Modern Irish Coins

Introduction

This webpage is intended as a catalogue and image library of Irish coins from 1927-2002, i.e. post-Independence issues up to 2002 when we joined the Euro Zone.  By way of illustrating what we buy and sell, please link to our Pinterest image pages and/or read the relevant blog posts on Irish numismatic topics.

Eamonn Duggan (Minister for Finance), William Butler Yeatss (Committee Chairman) and Percy Metclafe (the winning designer) were amongst the key men behind the design of the first 'modern' Irish coinage - first issued in 1928.. The Old Currency Exchange is Ireland's leading retailer for collectible banknotes, coins and tokens. best good shop for Irish coins and banknotes, Dublin, Ireland

Eamonn Duggan (Minister for Finance), William Butler Yeats (Committee Chairman) and Percy Metclafe (the winning designer) were amongst the key men behind the production of the first ‘modern’ Irish coinage – issued in 1928.  The designs were hugely controversial at the time but are now much loved by collectors worldwide and are now known as ‘the farmyard’ set – depicting animals considered to be of economic and cultural importance to Ireland.

  • All of the hyperlinks (in blue) link to a Pinterest image gallery, unless otherwise stated,
    • e.g. Blog Post, Coin Guide or Rare Coin Review
    • This website is updated on a frequent basis, so do please ‘re-visit’ as often as you can.

Please note: this is a constant “work in progress” and I will be adding more links + more images on an on-going basis.  Collectors are quite welcome to send me images of coins that I do not already have, or better images of the one’s I have posted.

The concepts behind this page are as follows :-

  • Irish coins are placed in their historical context
  • Relevant historical articles will be added to give additional insights into why these coins were issued and/or withdrawn
  • The technical details, such as dates, varieties, proofs and patterns are all listed
  • Where possible, the multiplicity of commercial or academic reference numbers are correlated and simplified
  • We all have a single reference point and image source to share

Where possible, a simplified chronological order has been applied to coins minted in Ireland, minted elsewhere but intended for circulation in Ireland, or (in the instance of the earliest coins) those found in Ireland as a result of trading, gifts, votive offerings, or other forms of transaction.

Modern Irish Coins

In 1928 the newly independent Irish Free State (at last) issued its own coins.  They mirrored the denominations used by the UK and most of the coins were the same size and weight as their British counterparts, except for the threepence and sixpence.  Another exception was the fact that Irish silver coins contained 75% silver, as opposed to the 50% silver comprising the UK shillings, florins and halfcrowns of the time.  Irish coins were ‘minted’ by the Royal Mint in London up until 1978 when the Central Bank of Ireland opened its own mint in Sandyford, Co Dublin.

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Decimalisation

In February 1971, Ireland switched from the old (Imperial) currency to a new decimal currency.

In the old (Imperial) system,

  • 12 pennies = 1 shilling
  • 20 shillings (240 pennies) = 1 pound
    • Other denominations (although obsolete) were still spoken about, e.g.
      • 24 pennies = 1 florin
      • 30 pennies = 1 half-crown
      • 60 pennies = 1 crown
      • 252 pennies = 1 guinea
      •   
      • 2 shillings = 1 florin
      • 5 shillings = 1 crown
      • 21 shillings = 1 guinea

Although the gold guinea coin was withdrawn before Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837, people still used the guinea for pricing luxury goods such as jewellery, fur coats, cars, racehorses and houses.  It was a symbol of the upper classes and they preferred to pay in guineas because it sounded better. Accountants, solicitors and doctors also charged their ‘private clients’ in guineas.  Even today, the guinea persists in the Irish (and British) psyche in the first two horseracing ‘classic’ races of the year – the Group 1 “1000 Guineas” (for 3 yr old fillies) and “2000 Guineas” (for 3 yr old colts) in each country – run at at The Curragh and Newmarket, respectively.

In the new (Decimal) system, this was simplified to 100 new pence = 1 pound.

  • Irish Decimal Coinage

    • O’Brien Coin Guide: Irish Decimal BU Sets (Presentation Packs) – coming soon !
  • One Punt
  • 1998 Ireland £1 planchet error (2p bronze planchet)

    1998 Ireland £1 planchet error (2p bronze planchet)

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If you have any queries regarding modern Irish coins, please email us on

old.currency.exchange@gmail.com

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Alternatively, please connect or follow my coin and banknote image gallery on Pinterest.

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Thank you

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