesting subject for your post and I glad the cute little Wren gained the honor for a period of time!!
My Best~ Grace

Andrew said...

I think it was because you already had an Eagle on your Silver Dollar.
The Wren really is a lovely little bird to see.
Many thanks Grace for reading my ramblings
I really appriceate your feedback.
Take care Andrew.

texwisgirl said...

love the wrens! i bet the farthing must be quite a collector's coin these days - especially the old ones!

Gardener in the Distance said...

I love your wren images, and the story you've told about their use on coins...what a pity we don't still see them. One of the most loved wrens in Australia ( I've got some living near me ) is the Superb Fairy Wren ( Malurus cyaneus )...very perky creatures.

Tammy said...

Interesting post.Great macros of the coins. I love the sound wrens make.

Arija said...

What a delightful post! I never got to see a farthing since in Australia we only had ha'pennies. The nearest I came to such a small coin was the Austrian Groschen I found wedged between cobblestones in Kufstein, dated 1864.

Thank you for your comments while I had no proper internet connection. I will still be out of reach for some time as we are driving to Sydney to my youngest granddaughter's soiree on the 21st of May.

Love to hear from you again soon.

Carole said...

I'd love to own one of those 1937 bird farthings. Great post.