Monthly Archives: December 2010

British Farthing Brooch

Folk Art Brooch made from Coins, c1943

Since kings and emperors began stamping coins, people have been making folk jewellry using money.

This little pin has been made by soldering two British farthings together and adding a simple pin behind. For those born in the last forty years, the farthing was one fourth of an old British penny. The last farthings were pressed in 1956, and they ceased to be legal tender in the U.K. in 1960. The rest of the old British currency went down into history on “Decimal Day”, February 15th, 1971.

As a child, I loved these tiny farthings, with “Jenny Wren” on one side. At one time, a farthing would buy one something on the High Street, but by the time I was a child, they were only used to make up the fractions which were a feature of British money. They disappeared with few laments. The British saved most of their emotion for the end of the sixpenny coin in 1971.

I am sure that this brooch once conveyed a story, now forgotten. The coins date from 1942 and 1943, the very darkest days of World War Two. Were they exchanged by sweethearts who eventually married? Did they represent the births of children? Unfortunately, I will never know.

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