The Farthing or ¼ penny, was Ireland’s’ smallest denomination coin during the 20th century. Issued on a small 20.3 mm planchet, coins were sporadically minted for circulation from 1928 to 1966.
The obverse design features the Irish Harp separating the date. From 1928 to 1937 the obverse featured the legend “SAORSTAT EIREANN” or Irish Free State. This legend would later be shortened to just “EIRE” or Ireland beginning in 1939.
The reverse was designed by Percy Metcalfe and features Woodcock in flight. Above the design is the denomination “1/4d”. Below the wing are the designers initials "PM". In Ireland, the woodcock has long been a favorite game bird for hunters.
The change of the official country name from “The Irish Free State” to “The Republic of Ireland” in 1938 required a legend change on all coinage giving collectors two major varieties for the series.
Variety 1 - Old obverse legend 1928 to 1937
Variety 2 - New obverse legend 1939 to 1966
|Old Legend||New Legend|
General Market Notes
The key to the series is the 1932 issue in high grades. As far as a sleeper for the series, look for coins issued from 1928 to 1938 in uncirculated condition which are becoming very difficult to locate.