Queen Anne's Farthing
Your observation in 2nd S. iii. 20., respecting the real small value for purchase of a Queen Anne's farthing, is so just, that it
cannot be too extensively made known. There have been instances to my personal knowledge of countrymen who had found, or in some
way come into possession, of what was believed to be a genuine Queen Anne's farthing, but which, in two cases, turned out to be
doubly erroneous; the farthings were counters struck in brass, forming an indifferent imitation of a Queen Anne's sixpence.
In one of the instances I allude to, the man had travelled six hundred miles, partly on foot, in full oonfidence that the sale
of the farthing in London would make his fortune.
The other, who also came several hundred miles, had borrowed money of his neighbours to make the journey. The keenness of the
disappointment on both occasions cannot need a comment.
The prevalence of the error of a Queen Anne's farthing being of extreme value seems to have extended even to Ireland, if we may
judge from the accompanying cutting from a newspaper, the Morning Herald of Aug. 25, 1823.
"INSOLVENT COURT.- Dublin, Aug. 16.
"E.L. Winter opposed by Mr. Clark an behalf of several creditors.
"Mr. M'Mahon opposed her on behalf of a poor woman named Mary Molony, for defrauding her of a Queen Anne farthing.
"Mary Molony examined.-- Was in possession of a Queen Anne farthing, which had been in her family for several generations; it was
left her by her mother; on the 5th June, 1817, pawned it with the insolvent's mother; witness got at sundry times 1l.
Mrs. Winter was present when witness was offered some hundreds for it. Witness brought two gentlemen to Winter's house, and
the brother of the insolvent offered her a farthing, which he alleged was her's, but which was a counterfeit.
"Cross-examined. -- Mr. Lamb, the auctioneer, offered her one hundred guineas for it; Mrs. Winter told witness she pawned the
farthing with her son Albert for 200l.
"Anthony Molony. -- Is brother to the last witness; his sister had a genuine Queen Anne farthing; it was advertised
in the newspaper, and Mr. Potts, of Saunders's News Letter, offered 100l. for it; Miss Huband, daughter
of Counsellor Huband, offered 150l., and other offers were made; Major Sirr offered 150l.; his sister was in great
distress, and pawned it with the Winters; witness went with a friend to releaae the farthing for his sister, and the
insolvent told him a gentleman in Gloucester Street had it, but would not tell his name ; he was offered 250l. by a
"Cross-examined. -- Mr. Baxter had the farthing in his possession for three days, and returned it; Mr. Baxter belonged to
Saunders's Office; witness was not present when the counterfeit one was offered to his sister; two young gentlemen of
the name of Dwyer were.
"Mr. Rhody White sworn. -- In consequence of an advertisement in the newspaper eight or nine years back, witness went to Montague
Court, and saw the witness, Mary Molony, who showed him what she called a Queen Anne farthing, and asked 350l. for it.
"[It was here stated, that the farthing got into the possession of Home, of the Royal Arcade, wfo got 800l.
"Another gentleman, who, as well as Mr. White, happened to be accidentally in the Court, said he saw the farthing, and thought
he would know it again.
"It was alleged, on the part of the insolvent, that his mother still had the farthing, and would give it up when paid the demand
of about 20l., which she had against it.
"It was directed by the Court, and agreed to by the insolvent, that the farthing should be deposited with the Registrar to be
"Mr. Clarke now opposed. -- The insolvent, he said, had been a baker, and contracted debts with several flour merchants to the
amount of upwards of 800l.; he has returned debts due to him to about the same amount, but affixed no dates to these
debts; but it has been ascertained that a great number of them had been nine years due; that the persons are either out of the
country or dead, so that none of them are available; he had charged his house-keeping, although a single man, at the rate of
365 guineas a year, with other extraordinary expenses, although he has returned no profit made by his business.
"George Fearon, Esq. -- He on his oath did not think it was the same that he saw with Mary Molony in Montague Court; it is not,
according to his recollection, like it.
"The case was ordered to stand over to Monday week, to give an opportunity of inspecting the farthing, which
was lodged with the Registrar in Court, and in order to have the insolvent's books lodged and inspected by the
L. B. M.