Coin Collecting Tips: Anne 1714 Farthing

The 1714 farthing of Anne is the only copper coin which is generally thought of as a regular coin. In fact, its status is in some doubt. The reign was characterised by a large number of patterns of varying designs and metals. If Anne had not died in 1714, no doubt the farthing would have entered circulation in quantity, but its actual legal status may well be that of a pattern. However, it is widely accepted and catalogued as a coin.

Copper coinage of Anne was not considered necessary because a very large quantity of copper had been struck during the previous reign, much of it of poor quality. Isacc Newton was the Master of the Mint at this time, and he had high ideals about the quality of the coinage. The Anne farthing is certainly greatly superior to the pieces of William III, not only in striking but also in design. The old Britannia figure used since the days of Charles II was discarded in favour of a sharper high relief design by John Croker, who also designed the obverse portrait of Anne. The bare leg on the figure of Britannia as on earlier coins is thought to have been covered on the 1714 coin on the orders of the queen.

As the Anne farthing did not enter circulation to any great extent, the coin is probably scarcer in fine condition than in extremely fine, although many low grade specimens do turn up. An extremely fine or better specimen is the obvious candidate for any collection.

Many cast and other forgeries exist, and one must be on guard. Electrotypes are deceptive, and the edge should be examined; these pieces are made in two halves and the seam is usually evident.

1714_Anne_Farthing

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