O’Brien Coin Guide: Irish Euro BU Sets (Presentation Packs)

The Central Bank of Ireland acts as agent for the Minister for Finance in issuing all Irish coin, both circulating and commemorative and has been actively involved in the issuance of Irish collector coin products to mark specific events in Irish history of significant national importance or celebrate national treasures.

They usually issue just one Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) set per year but, on special occasions, they issue two.  The table below sets out the BU product offerings thus far.

Year  Description # of Coins in Set Issue / Mintage
2002 Central Bank of Ireland 8 20,000 sets
2003 The Casino, Marino 8 30,000 sets
2003 Special Olympics 9 35,000 sets
2004 Reginald’s Tower, Waterford 8 40,000 sets
2005 Heywood Gardens, Co Laois 8 50,000 sets
2006 Glenveigh National Park, Co Donegal 8 40,000 sets
2007 Dun Aonghasa, Co Galway 8 20,000 sets
2007 Treaty of Rome 9 20,000 sets
2008 Newgrange, Co Meath 8 30,000 sets
2009 Gaelic Games 8 30,000 sets
2010 Animals of Ireland (Horse) 8 20,000 sets
2011 Animals of Ireland (Salmon) 8 20,000 sets
2012 Animals of Ireland (Irish Wolfhound) 8 17,000 sets
2013 The Irish Harp 8 15,000 sets
2014 Island Nation (Scientific Studies) 8 12,000 sets
2015 Island Nation (Marine Flora & Fauna) 8 10,000 sets
2016 Centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising  9 50,000 sets
2017 Irish Lighthouses & Coastguard 8   8,000 sets
2018 Irish Myths & Legends 8   6,000 sets
2019 Centenary of the First Dáil 9   8,000 sets


The first set, issued in 2002, was grossly over-subscribed and almost immediately sold at a premium.  This under-supply led to some unscrupulous individuals to fake the packaging, insert 8 genuine coins and attempt to sell it as a genuine Central Bank of Ireland product.

  • The ‘fake’ packaging has a number of ‘flaws’ and can easily be spotted
  • Caveat emptor … buyer beware !
  • Always buy from a trusted source

The second set, featuring The Casino, Marino (Dublin) was heavily speculated in, with one dealer attempting to ‘corner the market’ and try to obtain as many as possible.  This ‘run’ was quickly spotted by the Central Bank of Ireland at the time and they suspended sales at their Dame Street headquarters as a result of this.  They now prefer to do business via post and usually limit the number of items any individual can buy.  This policy was put in place to protect collectors from speculators.

This ‘speculative’ buying prompted an increase in mintage but, with over-supply in 2005 and 2006, the Central Bank of Ireland experimented with a ‘reduced’ and the correct market size seems to be between 10,000 and 15,000 sets – depending upon the featured theme.

It is a very difficult task to issue “just about the right number” of sets – too many and the market is flooded, whereas too little causes the collectors to gripe and the speculators / forgers to prosper.

We in the Irish numismatic community like to think that our Central Bank has now got their mintage levels “just about right”.

The 2003 Special Olympics set contains nine coins, instead of the usual 8.

  • The extra coin is a €5 coin with the Special Olympics logo on the reverse

    The extra coin is a €5 coin with the Special Olympics logo on the reverse

The 2007 Treaty of Rome set also contains nine coins, instead of the usual 8.

  • The extra coin is a special commemorative €2 coin

    The extra coin is a special commemorative €2 coin

  • Ireland does not usually issue special commemorative €2 coins
  • In 2007 all 13 Euro Zone states were obliged to issue a €2 coin to commemorate the Treaty of Rome
    • All of the 2007 coins may look the same at first glance but there are differences
      • For example, each country has text in its official language
      • The Irish inscription is as follows: CONRADH NA RÓIMHE 50 BLIAIN, AN EORAIP, ÉIRE

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