Grading Irish Coins – An Introductory Guide

Introduction There are two facets of grading coins that are frequently discussed at coin fairs and exhibitions – condition and rarity ! The former is relatively straight forward (albeit subject to several different standards) whereas the latter is often the subject of spirited debate.  In order to address both, I will deal with them separately. …


How hammered coins were made in medieval times (a video blog)

One of the most asked questions relating to hammered coins is “how are they made?” Rather than go into a long speech about how it was done, perhaps it is best if I leave this to the experts …. Dave Greenhalgh (Cosmeston Medieval Village) & Barrie Cook (Curator of Medieval Coins, British Museum) Dave reckons…

James II gunmoney sixpence irish ireland coin

O’Brien Coin Guide: James II Gunmoney – the year/month date variations of these unique Irish coins

Introduction Gun money was an emergency issue of coins made by the forces of James II during the Williamite War fought in Ireland between the years 1689 and 1691. It was not quite the same as the emergency issues of the Great Rebellion of 1641 where besieged cities and towns melted silver plate and issued…


An Illustrated Glossary of Numismatic Terms for Coin Collectors

Abrasions Area(s) of a coin where a foreign object or another coin has displaced metal in an abraded fashion. Similar to a bag mark but usually on the high points or open fields but not as deep or acute as the former. Accumulation A miscellaneous grouping of coins, often as a monetary hoard. Opposite of…

King John Irish farthing, Dublin mint

Collecting medieval Irish coins

One of the more difficult aspects of coin collecting is the language barrier one encounters when trying to decipher the legends (text around the edges) of coins. Very few of us speak Latin and truncated Latin still appears on British coins today. As we all know, British coins circulated alongside Irish coins in this country…