Medieval English Hammered Farthings - Edward I
    (Part I - Obverse: EDVVARDVS REX, Reverse: LONDONIENSIS)

This online guide is designed to help

  • Metal Detector enthusiasts
  • Museum Curators
  • Coin Dealers & Collectors

accurately identify and classify their English Hammered Farthings.


Overview:

These coins mark the start of a revolutionary coinage reform by Edward I.

Until this time, the penny was the smallest denomination. Low value transactions could be conducted using barter or when required, it was common to cut pennies into halves or quarters to make change. The act of cutting pennies into quarters or fourths was how the word "farthing" (from "fourthing") came about.

Coins created by cutting up larger coins was practical but not really satisfactory. For example, a coin was only worth its weight in precious metal - in this case silver. Variations in cutting a coin could give you slightly more, or slightly less silver than the coins value. Another problem was forged coinage, produced locally and imported from Europe. Cut coins can be very difficult to identify - so who could be certain if the coin had any value at all?

These base silver issue farthings were introduced by Edward I in 1279. During his reign millions of farthings were struck, effectively ending the practice of cutting coins to make fractional change. The old coinage and the use of pennies cut into farthings remained legal tender until they were demonitised in August 1280.

Farthings of this series have large flans (13mm), with an inner circle on the obverse and reverse.

Obverse Legend: EDWARDVS REX

Reverse Legend: LONDONIENSIS or very rarely LONDRIENSIS




The coinage of August 4, 1279 - December 1279 (Group 1)

Farthings made in 1279 would have weighed 5½ grains if they had been made from a quarter of the silver used in the penny. But, to make minting and handling easier, a small amount of alloy was added making the coin larger and bringing its nominal weight up to 6.65 grains. Based on this alloy only 812 farthings were to be made from a Tower pound of silver. This "alloyed silver" was unpopular with merchants and the following year farthings were made without the added alloy.

The moneyers had difficulty making coins that complied to the new standards. Master Albert, who seems to have replaced Hubert Alion de Asti, made £958 of farthings (more than 1/2 million), of which each pound weighed four farthings less than it ought to have done. Furthermore, when the first pyx of his work was delivered, the assayer found that 128 14s 11d were deficient. By the time the second pyx was taken, he had improved, but still made £21. 9s. 2d. in weak coins. In contrast, his fellow moneyer, William de Turnemire, who minted far more money, was responsible for only £34 19s 3d of poor money. Consequently, the king decided to dismiss Albert and place William de Turnemire in sole charge of his minting operations1.

Because of their small size, the blanks for each farthing could not be manufactured by either pouring molten metal into shallow moulds or by cutting slices off metal rods. The 1279 farthings were struck on square blanks, cut from a sheet of silver, that were then separated from the blank by means of a cutter of the correct diameter for a farthing. In 1280 a new process was introduced which involved pouring molten silver through a sieve and the drops of silver that were produced (of correct and fairly uniform weight) would solidify as odd shapes in a tub of water. The perfect roundness of the 1279 farthings is quite recognisable from the later type.



Edward I Londoniensis Farthing - 1Edward I Londoniensis Farthing - 1

Date: August 4, 1279 - December 1279
Mint: London
Type: 1

Diameter: 13mm
Weight: 0.25 - 0.47g (6.65grains2)

Obverse: +EDVVARDVS REX
    Facing bust within inner circle. Plain crown with three fleurs
    The two end fleurs are bifoliate (i.e. only have 2 petals at the ends).
    No punctuation.

Reverse: LON DON IEN SIS
    "Long Cross" with three pellets in each quarter. Normal N's.


Reference(s):
  W.1
  S.1443
  N.1051/1
  Fox. Group Ia
Scarcity: Rare

Guide Price:
  £40 (Fine)
  £135 (Very Fine)



Edward I Londoniensis Farthing - 1aEdward I Londoniensis Farthing - 1a

Date: August 4, 1279 - December 1279
Mint: London
Type: 1a

Diameter: 13mm
Weight: 0.25 - 0.47g (6.65grains2)

Obverse: +EDVVARDVS:REX
    Facing bust within inner circle. Plain crown with three fleurs
    The two end fleurs are bifoliate (i.e. only have 2 petals at the ends).
    Colon before REX.

Reverse: LON DON IEN SIS
    "Long Cross" with three pellets in each quarter. Normal N's.


