O’Brien Coin Guide: How to identify the Irish “Chickless” Penny Variety


The ‘chickless’ variety is probably a die flaw caused by normal ‘wear and tear’ on the dies during the minting process.  This variety has become very popular with collectors over the past decade and some claim to have evidence of “progressive wear across several examples of 1968 pennies” leading to a chickless coin.

Ireland Irish chickless penny variety

  • The most obvious difference is that the ‘chickless’ penny has the body of the second chick missing in the area behind the hen’s leg. The head of the chick is quite clear to the left of the hen’s leg, but the curve of the chick’s belly and the top of its leg are completely missing from the areas to the right of the hen’s leg.
  • There is also a tiny remnant of the chick’s leg visible just above the exergue line.
  • One might also note that the chicken’s far wing – visible behind the raised foot –  is smaller on the ‘chickless’ variety.

This variety occurs on the 1942 and 1968 Irish pennies.  Other years (1948 and 1966) have been reported but not yet substantiated.  Contrary to some opinions, there is definitely a premium on these coins.

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