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A Tiny Coin with a Big Story

George I (1714-27), ‘Dump’ Farthing

The coin presented below is a “dump” farthing that was minted during the reign of George I of Great Britain. This particular coin was produced in 1717, just three years into George I’s reign.

George I (1714-27), ‘Dump’ Farthing, 1717 | Baldwin’s

At the time, the British monetary system was undergoing change, with new coinage being introduced to replace older, worn out coins. The dump farthing was one of the new denominations introduced during this time, and it was unique in that it was a much larger and thicker coin than other farthings of the period.

The term “dump” refers to the method of production used for these coins. Rather than being struck with dies like other coins, dump farthings were made by casting molten metal into pre-formed molds. This allowed for a much faster production process, but it also meant that the quality of the coins was somewhat lower than other coins of the period in that they were not as ‘sharp’ as the struck coin.

The obverse of the coin features a bust of King George I facing left, with the inscription “GEORGIVS REX” surrounding the image. The reverse of the coin shows a seated figure of Britannia holding a shield and trident, with the inscription “BRITANNIA” below.

Despite their larger size, dump farthings were not a popular denomination and were quickly replaced by smaller, more standard-sized, struck farthings. As a result, they are relatively rare and highly sought after by collectors today.

This particular coin is a fascinating piece of British numismatic history, reflecting the changes and developments in the manufacture of British coinage during the early 18th century. It also provides a glimpse into the production techniques and methods used to produce coins during this period.

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