Reference(s):
  W.1a
  S.1443
  N.1051/1
  Fox. Group Ia
Scarcity: Rare

Guide Price:
  £40 (Fine)
  £135 (Very Fine)



Edward I Londoniensis Farthing - 1ai

Date: August 4, 1279 - December 1279
Mint: London
Type: 1a(i)

Diameter: 13mm
Weight: 0.25 - 0.47g (6.65grains2)

Obverse: +EDVVARDVS:REX
    Facing bust within inner circle. Plain crown with three fleurs
    The two end fleurs are bifoliate (i.e. only have 2 petals at the ends).
    Colon before REX.

Reverse: LON DON IEN SIS
    "Long Cross" with three pellets in each quarter. The first N
    is reversed.


Reference(s):
  W.1a(i)
  S.1443
  N.1051/1
  Fox. Group Ia
Scarcity: Rare

Guide Price:
  £40 (Fine)
  £135 (Very Fine)



Date: August 4, 1279 - December 1279
Mint: London
Type: 1a(ii)

Diameter: 13mm
Weight: 0.25 - 0.47g (6.65grains2)

Obverse: +EDVVARDVS:REX
    Facing bust within inner circle. Plain crown with three fleurs
    The two end fleurs are bifoliate (i.e. only have 2 petals at the ends).
    Colon before REX.

Reverse: LON DON IEN SIS
    "Long Cross" with three pellets in each quarter. The first two
    N's are reversed.


Reference(s):
  W.1a(ii)
  S.1443
  N.1051/1
  Fox. Group Ia
Scarcity: Rare

Guide Price:
  £40 (Fine)
  £135 (Very Fine)



Date: August 4, 1279 - December 1279
Mint: London
Type: 1a(iii)

Diameter: 13mm
Weight: 0.25 - 0.47g (6.65grains2)

Obverse: +EDVVARDVS:REX
    Facing bust within inner circle. Plain crown with three fleurs
    The two end fleurs are bifoliate (i.e. only have 2 petals at the ends).
    Colon before REX.

Reverse: LON DON IEN SIS
    "Long Cross" with three pellets in each quarter. All N's are
    reversed.


Reference(s):
  W.1a(iii)
  S.1443
  N.1051/1
  Fox. Group Ia
Scarcity: Rare

Guide Price:
  £40 (Fine)
  £135 (Very Fine)



Edward I Londriensis Farthing - 1aiEdward I Londriensis Farthing - 1ai

Date: August 4, 1279 - December 1279
Mint: London
Type: 1a(iv)

Diameter: 13mm
Weight: 0.25 - 0.47g (6.65grains2)

Obverse: +EDVVARDVS:REX
    Facing bust within inner circle. Plain crown with three fleurs
    The two end fleurs are bifoliate (i.e. only have 2 petals at the ends).
    Colon before REX.

Reverse: LON DRI EN SIS
    "Long Cross" with three pellets in each quarter. Different
    spelling used for London. Produced from one die only.
    All N's are reversed.


Reference(s):
  W.1a(iv)
  S.1443
  N.1051/1
  Fox. Group Ia
Scarcity: Rare

Guide Price:
  £40 (Fine)
  £135 (Very Fine)

Note:
Hawkins states "...probably called LUNDRENSIS, struck according to agreement, made in 1279 with William de Turnmere, master of the mint." (Hawkins, E. The Silver Coins of England, London, 1841, p.96.



Date: August 4, 1279 - December 1279
Mint: London
Type: 2

Diameter: 13mm
Weight: 0.25 - 0.47g (6.65grains2)

Obverse: +EDVVARDVS REX
    Facing bust within inner circle. Plain crown with three fleurs
    Crown with trifoliate fleur on the left and bifoliate on the right.
    No punctuation.

Reverse: LON DON IEN SIS
    "Long Cross" with three pellets in each quarter. All N's are
    reversed.


Reference(s):
  W.2
  S.-
  N.-
  Fox. -
Scarcity: Rare

Guide Price:
  £40 (Fine)
  £135 (Very Fine)



Edward I Londoniensis Farthing - 2aEdward I Londoniensis Farthing - 2a

Date: August 4, 1279 - December 1279
Mint: London
Type: 2a

Diameter: 13mm
Weight: 0.25 - 0.47g (6.65grains2)

Obverse: +EDVVARDVS:REX
    Facing bust within inner circle. Plain crown with three fleurs
    Crown with trifoliate fleur on the left and bifoliate on the right.
    Colon before REX.

