Monday, August 15, 2016

Dei Gratia


Among some Chucky Cheese prize tokens (seriously!) we found this beautiful coin at the flea market-a British Farthing full penny.  I dug a little deeper to find some additional information on this coin.  In circulation during Queen Victoria’s reign from 1838-1901 the British Farthing pennies and half pennies showed an image of the Queen at various stages of her life depending on the year of issue. The other side of the coin showed an image of Brittania the female icon representing Great Britain. 

Regardless of the image of Victoria present on the coin it was always marked “Victoria D.G.” with the “D.G.” standing for “Dei Gratia” or “by the grace of God.” That’s such a lovely phrase for a coin! It’s also very timely as we were just talking about finding random coins and the idea of “pennies from Heaven.”  Hmmm…..coincidence? This coin is dated 1897 which by coin collecting standards was not a “special” year so the coin itself isn’t necessarily very valuable. Historically, however, Queen Victoria’s long reign- the second longest reign of any female monarch in history (from, link here)- was pretty significant. During her reign Great Britain saw advances in science, technology and transportation. When we hear a reference to “Victorian England” it is that Victoria we are referring to. I love to think of the person who may have carried this coin in 1897 who was a witness to some of those changes and advances, like a character on a BBC period movie or, even better, a Hallmark period movie. Side note: I am a sucker for Hallmark movies and have been known to binge on them during certain holidays, namely Christmas. Embarrassing confessions aside, I am always amazed at how simple little objects can connect us so quickly to the past.

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