O’Brien Coin Guide: The Irish Decimal Ten Pence


The tenpence (10p) (Irish: deich pingin)  was a sub-division of the Irish pound. It was introduced in Ireland on Decimal Day, 15th February 1971 and re-used the design on the florin coin first produced for the Irish Free State in 1928.  Due to the similarity in size and weight, many of the old florin coins remained in circulation until the early 1990s, when the new (smaller) 10p coin was released.

Two different designs of the coin exist, both featuring a salmon on the reverse. The second was introduced in 1993 and is smaller, due to the reduction of the coin's value by inflation.

Two different designs of the coin exist, both featuring a salmon on the reverse. The second was introduced in 1993 and is smaller, due to the reduction of the coin’s value by inflation. The two coins also differ insofar as the salmon faces right on the larger coin and to the left on the smaller coin.

Technical specifications:

Mass Large 11.31 g  (1969-1986)

Small   5.45 g  (1993-2000)

Diameter Large 28.5 mm

Small 22.0 mm

Edge Coarse milled
Composition Cupro-Nickel (CuNi)

The Irish decimal tenpence coin matched the British tenpence coin and they were minted by The Royal Mint until the breakup with Sterling in 1978/79. Both of these coins were similar to the old Irish and British florins and these florins circulated alongside the decimal currencies of both nations until the new, smaller tenpence coins were released in 1993 and 1992, respectively.

YEAR Mintage
1969 27,000,000
1971   4,000,000
1973   2,500,000
1974   7,500,000
1975 15,000,000
1976   9,400,000
1978 30,900,000
1980 44,600,000
1982   7,400,000
1985   4,100,000
1986         6,750

In 1986, no tenpence coins were circulated for that year – the 6,750 that were minted were used as part of a Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) set of coins that was mostly bought up by overseas collectors. As such, the 1986 tenpence coin sells at a significant premium whenever it is offered for sale. Many of these sets were broken up due to the poor construction of the packaging, i.e. the glue seeps out and damages the folder.

The 1986 Central Bank year set in blister pack folder was limited to 6,750 sets

The 1986 Central Bank year set in blister pack folder was limited to 6,750 sets

Following the successful introduction of the new 20p coin in 1986 and the new, smaller version of the 5p in 1992, it was proposed that a new, smaller version of the 10p would be also introduced into circulation … circulating in 1993.

Similar to the situation in 1986 when they introduced a new 20p coin, all vending machines In Ireland needed to be re-calibrated in advance of the circulation of the new (smaller) 10p coins and, with so many public phone boxes scattered around the country, Telecom Éireann engineers were issued with sample coins to test their equipment.

How rare are 1992 tenpence coins and what grades do they turn up in?

  • The 1992 Irish 10p coin is exceedingly rare and only two examples are known
  • No one knows the exact number minted, or the exact number returned for melting
    • how many Telecom Éireann engineers were there in each county?
    • how many of these engineers were involved in re-calibration of phone boxes?
    • were some engineers working in more than one county?
    • how many coins would each engineer need to do his/her job?
  • They were used to re-calibrate vending machines so it is highly unlikely that one will be found in uncirculated condition
  • They sell for about €12,000 each (but this depends on condition / grade)
YEAR Mintage
1993 80,100,000
1994 58,500,000
1995 16,100,000
1996 18,400,000
1997 10,000,000
1998 10,000,000
1999 24,500,000
2000 46,672,000
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