O’Brien Rare Coin Review: Will the Irish 1c and 2c coins ever be scarce?


The Irish have a love-hate relationship with their 1c and 2c coins – we like them as part of coin sets but it seems no one wants them in their pockets. All around Ireland, outside shops, we see 1c and 2c coins on the ground. Yes, people actually throw them on the ground !

Of course, a much better way to get rid of them is to put them into a charity box in the shop before you leave – there are many charities in Ireland that depend on these small donations for funding.

But, now that these coins are being discontinued, some people think they are going to be rare … possibly worth a lot of money. Well, the investment forecast is grim for these coins !

There were millions minted every year and it is very unlikely that they will ever be worth more than their face value. The exception, of course, is future sets of BU coins issued in blister packs. If no 1c and 2c coins are issued for circulation, then the only way to obtain these ‘future dates‘ will be via the special souvenir packs issued by the Central Bank of Ireland. This is, assuming, that the Central Bank will include 1c and 2c coins in these packs for the future – they might not.

Just by way of making a point, the table below shows mintages for each coin from 2002 to date

Year        1c        2c
2002 404,314,788 354,618,386
2003   77,837,182 177,225,034
2004 174,793,634 142,964,694
2005 126,969,391   72,549,884
2006 111,166,861   26,588,597
2007 163,748,944 200,887,066
2008   59,002,134   42,116,152
2009   52,258,019   41,091,162
2010     7,636,442     3,496,511
2011   23,261,567     4,813,844
2012   70,000,000   35,000,000
2013   49,000,000   40,000,000
2014            ?            ?
2015            ?            ?

I have no figures for 2014 or 2015 (yet) but it is likely they will be similar to 2013 mintages.

As you can see from the figures above, it will be a long time before any of these coins will be considered ‘scarce’ and it is very unlikely that they will ever be ‘highly sought after’ by collectors.

My advice to speculators …. don’t bother hoarding them in the hope of making a profit !

In the coming months, as these coins are ‘phased out’ of circulation in Ireland, I respectfully suggest that you donate your 1c and 2c coins to a charity.

My personal favourites are (in alphabetical order) as follows :-

All of the above charities do fantastic work and their volunteers make a huge difference to the lives of people both in Ireland and abroad.

Of course, there are hundreds more – many of them are small and every cent counts. There’s something here for everybody as someone close to you may be involved either as a volunteer or as a recipient of their services.

  • Please give generously
  • They will gladly accept larger denomination coins as well
  • Do you collect Irish coins?
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