Irish Hammered Coins

Introduction

Hammered coins are produced by hand. This webpage is intended as a catalogue and image library of Irish ‘hammered’ coins, dating from the Hiberno-Norse series to those issued at the time of King Charles I in the mid-17th century.

A typical scene at a late medieval mint. The man in the middle is 'hammering' designs on to blank pieces of silver or gold. This manual process, known as hammered coinage, proceeded under the management of a moneyer; it was the major method of coinmaking from 640 bc until as late as 1662. A moneyer typically kept one of every 16 pieces as his pay, so there is little onder as to why they rejected the introduction of any mechanical means of coin making until the mid-1600's. 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

A typical scene at a late medieval mint. The man in the middle is ‘hammering’ designs on to blank pieces of silver or gold. This manual process, known as hammered coinage, proceeded under the management of a moneyer; it was the major method of coinmaking from 640 bc until as late as 1662. A moneyer typically kept one of every 16 pieces as his pay, so there is little wonder as to why they rejected the introduction of any mechanical means of coin making until the mid-1600’s.

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 and exonumia topics.

  • 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  • Relevant historical articles will be added to give additional insights into why these coins were issued and/or withdrawn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.

Ancient Coins

Gold ring money- 1,3 gram, ca 3rd-2nd cent BC, #irish, #coinage, #celtic, #ireland, #ringmoney

Gold ring money- 1,3 gram, ca 3rd-2nd century BC

  • Image Gallery: Roman Coins

    • O’Brien Coin Guide: Roman Emperors & their Coins, Part I (Augustus – Nero)
    • O’Brien Coin Guide: Roman Emperors & their Coins, Part II (Galba – Domitian)
      • AD 81, Roman general Gnaeus Julius Agricola gathered an invasion force on the Clyde–Forth line
        • Agricola received an Irish prince who had been forced out of Ireland by an internal dispute
        • Agricola probably planned to install this Irish chief at Emain Macha, the nearest regia
          • Clans of northern Caledonia staged an uprising that threatened the Clyde–Forth frontier
          • Agricola suspended his Irish campaign to deal with this new threat
          • It took two years to defeat the Highlanders, culminating in the decisive battle of Mons Graupius
    • O’Brien Coin Guide: Roman Emperors & their Coins, Part III (Nerva – Commodus)
      • AD 140 Ptolemy’s Geographia provides the earliest known written reference to habitation in the Dublin area, referring to a settlement in the area as Eblana Civitas
    • O’Brien Coin Guide: Roman Emperors & their Coins, Part IV (Pertinax – Alexander Severus)
      • AD 220 The Annals of the Four Masters, Foras Feasa ar Éirinn, and other semi-historical (non-contemporary) texts, place Cormac mac Airt (226-266) as a longstanding High King of Ireland
    • O’Brien Coin Guide: Roman Emperors & their Coins, Part V (Maximinus – Carinus)
    • O’Brien Coin Guide: Roman Emperors & their Coins, Part VI (Diocletian – Marcian)
      • AD 367 The Irish, Picts and Saxons launched a concerted raid on Britain
      • AD 378 Niall of the Nine Hostages becomes high king of Ireland
      • AD 395 British ask Rome for support against Irish raiders
    • O’Brien Coin Guide: Roman Emperors & their Coins, Part VII (Petronius Maximus – Romulus Augustulus)
      • AD 400 St Declan a monk from Wales set up a monastery at Ardmore, in Co Waterford
      • AD 407 The Romans begin to withdraw their legions from Britain
      • AD 431 Palladius went as bishop to ‘the Irish who believe in Christ’ lands in Wicklow.
      • AD 432 St Patrick arrived to convert the kings. Conversion was slow, although St Patrick was not the only missionary. A Gaelic-Christian golden age was to follow.
    • O’Brien Coin Guide: Roman Emperors & their Coins, Part VIII (The Byzantine Empire to AD 800)
    • O’Brien Coin Guide: Roman Governors of Britain & their Coins
      • AD 500 Monasticism made strides during this century, influenced by the British church. Monasteries were originally strict retreats from the world, but became wealthy and influential, bearing a rich literary and artistic culture. As time passed the monasteries grew into little cities with a variety of inhabitants. Provincial kings lived in some of them. Several monasteries owned huge tracts of land and were ruled by worldly and wealthy abbots.
  • Image Gallery: Anglo-Saxon Coins

