Tin Farthings

In 1684 and 1685 farthings made of tin with a small central copper plug were produced — they weighed 5.4–6.0 grams and had a diameter of 23–24 millimetres, and had the same inscriptions as the copper farthings. Very few 1685 farthings were produced because the king died on 8 February 1684, in the Old-Style calendar (i.e. when 24 March 1684 would be followed by 25 March 1685, New Year's Day). The tin farthings had an inscription NVMMORVM FAMVLVS — a subsidiary coinage — plus the date on the edge rather than on the reverse.

For the reign of king James II, the copper-plugged tin farthings continued to be produced, with examples dated in all years between 1684 and 1687. The obverse had a right-facing bust of the king, with the inscriptionIACOBVS SECVNDVS — James the Second — while the reverse showed the left-facing seated Britannia, with the inscription BRITANNIA, and the inscription NVMMORVM FAMVLVS and the date on the edge of the coin.

Tin farthings continued to be produced for the first few years of the joint reign of William and Mary, being dated 1689–1692, but the coins were rapidly becoming unpopular as the problems of the corrosion of tin became apparent. In 1693 and 1694 copper farthings were produced again, weighing 4.7–6.2 grams and with a diameter of 22–25 millimetres. In both issues, the obverse shows the conjoined heads of the co-monarchs, with the inscription GVLIELMVS ET MARIA.

Following the death of Queen Mary in 1694, the production of coins continued under the same contract as before, with farthings of King William III being produced for all years between 1695 and 1700. However it soon became apparent that the manufacturers were economising on expenses — cheap labour was being used, including foreigners some of whom could not spell the king's name which they were engraving on the dies. By 1698 there was a glut of copper coinage and an Act was passed to stop the coining for one year; this seems to have had little effect and the proliferation continued. There were further Parliamentary attempts to control the glut of coinage later.