O’Brien Coin Guide: Irish Pre-Decimal Penny Errors


Introduction:

This post is a continuation of the research work done by Derek Young and Prof. G.F. Mitchell – first published in the Irish Numismatics magazine. Sadly, this excellent magazine is no longer available and quite difficult to source. The information in this post relates to ‘minting errors’ on Irish pre-decimal pennies.

According to a Central Bank of Ireland report (May 2018) there is still a massive amount of old Irish coins and banknotes still unaccounted for, i.e. €226 million has still not been handed in to the bank and exchanged for euro.

  • This figure includes both coins and banknotes
    • It comprises both decimal and pre-decimal currency
  • In 2017 and 2016, the same amount was handed in, i.e. €1.5 million
    • 2017: €1.1 million in banknotes and €400,000 worth of coins
    • 2016: €1.3 million in banknotes and €200,000 worth of coins
    • At this rate, it will be another 150 years before they get it all back
      • In reality, they will only exchange old Irish currency until 2099
      • In among all these old coins must be a few ‘minting errors’
      • So get collecting folks !

Since these old Irish pre-decimal pennies are readily available at coin fairs, charity shops and car boot sales throughout Ireland, collectors are advised to be on the look out for ‘errors’ being sold at bargain prices. Alternatively, there are the specialist Irish numismatic dealers and auctions to source them from.

 

Irish Pre-Decimal Penny Errors: 1937-68

  • No Date
    • E.1d / 00 / 1
      • Brockage, hen incused on obverse.
        • E. Broughal, I.N. 6
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.0
  • 1928
    • E.1d / 28 / 1
      • Brockage, harp incused on reverse
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.1
    • E.1d / 28 / 2
      • Fada missing on second A of SAORSTÁT. Filled die.
        • Mitchell 1/28/1
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.1a
  • 1935
    • E.1d / 35 / 1
      • Flan less than half normal thickness; beaded border but no outer rim; lettering in legend much thinner and less raised than normal, as is the exergue line, leg & claw of hen, etc.
        • Owen Broderick, I.N. 45ee
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.4
  • 1942
    • E.1d / 42 / 1
      • Slight doubling on first three digits of date.
        • Mitchell 1/42/1
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.3
    • E.1d / 42 / 2

      • Die crack on top second N of PINGIN up past tail of chick on right with a very slight turn past right; die crack thick just below exergue line, continues about 2mm above tail.
        • Mitchel 1/42/2
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.3a
    • E.1d / 42 / 3
      • Metal blob at base of hen’s leg, second chick’s body present. (Die break between hen’s wing and the back of the left chick is due to a die clash. Later the die break is enlarged, and there is a die crack from the tail of the right chick up to into the field. In addition, there is a die break on the middle of the sound box of the harp on later specimens).
        • Brian Baxter, I.N. 11
        • Mitchel 1/42/3
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.3b
    • E.1d / 42 / 4
      • Metal blob at the base of hen’s leg, second chick has no body. (Die clash, more obvious in this case than E.3b). The raised metal appears in the outline of the harp on the obverse.
        • Brian Baxter, I.N. 11
        • Mitchel 1/42/5
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.3c
    • E.1d / 42 / 5
      • No metal blob on the base of the hen’s leg, nor any body of the second chick.