Anglo-Saxon futhorc - we buy old silver pennies

An Anglo-Saxon advert – we buy old silver pennies (in Anglo-Saxon futhorc script)


Irish Hammered Coinages

  • Hiberno-Norse Coinages of Dublin

    • 795 The first Vikings arrived in Ireland, pirates led by aristocrats, raiding Rathlin and Iona
    • 840 Vikings began setting up defended bases and their intensify their raiding
    • 841 Dubhlinn (Dublin) begins as a Viking settlement (Dyflin)
    • 850 Vikings create the settlement of Waterford
    • 856 Vikings create settlements near Cork
      • 866 to 876 two vikings from Ireland, Ívarr and Hálfdan, ruled at York
    • 902 The Irish attack and drive the Vikings from Dublin into Wales
    • 914 Large Viking Fleets arrive at Waterford.
      • Further settlements built in Limerick and Wexford
    • 915 The Vikings attack Dublin and regain control from the Irish
    • 921 Hiberno-Norse Kingdom of Northumbria began to issue its own coins
      • Sihtric II Caech. 921-927
      • Anlaf Guthfrithsson. 939-941
      • Anlaf Sihtricsson Cuarán. 941-944/5
    • 976 Brian Boru became king of the Dal Cais, becoming a serious rival to the Uí Neílls.
      • Supported by the Ostmen, he conquered Dublin and Leinster, and then the whole country.
  • O’Brien Coin Guide: Introduction to the Hiberno-Norse Coinages of the Late 10th & Early 11th C
Old Norse runic - We buy old Viking silver pennies

A viking coin dealer’s advert – “We buy old Viking silver pennies” (in Old Norse runic script)

  • Image Gallery:  995–1036 Hiberno-Norse – Phase I
  • Image Gallery: 1015–1035 Hiberno-Norse – Phase II
    • Vikings begin to assimilate into Irish society
    • 1022 Irish High Kings with opposition (constant inter-necine warfare in Ireland)
    • King Sihtric and Bishop Dúnán founded Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin
  • Image Gallery: 1035–1060 Hiberno-Norse – Phase III
    • 1035 Death of Canute: his possessions are divided
    • 1035-1040 Harold I, Harefoot, King of England
    • 1040-1042 Hardicanute, King of England, dies
    • 1042-1066 Edward the Confessor, son of AEthelred II, King of England
  • Image Gallery: 1050–1065 Hiberno-Norse – Phase IV
    • 1051-1052 Godwin, Earl of Wessex, exiled: he returns with a fleet and wins back his power
    • 1052 Edward the Confessor founds Westminster Abbey, near London
    • 1053 Death of Godwin: his son Harold succeeds him as Earl of Wessex
    • 1054 The Patriarchate of Rome (and the West) falls into schism from the Church
    • 1055 Harold’s brother Tostig becomes Earl of Northumbria
  • Image Gallery: 1060–1100 Hiberno-Norse – Phase V
    • 1063 Harold and Tostig subdue Wales.
    • 1066–1087 William I (the Conquerer) invades and conquers England
      • Two of Harold’s sons, Godwine and Edmund, fled to Ireland
      • Aided by the King of Leinster, Diarmait mac Mail na mBo, they invaded Devon in 1068
      • Aided by the Viking fleet of Dublin, they raided Cornwall as late as 1082
    • 1087–1100 William II  (consolidates Norman rule in England and extends it to Wales)
    • 1095 (November 27) Pope Urban II called for a crusade to help the Byzantines and to free the city of Jerusalem
      • The armies that left before that time are considered part of the People’s Crusade, i.e no kings took part

