The 1961 ‘mule’ halfcrown was struck in error (or, possibly deliberately) from a reverse die from the 1928-37 type. In 1938 the halfcrown reverse – the side with the horse on it – had been redesigned to improve the striking characteristics of the coin. A single example of the 1938 trial of the new die exists.
During the preparation of the 1961 re-strike of the 1928 proofs the original dies were tested and found not to be in suitable for use in producing the new proof coins. In this process the halfcrown die from the 1928 series was (deliberately or otherwise) introduced into the production run for circulating 1961 halfcrowns.
- This may have happened to other reverse dies in 1961 but the halfcrown and penny are the only two coins which were distinct in design.
- Since no Irish pennies were struck in 1961, the likelihood of a mule penny being found is zero !
The term ‘mule’ is used to describe any coin made from two mismatched sides. Since this coin features a horse, some people think the variety looks like a biological horse-donkey hybrid. However, despite the differences being small, they are reasonably easy to see – provided one knows what to look for.
They are as follows :-
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