Reverse: LON DON IEN SIS
    "Long Cross" with three pellets in each quarter. All N's are
    reversed.


Reference(s):
  W.2a
  S.-
  N.-
  Fox. -
Scarcity: Rare

Guide Price:
  £40 (Fine)
  £135 (Very Fine)



Edward I Londoniensis Farthing - 2aiEdward I Londoniensis Farthing - 2ai

Date: August 4, 1279 - December 1279
Mint: London
Type: 2a(i)

Diameter: 13mm
Weight: 0.25 - 0.47g (6.65grains2)

Obverse: +EDVVARDVS:REX
    Facing bust within inner circle. Plain crown with three fleurs
    Crown with trifoliate fleur on the left and bifoliate on the right.
    Colon before REX.

Reverse: LON DON IEN SIS
    "Long Cross" with three pellets in each quarter. Normal N's.


Reference(s):
  W.2a(i)
  S.-
  N.-
  Fox. -
Scarcity: Rare

Guide Price:
  £40 (Fine)
  £135 (Very Fine)



Edward I Londoniensis Farthing - 3

Date: August 4, 1279 - December 1279
Mint: London
Type: 3

Diameter: 13mm
Weight: 0.25 - 0.47g (6.65grains2)

Obverse: +EDVVARDVS:REX
    New bust with a fat face within inner circle. Plain crown with
    three fleurs. Crown with trifoliate fleur on the left and bifoliate
    on the right. Colon before REX.

Reverse: LON DON IEN SIS
    "Long Cross" with three pellets in each quarter. Normal N's.


Reference(s):
  W.3
  S.-
  N.-
  Fox. -
Scarcity: Rare

Guide Price:
  £40 (Fine)
  £135 (Very Fine)



Date: August 4, 1279 - December 1279
Mint: London
Type: 3a

Diameter: 13mm
Weight: 0.25 - 0.47g (6.65grains2)

Obverse: +EDVVARDVS REX:
    New bust with a fat face within inner circle. Plain crown with
    three fleurs. Crown with trifoliate fleur on the left and bifoliate
    on the right. Colon after REX.

Reverse: LON DON IEN SIS
    "Long Cross" with three pellets in each quarter. Normal N's.


Reference(s):
  W.3a
  S.-
  N.-
  Fox. -
Scarcity: Rare

Guide Price:
  £40 (Fine)
  £135 (Very Fine)



Edward I Londoniensis Farthing - 4

Date: August 4, 1279 - December 1279
Mint: London
Type: 4

Diameter: 13mm
Weight: 0.25 - 0.47g (6.65grains2)

Obverse: +EDVVARDVS REX
    Facing bust within inner circle. Plain crown with three fleurs.
    Crown with trifoliate fleurs on both ends. No punctuation.

Reverse: LON DON IEN SIS
    "Long Cross" with three pellets in each quarter. All N's are
    reversed.


Reference(s):
  W.4
  S.-
  N.-
  Fox. Group Ic
Scarcity: Rare

Guide Price:
  £40 (Fine)
  £135 (Very Fine)



Edward I Lonreiensis Farthing - 4iEdward I Lonreiensis Farthing - 4i

Date: August 4, 1279 - December 1279
Mint: London
Type: 4(i)

Diameter: 13mm
Weight: 0.25 - 0.47g (6.65grains2)

Obverse: +EDVVARDVS REX
    Facing bust within inner circle. Plain crown with three fleurs.
    Crown with trifoliate fleurs on both ends. No punctuation.

Reverse: LON DRI EN SIS
    "Long Cross" with three pellets in each quarter. Different
    spelling used for London. All N's are reversed.


Reference(s):
  W.4(i)
  S.1443A
  N.1051/2
  Fox. Group Ic
Scarcity: Extremely Rare

Guide Price:
  £30 (Fine)
  £100 (Very Fine)

Sold by:
  • (2006) A chipped but otherwise very fine example was found in Yorkshire by A. Gillis and later sold for £230
Note:
Hawkins states "...probably called LUNDRENSIS, struck according to agreement, made in 1279 with William de Turnmere, master of the mint." (Hawkins, E. The Silver Coins of England, London, 1841, p.96.