        • 1097 The crusaders in Constantinople riot after the Byzantine emperor Alexius I Comnenus cuts off their food supplies for refusing swear allegiance to him
        • 1099 Crusaders take Jerusalem
  • Image Gallery: 1100–1130 Hiberno-Norse – Phase VI
    • 1100–1135 Henry I  (seized the English throne after his brother William’s mysterious death)
  • Image Gallery: 1130–1150 Hiberno-Norse – Phase VII
    • 1135–1154 Stephen & Matilda  (civil war in England)
    • 1145 Pope Eugenius III issued an appeal for the Second Crusade (1145-49)
      • The initial campaigns in Iberia (to expel the Moors) were successful
      • The Baltic campaign (against the pagan Wends) achieved little
      • The prestigious campaign to re-capture Jerusalem was a disaster
        • The two armies lacked discipline, supplies and finance, and both were badly mauled by the Seljuk Turks as they crossed Asia Minor
        • When the remaining crusaders laid siege to Damascus, they retreated after only four days – thus ended any further appetite for crusading

 


 

Hiberno-Manx Coinage


Hiberno-Saxon Coinage ???

The enigmatic O'Neil REX coin (Parsons, 1921) - is this the first native Irish coin ever struck in Ireland ?

The enigmatic O’Neil REX coin (Parsons, 1921) – is this the first native Irish coin ever struck in Ireland ? This coin was unique for almost a century but recently, another (similar) one has been found.  Is this evidence that a native Irish king attempted to mint his own coins ?  Were the native Irish also contemplating a currency, or were these coins for other purposes?


Anglo-Norman Coinages

William the Conquerer famously invaded England in the year 1066 and thereafter set about replacing the old Anglo-Saxon (and Anglo-Norse) ruling class. The Normans didn’t colonise England, they merely took over the management of the country by installing new lords operating a European ‘feudal system’ of service and taxation. This took time to do and many local lords had to be defeated / removed before this process was complete.

  • Blog Post: The Norman Invasion of England under William I (the Conquerer)
  • Blog Post: Consolidation of Norman Rule in England
  • Blog Post: The Anarchy of the Reign of Stephen in England

They didn’t, however, turn their attention to Ireland for over a hundred years. By the time Henry II arrived in 1172, the economic power of the Viking traders had waned and their coinage (not now traded internationally) had degraded to such an extent, that Ireland was a ‘coin-less’ country more or less self-sufficient with few imports/exports and ripe for economic development – provided they could take it and control it !

In 1166 Dermot MacMurrough, the exiled king of Leinster, recruited some Norman knights to help him regain his throne. More Normans then arrived in 1169-70, and they quickly established their own lordships in Ireland. Henry II (1154-89) intervened in 1171, leading an expedition to Ireland, and in 1177 he gave the title of Lord of Ireland to his son, Prince John, who introduced a new coinage for Ireland in his own name – not of his father. Shortly afterwards, a Norman lord (John de Courcy) dared to issue his own. This was the first in a long lineage of Anglo-Norman coinage for Ireland.

Henry II led an expedition to Ireland in 1172 and five years later he gave the title of Lord of Ireland to his son, Prince John, who introduced a new coinage for Ireland in his own name – not of his father. Shortly afterwards, a Norman lord (John de Courcy) dared to issue his own. This was the first in a long lineage of Anglo-Norman coinage for Ireland.

House of Anjou

Henry II is shown above left, Henry the Younger is shown center bottom, and Richard I, the Lionheart, is on the right.

Henry II is shown above left, Henry the Younger is shown center bottom, and Richard I, the Lionheart, is on the right.

  • 1154–1189 Henry II                             (minted no coins in his own name for use in Ireland)

After almost 20 years of civil war in England, including rebellions in Wales and Scottish invasions, Henry II inherited a desolate land and began the long period of reconstruction in England. Henry was also known as Henry Curtmantle (French: Court-manteau), Henry FitzEmpress or Henry Plantagenet. He ruled as Count of Anjou, Duke of Normandy, and as King of England (1154–1189) and, at various times, controlled parts of Wales, Scotland, eastern Ireland, and most of western France. This was known as the Angevin Empire but Henry did not attempt to unify the coinages of his scattered dominions, preferring to allow the issue of local coins. Henry II issued no coins in Ireland under his own name but his son (John, Lord of Ireland) and his lord deputy (John de Courcy) each issued coinages.

