Saturday, May 3, 2008

Little Britain

England. George IV. 1826 Farthing.

Laureate head left, GEORGIUS IV DEI GRATIA / Britannia seated right, holding trident, with shield bearing saltire of arms, BRITANNIAR: REX FID: DEF:. S-3825.

No, I'm not writing about the BBC show, Little Britain, though I have to admit it's one of my favorites! My wife and I really enjoy the show, but our children don't seem to understand why. I'm sure those from my parent's and grandparent's generations can relate a bit... I have no idea why they found The Honeymooners so funny. "To the moon, Alice... to the moon!" What?! They used to lose it though when they heard that! It's funny how generations differ.

I degress, and this is a blog about coins. So, about this coin you ask... why "Little Britain"? Hmm, well, it's British! And, it's little! The farthing was worth 1/4 of a penny. I say was because farthings ceased to be legal tender at the close of 1960. The demise of the farthing was brought on by inflation... its buying power had eroded too much for it to retain any usefulness in commerce.

This particular coin was designed by William Wyon after Benedetto Pistrucci's design was rejected by the king. Apparently, the king thought Pistrucci's design a little less than flattering! I happen to agree with George IV and much prefer this portrait to that designed by Pistrucci.

One of my collecting goals is to obtain at least one coin for each English monarch from the time of C'nut to the current monarch, Elizabeth II. A pretty daunting task, that, and for reasons of budget, I began with the House of Hanover, which includes

George I
George II (see my previous blog entry about my George II shilling)
George III
George IV
William IV

I currently own at least one coin from each, with the exception of George I. I'm one coin away from completing my first type set!

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