Edward I Londoniensis Farthing - 4a

Date: August 4, 1279 - December 1279
Mint: London
Type: 4a

Diameter: 13mm
Weight: 0.25 - 0.47g (6.65grains2)

Obverse: +EDVVARDVS:REX
    Facing bust within inner circle. Plain crown with three fleurs.
    Crown with trifoliate fleurs on both ends. Colon before REX.

Reverse: LON DON IEN SIS
    "Long Cross" with three pellets in each quarter. Normal N's.


Reference(s):
  W.4a
  S.-
  N.-
  Fox.-
Scarcity: Rare

Guide Price:
  £30 (Fine)
  £100 (Very Fine)



Edward I Londoniensis Farthing - 4aEdward I Londoniensis Farthing - 4a

Date: August 4, 1279 - December 1279
Mint: London
Type: 4a(i)

Diameter: 13mm
Weight: 0.25 - 0.47g (6.65grains2)

Obverse: +EDVVARDVS:REX
    Facing bust within inner circle. Plain crown with three fleurs.
    Crown with trifoliate fleurs on both ends. Colon before REX.

Reverse: LON DON IEN SIS
    "Long Cross" with three pellets in each quarter. The first
    and last N's are reversed.


Reference(s):
  W.4a
  S.-
  N.-
  Fox.-
Scarcity: Rare

Guide Price:
  £30 (Fine)
  £100 (Very Fine)



Edward I Londoniensis Farthing - 4aEdward I Londoniensis Farthing - 4a

Date: August 4, 1279 - December 1279
Mint: London
Type: 4a(ii)

Diameter: 13mm
Weight: 0.25 - 0.47g (6.65grains2)

Obverse: +EDVVARDVS:REX
    Facing bust within inner circle. Plain crown with three fleurs.
    Crown with trifoliate fleurs on both ends. Colon before REX.

Reverse: LON DON IEN SIS
    "Long Cross" with three pellets in each quarter. All N's are
    reversed.


Reference(s):
  W.4a(ii)
  S.-
  N.-
  Fox.-
Scarcity: Rare

Guide Price:
  £30 (Fine)
  £100 (Very Fine)



Edward I Londoniensis Farthing - 5

Date: August 4, 1279 - December 1279
Mint: London
Type: 5

Diameter: 13mm
Weight: 0.25 - 0.47g (6.65grains2)

Obverse: +EDVVARDVS REX:
    Facing bust within inner circle. Plain crown with three fleurs.
    Crown has extra band. Colon after REX.

Reverse: LON DON IEN SIS
    "Long Cross" with three pellets in each quarter. All N's are
    reversed.


Reference(s):
  W.5
  S.-
  N.-
  Fox.-
Scarcity: Rare

Guide Price:
  £30 (Fine)
  £100 (Very Fine)



Edward I Londoniensis Farthing - 6

Date: August 4, 1279 - December 1279
Mint: London
Type: 6

Diameter: 13mm
Weight: 0.25 - 0.47g (6.65grains2)

Obverse: +EDVVARDVS REX
    Facing bust within inner circle. Plain crown with three fleurs.
    Head visible above band of crown. No punctuation.

Reverse: LON DON IEN SIS
    "Long Cross" with three pellets in each quarter. Normal N's.


Reference(s):
  W.6
  S.-
  N.-
  Fox. -
Scarcity: Rare

Guide Price:
  £30 (Fine)
  £100 (Very Fine)



Edward I Londoniensis Farthing - 6 variantEdward I Londoniensis Farthing - 6 variant

Date: August 4, 1279 - December 1279
Mint: London
Type: 6 variant

Diameter: 13mm
Weight: 0.25 - 0.47g (6.65grains2)

Obverse: +EDVVARDVS REX
    Facing bust within inner circle. Plain crown with three fleurs.
    Head visible above band of crown. No punctuation.

Reverse: LON DON IEN SIS
    "Long Cross" with three pellets in each quarter. All N's reversed.


Reference(s):
  W.-
  S.-
  N.-
  Fox. -
Scarcity: Rare

Guide Price:
  £30 (Fine)
  £100 (Very Fine)



The coinage of January 2, 1280 - July 1280 (Group II)

Farthings during this period continued to be struck with a nominal weight up to 6.65 grains. A new indenture specified that a slightly greater quantity of 816 farthings were to be made from a Tower pound of silver (up from 812 the previous year). Accounts show that between January 1 and May 19 of that year, 5060 Tower pounds were minted into farthings, resulting in 4,128,960 farthings being struck!

