BASIC HISTORY + STRUCTURE OF IRISH COINS 1928-1969
How The Designs Came About -
Irish Coins were first Minted by the Irish in 1928. Before the designs were decided, there was a competition in which artists and established coin designers submitted their ideas for the designs of the coins. The Winner was awarded a prize, and had their design used for the Irish Coins. Percy Metcalf won, and after a few minor alterations to his designs, the coinage commenced minting at the Royal Mint, London. On the reverse of the coins, you will see the initials "PM", which stands for the designer, Percy Metcalf.
The Harp on the obverse of the coin was a modified version of the "Brian Boru" harp, which is in Trinity College, Dublin. The date of the coin is at either side of the harp, and so are the words "Saorstat Eireann", which translates into Irish to "Free State Ireland". The obverse of the coin was changed in 1939 from "Saorstat Eireann" to "Eire" at one side of the harp, and the date on the opposite side. This occured in line with Irelands` name change in 1938 from "Free State Ireland" to "The Republic of Ireland".
The Coins Structure -
- There were 8 denominations issued in 1928
- The Harp side of the coins is the Obverse
- The Animal side of the coins is the Reverse
The Farthing, Halfpenny, and Penny were minted using Bronze.
The Threepence and Sixpence were minted using Nickel. This changed, and from 1942 onwards, they were minted using Cupro-Nickel (CuNi), which consisted of 75% Copper, and 25% Nickel.
The Shilling, Florin, and Halfcrown were first minted using 75% Silver. These coins had a higher silver content than the British Silver Coins, which had 50% Silver. These Metals were changed, following the Coinage Act of 1950, and were struck in CuNi from the next mintage date, 1951, onwards.
- Farthing - 1/4 penny - Animal used was the Woodcock in Flight - Worth 1/960 of an Irish pound at the time - Diameter of 0.795 Inches - Weighs 2.83405 grams
- Halfpenny - 1/2d - Animal used was the Sow and Piglets - Worth 1/480 of an Irish pound at the time - Diameter of 1.005 inches - Weighs 5.66990 grams
- Penny - 1d - Animal used was the Hen + Chicks - Worth 1/240 of an Irish pound at the time - Diameter of 1.215 inches - Weighs 9.44984 grams
- Threepence - 3d - Animal used was the Hare - Worth 1/80 of an Irish pound at the time - Diameter of 0.695 inches - Weighs 3.23995 grams
- Sixpence - 6d - Animal used was the Irish Wolfhound - Worth 1/40 of an Irish pound at the time - Diameter of 0.825 inches - Weighs 4.53593 grams
- Shilling - 1s - Animal used was the Bull - Worth 1/20 of an Irish pound at the time - Diameter of 0.935 inches - Weighs 5.655 grams
- Florin - 2s - Animal used was the Salmon - Worth 1/10 of an Irish pound at the time - Diameter of 1.125 inches - Weighs 11.3 grams
- Halfcrown - 2s6d - Animal used was the Horse - Worth 1/8 of an Irish pound at the time - Diameter of 1.275 inches - Weighs 14.1 grams
In the mid - 1960s, Ireland decided to follow the International trend by adopting a Decimal Currency. This was offically introduced on "Decimal Day" - the 15th Feburary 1971.
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