The half-crown (2s6d or 2/6) coin was a subdivision of the pre-decimal Irish pound, worth 1/8 of a pound. The halfcrown was commonly called “two and six” due to its value of two shillings and sixpence (indicated on the coin itself as ‘2s6d’). For almost half a century it was the largest circulating Irish coin – the 10/- piece of 1966 didn’t really circulate because the people at the time didn’t take to it – often complaining “haven’t we got a 10/- note.” The 10/- coin was quickly withdrawn when the price of bullion silver rose rapidly and the coin’s face value was less than its bullion value.
In 1927 there was a coin design competition run by the then Irish Free State and numerous designs were put forward – in line with the guidelines that the halfcrown should feature a horse. Some of the designs are shown below :-
The original issue of this coin from (1928 to 1943) contained 75% silver, a higher content than the equivalent British coin.
- The silver coins were quite distinguishable as they had a whiter appearance than the later cupronickel variety minted from 1951.
- The silver coins wore less well. The subsequent cupro-nickel coin (1951-67) comprised 75% copper and 25% nickel.
- The coin measured 1.275 inches (32.4 mm) in diameter and weighed 14.1 grams.
The reverse design of the coin, by Percy Metcalfe featured an Irish Hunter, a breed of horse. This design was used later for the twenty pence coin issued in 1986.
- The obverse featured the Irish harp.
- From 1928 to 1937 the date was split either side of the harp with the name saorstát éireann circling around.
- From 1939 to 1967 the inscription changed to éire on the left of the harp and the date on the right.
|Irish Free State (75% silver)|
Republic of Ireland ‘proof’ halfcrown, 1951 (S 6638), practically FDC, extremely rare
|Republic of Ireland (75% silver)|
|1938||1 ? This coin is held by the National Museum of Ireland|
|Republic of Ireland (cupro-nickel)|
|Mule||50,000 see separate blog post to help identify this variety|
The last half crowns were produced in 1967 and were withdrawn on 1 January 1970.
Irish Pre-Decimal Coins (1928-1969)
- O’Brien Coin Price Guide: Irish Pre-Decimal Farthing
- O’Brien Coin Price Guide: Irish Pre-Decimal Halfpenny
- O’Brien Coin Price Guide: Irish Pre-Decimal Penny
- O’Brien Coin Price Guide: Irish Pre-Decimal Threepence
- O’Brien Coin Price Guide: Irish Pre-Decimal Sixpence
- O’Brien Coin Price Guide: Irish Pre-Decimal Shilling
- O’Brien Coin Price Guide: Irish Pre-Decimal Florin
- O’Brien Coin Price Guide: Irish Pre-Decimal Halfcrown
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