O’Brien Rare Coin Review: Why is the 1943 Irish Florin so valuable?


Introduction

The 1943 florin is the rarest ‘modern’ Irish coin to have actually circulated.

Both of the coins listed above were minted for only testing purposes, i.e. to calibrate vending machines and they were supposed to have been returned by the P&T engineers that used them.  For some strange reason, a few seem to have been misplaced and didn’t make it back to the depot.

With the price of silver bullion rising and WW2 approaching its darkest moments for the Allies, neutral Ireland decided that 1943 would be the final year for its 75% silver coinage.  No 1943 shilling was minted and only a limited supply of the 1943 florins and halfcrowns were  struck by the Royal Mint in London.  Bullion silver prices kept on rising and, by 1946, the last British silver florins (50% silver) were minted.  From 1947 onwards, circulating British coins contained no silver.

  • It is generally thought that just one bag of 1,000 Irish silver florins were transported to Dublin in 1943
  • This one bag of 1943 florins had a face value of £100

How many 1943 Irish florins exist?

Irish numismatic researchers believe between forty and fifty 1943 florins are now available to collectors from those taken from that one bag of coins.  The remainder of these 1943 florins + any previous silver florins on hand, were subsequently ordered to be returned to the Royal Mint to be melted.

  • 4 are known to be in ‘uncirculated’ condition (MS-60 to MS-65)
  • 4 are considered to be in ‘extremely fine’ condition (XF-40 to XF-45)
    • one of these is alleged to have been damaged by a screwdriver (so, there is only 3 in this grade)
  • All of the others have been ‘circulated’ and usually range from Fine (F-12 to F-15) to Very Fine (VF-20 to VF-35)

To the inexperienced coin collector, this means that the rest of the coins have been used for the purchase of goods or services, and this constant ‘handling’ causes ‘wear and tear’ on the coins – resulting in loss of design detail.

One of the things I have learned over the past 40 years of coin collecting and dealing is the following :-

  • The buyer always under-grades the coins they are thinking about purchasing
  • The owner always over-grades their coins – so as to maximise the perceived value
  • The reputable coin dealer usually grades somewhere in between the two above

I am constantly asked how they are worth and, since I do not have one in stock, my opinion is moot.  Several examples have recently been sold at auction and the prices are there for all to see, therefore (contrary to popular opinion) these coins are worth whatever you get for them on the day !

Recent sales results

  • Heritage World Coin Auctions  
  • ANA Signature Sale 3033, 8 August 2014
    • Ireland – Florin 1943 VF25 NGC, KM15.
    • Mostly steel-gray in appearance with delicate golden highlights shadowing the central motifs and outer legends.
    • A sharp example for the grade with much detail remaining in the harp’s ornate design as well as the fish’s fins on the reverse.  Easily the most recognizable date in the modern Irish series and as such, one that endlessly remains in high demand.  An exceedingly rare issue , and easily the premier rarity of the Irish Republic series. The KM catalog states that there are only approximately 35 total pieces known.
    • Only four examples have been certified by NGC and PCGS combined and this is the single finest of the four
      • Estimate: $8,000 USD
      • Price realized: $8,500 USD + buyer’s premium
      • Heritage World Coin Auctions ANA Signature Sale 3033 8 August 2014

        Heritage World Coin Auctions ANA Signature Sale 3033 8 August 2014

  • Heritage World Coin Auctions
  • CICF Signature Sale 3032, 10-12 April 2014
    • Ireland – Florin 1943, KM15, S-6634, F12 NGC.
    • Evenly worn, with medium gray patina and light contact marks.
    • A very nice example of the stated grade.
    • An extremely rare issue, and the key coin to the entire Ireland Republic series
      • Estimate: $5,000-6,000 USD
      • Price realized: $9,500 USD + buyer’s premium
      • Heritage World Coin Auctions - Sale 3032 10-12 April 2014 - 1943 florin

        Heritage World Coin Auctions – Sale 3032 10-12 April 2014 – 1943 florin

  • Whyte’s of Dublin
  • Sale, 21 April 2012
    • Ireland – Florin 1943
      • Estimate: €8,000-10,000
      • Price Realised: €7,500 + buyer’s premium
      • Whyte's, Dublin - Lot 570 - 1943 Irish florin

        Whyte’s, Dublin – Lot 570 – 1943 Irish florin

  • Heritage World Coin Auctions
  • Sale 363, 10 January 2005
    • Ireland – Florin 1943, KM15, S-6634, VF35 ANACS
      • Estimate: $4,500-5,500 USD
      • Price realized: ?
      • No image available

Other RARE Irish coins

Check your Irish coin values

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