Quarter farthing

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One quarter farthing
United Kingdom
Value1/16d sterling
Mass1.2 g
Diameter13.5 mm
Composition(1839–1853) copper
(1868) bronze
Years of minting1839–1853, 1868
1868 Quarter Farthing obverse.png
DesignQueen Victoria
DesignerWilliam Wyon
Design date1839
1868 Quarter Farthing reverse.png
DesignCrown and Rose
Design date1839

The British quarter farthing was a denomination of sterling coinage worth 1/3840 of a pound, 1/192 of a shilling, or +1/16 of a penny. It was produced for circulation in Ceylon in various years between 1839 and 1853, with proof coins being produced in 1868. It is the smallest denomination of sterling coin ever minted. The coin is considered to be part of British coinage because Ceylon otherwise used standard sterling coin and it was made in the same style as the contemporary Ceylonese half-farthing which was legal tender in Britain between 1842 and 1869.[1][failed verification]

Coins were minted in 1839, 1851, 1852, 1853, and the proof issue of 1868. The 1839–53 coins were made of copper, weighed 1.2 grams (0.039 troy ounces or about 1/24 of an ounce avoirdupois) and had a diameter of 13.5 millimetres (0.53 in). So, £1 worth of quarter farthings weighed 10 avoirdupois pounds (4.5 kg). The 1868 coins were made of bronze or cupro-nickel, but weighed the same and had the same diameter.

The obverse bears the left-facing portrait of Queen Victoria, with the inscription Victoria D: G: Britanniae: Regina F: D:, while the reverse bears a crown above the words Quarter Farthing with a rose with three leaves at both sides at the bottom of the coin.

A quarter-farthing's conversion to current sterling denominations would place it at slightly more than one fortieth of a decimal penny. Allowing for inflation however, the quarter farthing would have a purchasing power of between 3p and 4p (£0.03 to £0.04) expressed in 2017 values.


  1. ^ "Fractional Farthings". Royal Mint Museum. 2013.

External links[edit]

  • British Coins – information about British coins (from 1656 to 1952)