15-07-2013 – 16-07-2013
123 Year Old Bet Costs £63,440
A collection of 2,794 mint state Victorian Farthings, all dated 1890, and the same type, young head left, rev. Britannia seated, lighthouse to left (BMC [Peck] 191 [S]; S 3958; Freeman 562). Generally all glorious mint state with full lustre, though some with spotting and minor imperfections were auctioned at Woolley & Wallis Salisbury Salerooms on 16th July.
The family story behind this extraordinary cache is that in 1890 a member of the Alington family from Crichel House, Dorset, had a £5 bet with a friend as to which of two raindrops would reach the bottom of a window pane first. The friend, less than pleased at being the loser, honoured the debt by paying in brand new farthings. The coins were wrapped in tissue paper at the time of issue and the ones now offered, which represent £2 – 18s – 1 1/2d are what remain of the original payment.
The farthing was last issued in 1956 and went out of circulation in 1960.
In line with the vendors request that the lot be sold, a conservative estimate of £14,000 – £18,000 ensured considerable interest from private and trade buyers. This rare collection finally sold for £63,440 (including buyers premium) to Knightsbridge Coins, St. James, London, on behalf of a client.
Mr Fenton of Knightsbridge Coins commented ‘it is incredible to find such a large group of these coins and in such good condition.’
A fully illustrated catalogue is available online.