Richard I (the Lion Heart)

Richard I (the Lion Heart)

  • 1189–1199 Richard I (the Lionheart)      (minted no coins in his own name for use in Ireland)

Like his father (Henry II) before him, Richard I did not attempt to unify the coinages of his scattered dominions of the Angevin Empire but continued to allow the issue of local coins. Richard I issued no coins in Ireland under his own name but his brother (John, Lord of Ireland) and his lord deputy (John de Courcy) each issued coinages.

  • Image Gallery: 1189–1199 John (as Lord of Ireland)
    • O’Brien Coin Guide: The Second Coinage of John, Lord of Ireland, 1190-98 (Dominus / Cross Potent Issue)
    • O’Brien Coin Guide: The Third Coinage of John Lord of Ireland 1198-99 (Dominus / Cross Pommée Issue)
  • Image Gallery: 1195–1205 Ulster (Anonymous Coinage)
    • O’Brien Coin Guide: The Second (Anonymous) Coinage of John de Courcy, Lord of Ulster, 1195
    • Blog Post – The Problematic Succession of Richard I

King John of England

  • Image Gallery: 1199–1216 John (as King)
    • Blog Post – 1204: John de Courcy expelled from Ireland
    • O’Brien Coin Guide: The Irish Coinage of King John (REX issue, 1207-11)
      • Blog Post – John’s Second Expedition to Ireland (1210)

Louis VIII of France briefly ruled about half of England from 1216 to 1217 at the conclusion of the First Barons’ War against King John. On marching into London he was openly received by the rebel barons and citizens of London and proclaimed (though not crowned) king at St Paul’s Cathedral. Many nobles, including Alexander II of Scotland for his English possessions, gathered to give homage to him.

In signing the Treaty of Lambeth in 1217, Louis conceded that he had never been the legitimate king of England. None of this appears to have affected Ireland but it serves to illustrate how tenuous the hold on the English crown was at this time

House of Plantagenet

King Henry III of England, c. 1350-1400. A page of illustrated Latin text showing King Henry III holding out his arm on which he carries a garment. From the Chronicle of St.Albans by Thomas Walsingham. Cott.Nero.D.VII.fol.6

King Henry III of England, c. 1350-1400. A page of illustrated Latin text showing King Henry III holding out his arm on which he carries a garment. From the Chronicle of St.Albans by Thomas Walsingham.
Cott.Nero.D.VII.fol.6

  • Image Gallery: 1216–1272 Henry III
    • 1270-71 Famine in Ireland
    • O’Brien Coin Guide: Introduction to the Irish Coinage of Henry III (1216-1272)
Early fourteenth-century manuscript initial showing Edward and his wife Eleanor. The artist has perhaps tried to depict Edward's blepharoptosis, a trait he inherited from his father

Early fourteenth-century manuscript initial showing Edward and his wife Eleanor. The artist has perhaps tried to depict Edward’s blepharoptosis, a trait he inherited from his father

    • O’Brien Coin Guide: The 1st Irish Coinage of Edward I (1276)
      • 1277 Rebellion of Llewelyn ap Gruffydd, prince of Wales
    • O’Brien Coin Guide: The 2nd Irish Coinage of Edward I (1280-83)
      • 1282-83 Rebellion of David ap Gruffydd in Wales
      • 1283 Most of Dublin burned down by an accidental fire
      • 1290 Edward’s wife Eleanor died
      • 1291 Muslim armies capture Acre, the last Christian holdings in Palestine
      • 1292 John Balliol becomes Edward I’s puppet-king, ruling Scotland but collaborating with England
    • O’Brien Coin Guide: The 3rd Irish Coinage of Edward I (1294-1302)
      • 1294 Edward’s possessions in Gascony confiscated by Philippe IV
    • O’Brien Coin Guide: The 4th Irish Coinage of Edward I (1294)
      • 1294 Famine in Ireland
      • Records in Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin recorded that the poor in the city were eating the bodies of executed criminals to survive
    • O’Brien Coin Guide: The 5th Irish Coinage of Edward I (1295)
      • 1296 Edward invades Scotland and defeats John Balliol at Dunbar
      • 1297 Edward regains Gascony from the French
      • 1298 Edward defeats William Wallace at Falkirk
    • O’Brien Coin Guide: The 6th Irish Coinage of Edward I (1300)
      • 1305 Wallace returns to Scotland and is captured
      • 1306 Rebellion in Scotland, led by Robert Bruce
  • Image Gallery: 1272–1307 Edward I
King Edward II of England was one of history’s least loved monarchs. From the day he took up rule of his nation in 1307 he was controversial due to his strong attachment to a series of court favourites, believed by most to be his lovers. He was also unfortunate in the wars against Scotland, which his father Edward I, ‘Longshanks’ or ‘The Hammer of the Scots’, had started with great success. During his reign not only did the Scots reclaim most of their country from English rule, but a number of civil wars broke out when English Barons rebelled with the purpose of eliminating Edward’s favourites.

