The florin (2s or 2/-) coin was a sub-division of the pre-decimal Irish pound, worth 1/10 of a pound. It was more commonly known as the two-shilling coin.
- The reverse design featuring a salmon was by English artist Percy Metcalfe.
- 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 1968 the inscription changed to éire on the left of the harp and the date on the right.
In the 1927 competition to design the new Irish Free State coins, it was suggested that the florin depict a salmon. The artists that were invited to enter this competition produced some unusual designs, e.g.
The original issue of this coin (1928 to 1943) contained 75% silver, a higher content than the equivalent British coin. It is believed that this was done so that the new currency would not be seen as a poor substitute to the British currency which circulated alongside.
- The silver coins are quite noticeable as they have a more “whitish” look than the later cupro-nickel coins (1951-68)
- The silver coins also ‘wear’ less well.
- The cupro-nickel variety of coin consisted of 75% copper and 25% nickel.
- The coin measured 1.125 inches (28.6 mm) in diameter and weighed 11.3 grams.
|Irish Free State (75% silver)|
|Republic of Ireland (75% silver)|
|Republic of Ireland (cupro-nickel)|
The last florins were produced in 1968. When the currency was decimalised this coin continued to circulate alongside its replacement ten pence, and the florin was finally withdrawn from 1 June 1994 as a smaller ten pence coin was introduced. The obvious design changes were :-
- the rim is no longer beaded
- the initials (PM) of the designer (Percy Metcalfe) no longer appear beneath the salmon’s tail
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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