        • Brian Baxter, N.I. 11
        • Mitchel 1/42/4
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.3d
    • E.1d / 42 / 6
      • Small die break on bottom of exergue line at base of hen’s leg.
        • Mitchel 1/42/6
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.3e
    • E.1d / 42 / 7
      • Second chick has no body (filled die).
        • Mitchel 1/42/7
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.3f
  • 1948
    • E.1d / 48 / 1
      • Struck on wrong flan, smaller and thinner.
        • A.J. Jordan, I.N. 32
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.6
    • E.1d / 48 / 2
      • Hen/Chick die clash, obverse and reverse.
        • Mitchel 1/48/1
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.6a
    • E.1d / 00 / 3
      • Hen/Chick die clash, reverse only; inside bottom part of harp, visible by raised area of metal under second chick on left’s body, right of legs and part of second chick on left’s body; no signs of changes on obverse.
        • Mitchel 1/48/2
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.6b
  • 1949
    • E.1d / 49 / 1
      • Doubling on bottom, bottom right, bottom left of harp, bottom and bottom right of date, and left of ÉIRE.
        • Mitchel 1/49/1
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.7
  • 1959
    • E.1d / 59 / 1
      • Flaking near bow of harp.
        • F.E. Dixon
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.9
  • 1962
    • E.1d / 62 / 1
      • Die crack from border, four beads to the right of top of second E of ÉIRE, slanting in towards E and passing by tip.
        • Mitchel 1/62/1
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.10
    • E.1d / 62 / 2
      • Hen / Chick die clash on reverse.
        • Mitchel 1/62/2
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.10a
    • E.1d / 62 / 3
      • Hen / Chick die clash on obverse and reverse.
        • Mitchel 1/62/3
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.10b
  • 1963
    • E.1d / 63 / 1
      • Hen / Chick die clash on reverse
        • Mitchel 1/63/1
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.11
    • E.1d / 63 / 2
      • Slight doubling bottom , bottom right harp, top and top right of date, left and bottom left of EIRE
        • Mitchel 1/63/doubling
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.11a
    • E.1d / 63 / 3
      • Hen / Chick die clash on obverse.
        • Mitchel 1/63/3
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.11b
    • E.1d / 63 / 4
      • Hen / Chick die clash on obverse and reverse.
        • Mitchel 1/63/2
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.11c
  • 1964
    • E.1d / 64 / 1
      • Hen / Chick die clash on obverse.
        • Mitchel 1/64/1
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.12
    • E.1d / 64 / 1
      • Hen / Chick die clash on obverse and reverse.
        • Mitchel 1/64/2
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.12a
  • 1965
    • E.1d / 65 / 1
      • Die crack eleven beads to the left of top on reverse, running in towards centre; also slight to full doubling bottom, bottom left of harp, right date, top of ÉIRE.
        • Mitchel 1/65/1
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.13
    • E.1d / 65 / 2
      • Bar on top left of second É of ÉIRE; slight doubling bottom of harp.
        • Mitchel 1/65/2
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.13a
    • E.1d / 65 / 3
      • Die crack from directly below harp, up between gap and up left of divide, straight from edge.
        • Mitchel 1/65/3
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.13b
    • E.1d / 65 / 4
      • Hen / Chick die clash reverse; slight doubling on obverse, bottom, bottom right of harp, right date, left of ÉIRE.
        • Mitchel 1/65/4
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.13c
    • E.1d / 65 / 5
      • Doubling / slight doubling, bottom, bottom right, bottom left of harp, left of ÉIRE, right of date; various combinations.
        • Mitchel 1/65/Doubling
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.13d
    • E.1d / 65 / 6
      • Hen / Chick die clash, obverse only.
        • Mitchel 1/65/5
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.13e
    • E.1d / 65 / 7
      • Hen / Chick die clash, obverse and reverse.
        • Mitchel 1/65/6
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.13f
    • E.1d / 65 / 8
      • Hen / Chick die clash, reverse only.
        • Mitchel 1/65/7
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.13g
    • E.1d / 65 / 9
      • Flattened É of ÉIRE (possibly a filled die)
        • Cathal Miller, I.N. 15, p.130
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.13h
  • 1966
    • E.1d / 66 / 1
      • Chip on 1 in date, slight doubling on ÉIRE
        • Mitchel 1/66/1
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.14
    • E.1d / 66 / 2
      • Hen / Chick die clash, reverse only.
        • Mitchel 1/66/2
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.14a
    • E.1d / 66 / 3
      • Slight doubling bottom of date
        • Mitchel 1/66/3
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.14b
    • E.1d / 66 / 4
      • Slight doubling ÉIRE, date and tip of harp
        • Mitchel 1/66/4
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.14c
    • E.1d / 66 / 5
      • Hen / Chick die clash, obverse and reverse
        • Mitchel 1/66/5
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.14d
    • E.1d / 66 / 6
      • Hen / Chick die clash, obverse only
        • Mitchel 1/66/6
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.14e
    • E.1d / 66 / 7
      • Weak striking on harp
        • Barry O’Farrell, I.N. 9, p.146
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.14f
  • 1967
    • E.1d / 67 / 1
      • Hen / Chick die clash, obverse and reverse
        • Mitchel 1/67/1
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.15
    • E.1d / 67 / 2
      • Hen / Chick die clash, obverse only
        • Mitchel 1/67/2
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.15a
    • E.1d / 67 / 3
      • Brockage, obverse incused on reverse
        • I.N. 8, p.102
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.15b
  • 1968
    • E.1d / 68 / 1
      • Variant with less detail on reverse than normal due to insufficient engraving of the working die (?). Mitchell says “Although it seems that there is such a variant, different filled dies are also known for this date.”
        • Mitchell 1/68/1
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.16
    • E.1d / 68 / 2
      • Hen/chick clash obverse and reverse.
        • Mitchell 1/68/2
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.16a
    • E.1d / 68 / 3
      • Hen/chick clash reverse only.
        • Mitchel 1/68/3
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.16b
    • E.1d / 68 / 4
      • Various evidence of die clash on reverse, including outline of inside of harp in the form of raised metal (which includes a very strong hen/chick clash). Also clash marks behind hen’s wing. Signs of worn obverse die in the form of lack of detail and scratches around the middle of the sound box of the harp.
        • Mitchel 1/68/4
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.16c
    • E.1d / 68 / 5
      • Die break between É and fada of the first É of ÉIRE.
        • Mitchell 1/68/5
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.16d
    • E.1d / 68 / 6
      • Die break in first É of ÉIRE, on lower part of the loop developing until all the bottom part of the É is filled.
        • Mitchell 1/68/6
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.16e
    • E.1d / 68 / 7
      • Double-striking around the harp, date and ÉIRE.
        • Colin Baxter, Irish Numismatics, No. 11, p. 244
        • Mitchell 1/68/7
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.16f
    • E.1d / 68 / 8
      • Rotated reverse: harp at 25° angle.
        • Mitchell 1/68/8
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.16g
    • E.1d / 68 / 9
      • Hairline crack between the two sides, halfway down, between the G and I of PINGIN
        • Mitchel 1/68/9
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.16h
    • E.1d / 68 / 10
      • Struck in brass, thinner and fractionally smaller.
        • A.J. Jordan, 13 January 1973
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.16i
        • see Auction ‘Hammer Price’ in next section
    • E.1d / 68 / 11
      • Struck on irregular small flan, weight 3.55g, or 37% of the weight of the standard coin (9.44g)
        • Irish Numismatics, 11, p.248
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.16j
    • E.1d / 68 / 12
      • Piece of foil detached during the minting process (caused by a shaving of metal falling on the die or the flan after the flan has been evened and cleaned)
        • Roy Hamilton-Bowen, Irish Numismatics 23, p. 191
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.16k
    • E.1d / 68 / 13
      • The 8 in the date is smaller than on the standard coin.
        • D. St. J. Sullivan, Irish Numismatics, No. 15, p. 144
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.16m
    • E.1d / 68 / 14
      • Flaw over 9 in the date
        • Seán Moore, Irish Numismatics, No. 23, p. 193
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.16n
    • E.1d / 68 / 15
      • Partly closed first É of ÉIRE.
        • Seán Moore, Irish Numismatics, No. 23, p. 193
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.16o
    • E.1d / 68 / 16
      • First É of ÉIRE completely closed.
        • Seán Moore, Irish Numismatics, No. 23, p. 193
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.16p
    • E.1d / 68 / 17
      • Sliced (halfway) in two, flap lifts up.
        • Eddie Kelly, Irish Numismatics, No. 15, p. 145
        • Young (Irish Numismatics) E.16q

