Posts Tagged ‘coinage’

Three Farthings

August 22, 2015

Amongst the items which metal detectorist Norman found on the old Recreation Field there are hundreds of coins. Most are 19th or 20th century and would like familiar to those who remember our pre decimal coinage. You have to be a bit older to remember farthings for they ceased to be legal tender back in 1960. For those not familiar with the old money if you had 960 farthings, which in size and colour looked much like a present day 1p coin then you’d have had one pound. So roughly speaking an old farthing was worth a tenth of a present day penny. Norman found quite a few farthings but three of them do date from a much older era and it is these we look at today.

Rose farthings found on 'the rec' in Market Lavington

Rose farthings found on ‘the rec’ in Market Lavington

These little coins are smaller than present day pennies. They date, we think, from the reign of Charles II which was between 1660 and 1685. These farthings are actually diminutive pieces of metal and are often called rose farthings because of the rose pattern in the centre.

They are not in particularly good condition but they do indicate human activity on that field 300 years, or more, ago.


When keys get lost

July 4, 2013

St Mary’s Church in Market Lavington had a wall safe into which visitors could put donations or payments for items purchased. Unfortunately, many years ago, the key got lost.

When this was realised the safe was blocked off so no more money could get in.

Eventually, people had no idea when the safe was last opened and it was decided to remove it and break into it.

It must have been disappointing to find lots of coins which were no longer legal tender.

A decision was made to mount the coins in a frame and sell them at the 2013 church fete. This was not going to make the value of the lost coins, but it would add something to the church coffers. A purchaser then donated one frame full of worthless coins to the museum.

Demonetised coins found in the safe of St Mary's Church, Market Lavington

Demonetised coins found in the safe of St Mary’s Church, Market Lavington

Heads - we win with an interesting curio for Market Lavington Museum

Heads – we win with an interesting curio for Market Lavington Museum

Well that’s quite a display of the older bigger coins – 50p, 10p and 5p and even some of the old 6d coins which remained legal tender as 2½p until 1980.

This suggests that the safe has not been opened since 1980.


The newest coin dates from 1981

The newest coin is a 1981 50p. It would seem, then, that this little wall safe was closed off in 1981.

Of course, most of the coins are dated between 1968 and 1981. The country went decimal on 15th February 1971 but the 50p, 10p and 5p coins appeared in 1968.

The 6d coins, though, are older.


A 1958 sixpence (6d) remained legal tender as 2.5p until 1980

A 1958 sixpence (6d) remained legal tender as 2.5p until 1980

This one dates from 1958.

It’s an interesting reminder of old coinage and also a reminder that it is a good idea NOT to lose keys.