One quarter of a penny

This is an 1829 George IV farthing.


Prince George acted as Regent during the mental illness of his father, King George III, giving the name ‘Regency’ to a distinctive period of English design in clothing and architecture based on his lavish tastes. In 1821, Georgiana was at boarding school in London when the coronation of King George IV took place. It was an extravagant celebration costing the equivalent of about $40 million today. He died in June 1830, a few weeks after the Molloys landed in Augusta.

Coins truly deserve to be called ‘everyday objects’, passing from hand to hand in small transactions and moving easily between the lives of people from all walks of life. Travelling on and on in exchanges several times a day, or sitting in pockets and purses for weeks, they come and go. I sometimes think they must carry history along with them. Why do I treasure my 1829 farthing? Because I know it’s quite possible that after leaving the Royal Mint in London, it arrived in a bank and then slipped quietly in and out of the life of one particular young, newly married woman as she was busy shopping in Oxford Street  that year. She was in London, stocking up for a long sea voyage to Western Australia and buying thread, stays for her corsets, ribbon, chocolates and lace.