Silver farthing of Henry III, Short Cross coinage, made by the moneyer Terri
London, England, about AD 1222
The first farthing
This coin is one of the first issue of round farthings - the quarter of a penny coin - in England. It was produced at a time when the English silver penny was, in contemporary European terms, a relatively large and high-value coin. At this time the backs of coins almost always had a cross design, and medieval English coins have often been classified into type based on the sort of cross used here, as in the case of the Short Cross coinage.
Fractions of the
penny were highly desirable for everyday purchases, and these were
generally made by simply cutting up pennies into halves and
quarters. This was not very satisfactory, as the straight edges of
cut coins were particularly vulnerable to
On 21 February 1222 the king's council issued a writ to all sheriffs announcing that in future round fractions alone would be permitted in currency. In the event this policy proved a failure, with this coin the only example of this issue as yet know to survive. Over fifty years later, in 1279, the systematic production of halfpennies and farthings was finally established.
N.J. Mayhew and A. Smith, 'Another round Short Cross halfpenny', British Numismatic Journal, 60 (1990), ??