 

Prices Realised at Auction:

These coins rarely come up for sale at auction, as most of them are not worth much more than a small multiple of the standard coin. Most errors are quite small and are only apparent to the ‘experienced eye’ so, if you don’t know what to look for, you’re probably not going to notice them.

It’s difficult to put a price on them, since they are quite scarce and the Royal Mint (who minted all of our coins up until the late 1970s) take a lot of time and trouble to ensure faulty coins don’t get into circulation. In theory, the smaller the error, the more likely it is to escape their quality control systems.

In terms of price, only the really eye catching specimens attract attention from collectors and bidders at auction. These items, in theory and practice seldom escape and are rare. As with all auctions;

  • If there are two strong bidders in the room, the price goes way above the estimate.
  • If only one bidder wants it, it sells for the opening bid.
  • If no one wants it, it may go unsold…
    • or be offered at its reserve price… a bargain !

There are some exceptions and these are noted below:

  • Young (Irish Numismatics) E16i
  • Whyte’s Eclectic Collector Sale: 13th June 2015, Lot #192

1968 Irish penny flan error E16i - struck in nickel-brass instead of bronze, with a copy of a letter, dated 3rd April 1975, from Royal Mint confirming it was an error. Very rare, uncirculated.

  • 1968 Irish penny flan error (E16i) – struck in nickel-brass instead of bronze, with a copy of a letter, dated 3rd April 1975, from Royal Mint confirming it was an error. Very rare, probably the only one in private hands. Uncirculated. Great ‘eye appeal’
    • Estimate: €180-€220
    • Sold for:  €1,050 + Buyer’s premium.
      • There were two strong bidders in the room for this beauty !

 

Bibliography:

  • Errors on Modern Irish Coins, Part 3 – Penny (Bronze)  1928-37
    • (Derek Young), Irish Numismatics, No. 45, p. 102-103 (Nov-Dec 19)
  • Errors on Modern Irish Coins, Part 5 – Penny (Bronze)  1940-68
    • (Derek Young), Irish Numismatics, No. 47, p. 172-173 (Sep-Oct 1975)
  • Errors on Modern Irish Coins, Part 6 – Penny (Bronze)  1940-68 cont’d.
    • (Derek Young), Irish Numismatics, No. 48, p. 219-220 (Nov-Dec 1975)
  • Errors on Modern Irish Coins, Part 7 – Penny (Bronze) 1940-68 cont’d.
    • (Derek Young), Irish Numismatics, No. 49, p. 9-10 (Jan-Feb 1976)
  • Errors on Modern Irish Coins, Part 8 – Penny (Bronze) 1940-68 cont’d.
    • (Derek Young), Irish Numismatics, No. 50, p. 64-66 (Mar-Apr 1976)
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s