Irish Coin Daily: 2017 €10 silver Commemorative Proof (Dublin’s Ha’penny Bridge)


The Irish Coin Cabinet, The Old Currency Exchange, Coin Dealer, Dublin, Ireland

Date: 2017

2017 Dublin’s Ha’Penny Bridge €10 silver proof coin

2017 Dublin’s Ha’Penny Bridge €10 silver proof commemorative coin

  • Issued by: The Central Bank of Ireland
  • Issue Date:  5th October 2017
  • Issue Limit: 4,000 pieces

    • Designer:  Antonella Naplione (Italy)
    • An open competition was held for coin designs on this theme and the winning design by Antonella Napolione depicts the iconic Ha’Penny Bridge from the perspective of a pedestrian crossing its distinctive archway.
  • Quality:
    • Proof strike (by BH Mayer Mint in Germany)
    • Sterling Silver 0.925 fine
  • Weight: 28.28 g 
  • Diameter: 38.61 mm

Description:

The 2017 €10 silver proof coin pays tribute to one of Dublin’s most iconic landmarks, the Ha’Penny Bridge which was officially opened in May 1816 and replaced a ferry service. It was the only pedestrianised bridge in Dublin which connected the north and the south of the city for 184 years.

Obverse:

  • The obverse design breaks with modern Irish numismatic design tradition and features a smaller harp (than usual) superimposed on a large star, with the word “EIRE” and the date (2017) below.

Reverse:

  • A pedestrian’s view of the Ha’penny Bridge, its steps and its iconic lamps
  • Legend:
    • “10 EURO” (to the top left)
    • “THE HA’PENNY BRIDGE” (to the top right)

For the first 100 years after it opened a man named William Walsh was given the ownership of the bridge and charged locals the price of a Ha’Penny to cross. This is where one of the city’s most memorable landmarks, got its name from, prior to this it was known as the Liffey Bridge, the Wellington Bridge or the Iron Bridge.

The Central Bank of Ireland has participated in the European Silver Programme each year since 2006. The current theme “Great Ages of Europe” is running from 2016-2020, and attempts to express the uniqueness of Europe through its art history.

  • These ages are linked with the architecture celebrated on the €20 – €500 bank notes.
  • The 2017 issue will celebrate “The Age of Iron and Glass – An Irish Context’
    • It relates to the architectural and design period of the 19th century
    • The coin features a depiction of Dublin’s iconic Ha’Penny Bridge.
    • Participating countries in 2017 include:
      • Belgium, Finland, France, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain
      • All six issueded a commemorative coin celebrating the Age of Iron & Glass

The first coin was presented to Ardmhéara Mícheál Mac Donncha, first citizen of Dublin, for display at the Mansion House. As the Ha’penny Bridge is such an iconic landmark of Dublin and to the to mark their achievements in 2017, a coin was also been specially presented to:

  • the manager of the victorious Dublin Senior Football Team, Jim Gavin
  • the manager of the victorious Dublin Ladies Senior Football Team, Mick Bohan

History of the Ha’penny Bridge:

Before the Ha’penny Bridge was built there were seven ferries, operated by a William Walsh, across the Liffey. The ferries were in a bad condition and Walsh was informed that he had to either fix them or build a bridge. Walsh chose the latter option and was granted the right to extract a ha’penny toll from anyone crossing it for 100 years.

Grattan Bridge – between Capel Street and Parliament Street – was completed in 1874 to replace an earlier narrower structure. The previous crossing had featured a huge statue of King George I, the English King who didn’t actually speak English. It was erected on a pier built on the upstream side of the bridge in 1722, but stayed in position for just a few decades; the statue was removed in 1753 and now resides in Birmingham.

Before the Ha’penny Bridge was built in 1816, Grattan Bridge – between Capel Street and Parliament Street – was the lowest crossing point on the Liffey. Completed in 1874 to replace an earlier narrower structure. The previous crossing had featured a huge statue of King George I was erected on a pier built on the upstream side of the bridge in 1722.

Initially the toll charge was based, not on the cost of construction, but to match the charges levied by the ferries it replaced. A further condition of construction was that, if the citizens of Dublin found the bridge and toll to be “objectionable” within its first year of operation, it was to be removed at no cost to the city.

A watercolour drawing by Samuel Frederick Brocas of the Ha'penny Bridge, dated 1818, looking from Aston Quay across to Bachelors' Walk and downriver toward Grattan Bridge and the Four Courts. The original is stored in the Archives of the National Library of Ireland

A watercolour drawing by Samuel Frederick Brocas of the Ha’penny Bridge, dated 1818, looking from Aston Quay across to Bachelors’ Walk and downriver toward Grattan Bridge and the Four Courts. The original is stored in the Archives of the National Library of Ireland

  • The toll was increased for a time to a Penny Ha’penny (one and a half pence), but was eventually dropped in 1919.
  • While the toll was in operation, there were turnstiles at either end the bridge.

The bridge has three lamps supported by curved ironwork over the walkway. In 2001 the number of pedestrians using the bridge on a daily basis was 27,000 and, given these traffic levels, a structural survey indicated that renovation was required.

  • It was reopened, with its original paint color restored and changed made at the ends to allow standing room for pedestrians before crossing the road.
  • The original line of the decking was restored.
By day or by night, in sunshine or snow, Dublin's Ha'penny Bridge is a tourist icon that has to be crossed at least once on your visit to Dublin.

By day or by night, in sunshine or snow, Dublin’s Ha’penny Bridge is a tourist icon that has to be crossed at least once on your visit to Dublin. It is one of the most photographed places in Dublin.

 


Other Irish Commemorative Proof Coins in this Series:

 

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