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When did we stop using farthings?

(41 Posts)
Auntieflo Fri 07-Feb-20 12:21:42

Just that really.
I have been knitting for a GGC, and looked for some buttons in a charity shop. Bought 8 on a card for 40p.

When I looked at them last night, I was astonished to see that they must be really old. I know the card was yellowed, but the lovely handwriting on it says
1/7 per doz. ( 1 shilling & 7d)
or 1 3/4 each. ( 1 penny 3 farthings)
I think that's just lovely, and am going to keep them and use different ones for my knitting.

LakelandLass Sat 08-Feb-20 11:10:57

Mu grandma had a tin of farthings with the sweet little wrens that I used to play with! Don’t recall ever spending any in a shop, but I was born in September 1957. I do still have a 1957 sixpence for my Christmas pudding my favourite Auntie Ruth gave me smile

Chestnut Sat 08-Feb-20 11:23:54

The farthing started in 1860 and I imagine was actually worth something then. Not much but 2p may have bought a loaf of bread in those days. By the time we came along it's purchase power was much diminished, so it was on the way out during our lifetime. Eventually the 1/2d and the 1/2p went the same way. Now the 1p and 2p are worth nothing really.

Grief, just to think there were 48 farthings in a shilling and 20 shillings in a pound, which means there were 960 farthings in a pound! 💰💰💰💰 Least I think that's right.

GreenGran78 Sat 08-Feb-20 11:39:47

Although I was born in 1939, (just 6 weeks before the war started. Imagine how my parents must have felt!) I can’t remember ever spending farthings. What with sweet rationing, and my family being ‘hard-up’ I didn’t get to buy my own sweets very often. I also thought that they had gone out of circulation much earlier, but I do remember doing sums with them in. Decimalisation has made sums so easy now.

My mum never threw away the buttons from worn-out garments, and I followed on the tradition. I had a big sweet jar almost full, and in a mad moment gave it away, some years ago. I have always regretted it. Some of the buttons must have been almost 100 years old. Mother-of-Pearl, fancy glass and metal ones, and some very pretty ones from childrens’s clothes. Even ladybirds from an old Ladybird dressing-gown. (Is the Ladybird company still around?)
Considering how expensive buttons are now, they were probably worth quite a bit. I should have carded them all up and sold them on EBay!

GreenGran78 Sat 08-Feb-20 11:41:42

Childrens’s? Whoops!

Grosvenor Sat 08-Feb-20 12:14:19

Re the button ideas. I always cut them off before throwing garments away and inherited lots from my mother and aunt so had two large biscuit tins full. Sorted them by laying them in rows on the carpet, then stitched sets onto small pieces of card. I gave sixty cards of tiny buttons to a lady who knits baby clothes for charity, and the larger ones to a charity shop.

grandtanteJE65 Sat 08-Feb-20 12:47:04

I never remember seeing a farthing in use, which I suppose is quite right if they weren't minted after 1956, as I was born in 1951,

One form mistress told us not to do the sums with farthings in them, when we were six or seven, all our school books were printed well before 1956.

I have a set of coins sealed in plastic , minted for the Queen's coronation and the farthing there is the only one I have ever seen. My grandparents bought a set for each of their grandchildren and a silver half-crown minted in coronation year too.

Lancslass1 Sat 08-Feb-20 12:55:54

Talking of farthings makes me realise that there are coins which I think should be scrapped now.
I would scrap the Ip , 2p and 5p coins.
I would give everyone a short amount of time to spend what they have and then after that they could hand them in to a Bank or perhaps collection points in shops and the money collected could be used to raise money for the NHS Service.

Greciangirl Sat 08-Feb-20 15:36:41

I have a large biscuit tin of mostly antique buttons inherited from my late mother in law.

I really don’t know what to do with them, but don’t want to get rid of them.
I wonder if a charity might want them.

Gaunt47 Sat 08-Feb-20 15:43:01

When I was at primary school there was a short lived craze for collecting and swapping buttons. We all had an old sweet tin or something full of buttons and would spend our break time sitting on the ground inspecting each other's collections!

Holly42 Sat 08-Feb-20 15:50:40

I can recall shopping in the 1950s with an Aunt who was a dressmaker and she often bought cottons etc in a large store in the city. If the change was a farthing she was given this change as a few pins torn off a folded up packet of pins!

4allweknow Sat 08-Feb-20 16:00:03

I can remember farthings in the 50s. Loved the little wren on it. Definitely used for the 4 for a 1d sweeties. Wonderful find with those buttons auntiflo.

chicken Sat 08-Feb-20 16:02:40

I can remember the newspaper ( think it was the Daily Mail) back in the fifties used to have an advertisement for the shop called Pontin's on the front page, and it usually featured a shapeless looking dress in artificial silk priced at 39/11 3/4(39 shillings, eleven pence and three farthings).

grannybuy Sat 08-Feb-20 17:16:29

I remember using the silver three-pennies. We always kept some to put into the clootie dumplings. I can't re ember when they went out of circulation.

annodomini Sat 08-Feb-20 17:52:32

Our silver 3ds were kept for the Christmas pudding, wrapped in greaseproof paper and rescued after dinner to be kept for the following year.

Fennel Sat 08-Feb-20 19:48:55

My paternal Grandma used to make scones for birthday parties . Inside some would be silver 3ds wrapped in greaseproof paper.