A joke from 1890 finally pays off

A joke from 1890 finally pays off
2,794 mint British farthing coins 
wrapped in tissue paper.

Every so often you hear about someone who pays a debt in a huge number of small coins to inconvenience the receiver.

The story told by one English family is that in 1890, a family member made a bet with a friend for £5. They were wagering on which raindrop would win a race by sliding first to the bottom of a window pane. The friend lost. He then jokingly paid off his debt with thousands of brand new British farthing coins, which were worth about a quarter of a penny.

By my calculations he may have originally paid off the debt with 4,800 farthings.

Some of the coins were spent, but in 2013 the remaining 2,794 coins, described as "Generally all glorious mint state with full lustre", were put up for auction. They were expected in bring in £14,000 – £18,000.

The Salesroom, Auction Catalogs, Woolley & Wallis>>

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