Previously farthings were only struck in London, but to increase capacity, three regional "royal" mints were set up: Bristol and York which produced farthings (as well as other denominations) and Canterbury which produced only pennies at this time.



Edward I Londoniensis Farthing - 7Edward I Londoniensis Farthing - 7

Date: January 2, 1280 - July 1280
Mint: London
Type: 7

Diameter: 13mm
Weight: 0.25 - 0.47g (6.65grains2)

Obverse: +EDVVARDVS REX
    Smaller face with a new crown that has spearheads
    between the fleurs. Straight bottom to band of crown.
    No punctuation.

Reverse: LON DON IEN SIS
    "Long Cross" with three pellets in each quarter. Normal N's.


Reference(s):
  W.7
  S.-
  N.-
  Fox.-
Scarcity: Rare

Guide Price:
  £30 (Fine)
  £100 (Very Fine)



Edward I Londoniensis Farthing - 7iEdward I Londoniensis Farthing - 7i

Date: January 2, 1280 - July 1280
Mint: London
Type: 7(i)

Diameter: 13mm
Weight: 0.25 - 0.47g (6.65grains2)

Obverse: +EDVVARDVS REX
    Smaller face with a new crown that has spearheads
    between the fleurs. Straight bottom to band of crown.
    No punctuation.

Reverse: LON DON IEN SIS
    "Long Cross" with three pellets in each quarter. All N's are
    reversed.


Reference(s):
  W.7(i)
  S.1444
  N.1052
  Fox. Group II
Scarcity: Rare

Guide Price:
  £25 (Fine)
  £70 (Very Fine)

Sold by:
  • (Feb. 2003) A good example this coin (first photo) was sold on eBay by coritaniad43 for £37.
  • (Jan. 2005) A good example this coin (second photo), weighing 0.38g, was sold on eBay by TimeLine Originals for £14.50.


The coinage of c.July 1280 - c.December 1280 (Group IIIc)

If Edwards' recoinage was to be a success, an enormous quantity of new coinage was required to replace the long cross coinage which was demonitised in August 1280. This vast output required the production of new dies on an almost daily basis, resulting in a gradual modification of the coinage over time. Lincoln was also established as a royal mint during this period, but no farthings of this "heavy" style have been found. These regional mints remained active until December 1281.



Edward I Londoniensis Farthing - 8Edward I Londoniensis Farthing - 8

Date: c.July 1280 - c.December 1280
Mint: London
Type: 8

Diameter: 13mm
Weight: 0.25 - 0.47g (6.65grains2)

Obverse: +EDVVARDVS REX
    Bust has wide forehead with tapering cheeks. Crown has spearheads
    between shorter side fleurs. Central petal of right fleur
    curves in. Curved bottom to band of crown. No punctuation.

Reverse: LON DON IEN SIS
    "Long Cross" with three pellets in each quarter. Normal N's.


Reference(s):
  W.8
  S.1445
  N.1051/1
  Fox. Group IIIc
Scarcity: Rare

Guide Price:
  £25 (Fine)
  £65 (Very Fine)



Edward I Londoniensis Farthing - 8iEdward I Londoniensis Farthing - 8i

Date: c.July 1280 - c.December 1280
Mint: London
Type: 8(i)

Diameter: 13mm
Weight: 0.25 - 0.47g (6.65grains2)

Obverse: +EDVVARDVS REX
    Bust has wide forehead with tapering cheeks. Crown has spearheads
    between shorter side fleurs. Central petal of right fleur
    curves in. Curved bottom to band of crown. No punctuation.

Reverse: LON DON IEN SIS
    "Long Cross" with three pellets in each quarter. All N's are
    reversed.


Reference(s):
  W.8(i)
  S.-
  N.-
  Fox.-
Scarcity: Rare

Guide Price:
  £25 (Fine)
  £65 (Very Fine)



Can't find your coin?


1 MATE, M. 1972: 'Monetary Policies in England, 1272-1307' BNJ 41
  pp. 79.

2 FOX, HBE & FOX, JS. 1910: Numismatic History of the Reigns of Edward
  I, II and III
(BNJ, Vol VI). pp 197-212



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