South Africa ¼-PENNY (KM44)

Cape Sparrow

This quarter-penny (which is one-quarter of one "pence", not "cent") is also known as a farthing. It features two Cape Sparrows on a Mimosa branch, designed by Kruger Gray.

During the second Boer War (1899-1902) a group of women in a concentration camp adopted a bible verse as their motto: "Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will?" - Matthew 10:29. Basically, in Jesus' time, sparrows were worthless (two for a copper coin) and were sold to poor people for sacrifice to God. But even the most "worthless" animal was a fitting sacrifice in God's eyes. As long as you were killing something to honour him. Or something like that.

This group of women vowed that the sparrow -- symbol of faith and hope -- would appear on any farthing (or other small coin) that would be minted. They succeeded, and the Cape Sparrow has appeared on South Africa's smallest denomination coin from the first farthing (1923) through to the one-cent coin, which was discontinued in 2002.

20.1 mm
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