King Edward II of England was one of history’s least loved monarchs. From the day he took up rule of his nation in 1307 he was controversial due to his strong attachment to a series of court favourites, believed by most to be his lovers. He was also unfortunate in the wars against Scotland, which his father Edward I, ‘Longshanks’ or ‘The Hammer of the Scots’, had started with great success. During his reign not only did the Scots reclaim most of their country from English rule, but a number of civil wars broke out when English Barons rebelled with the purpose of eliminating Edward’s favourites.

  • 1307–1327 Edward II                           (minted no coins in his name for use in Ireland)
    • 39% of the taxes levied in Ireland were used to build a chain of castles in Wales
    • 1315-18 Edward the Bruce’s Invasion of Ireland
    • 1315-18 Famine in Ireland
      • Diseases, famine, murder, and incredible bad weather… Corpses eaten, women eat their children… Wheat 40 shillings a crannoc and in some places 4 marks and more a crannoc… ‘do ithdais na daine cin amuras a cheli ar fod Erenn (and undoubtedly men ate each other throughout Ireland)’
A mediaeval miniature of Edward III of England. The king is wearing a blue garter, of the Order of the Garter, over his plate armour.

A medieval miniature of Edward III of England. The king is wearing a blue garter, of the Order of the Garter, over his plate armour.

    • O’Brien Coin Guide: The Rare Irish Coinage of Edward III (1339-40)
      • Image Gallery: 1327–1377 Edward III
        • 1327 Almost half of colonised land in Ireland belonged to absentees and the resident Anglo-Irish nobility accused them of endangering the colonies through neglect.
        • 1330-31 Famine in Ireland
        • 1339 All the corn of Ireland destroyed: general famine
        • 1348-50 The Black Death Kills 40-50% of the urban population of Ireland
        • 1351 Statute of Labourers 
        • 1354 Statute of Staples
        • 1366 Statutes of Kilkenny, aimed at preventing settlers becoming “too Irish”
Richard II King of England - Coronation portrait

Richard II King of England – Coronation portrait

  • 1377–1399 Richard II                           (minted no coins in his name for use in Ireland)  

Following the death in 1376 of his father, Edward of Woodstock (the Black Prince), Richard became heir to his grandfather, King Edward III of England, whom he succeeded in 1377 at the age of ten.

  • His reign of twenty-two years saw a number of domestic crises, from the Peasants’ Revolt (1381) to later conflicts with a disaffected nobility, culminating in his usurpation by his cousin, Henry Bolingbroke (crowned Henry IV)
  • Richard II was the first English king to visit Ireland since King John in 1210 and the only English monarch to have visited Ireland twice, despite nearly losing his life on the first expedition
    • He was deposed in September 1399 by Henry of Bolingbroke
    • He died in captivity at Pontefract Castle in February 1400
  • Blog Post – Richard II’s first expedition to Ireland (1394-95)
  • Blog Post – Richard II’s second expedition to Ireland (1399)
    • Famine—summer and autumn windy, wet and cold

The so-called Wars of the Roses was an ‘extended’ civil war over the throne of England fought among the descendants of King Edward III through his five surviving adult sons.  Each branch of the family had competing claims through seniority, legitimacy, and/or the gender of their ancestors.

  1. Edward, the Black Prince (b.1330 d.1376), Duke of Cornwall, Prince of Wales
  2. William (b. 1335 d.1335), he was buried at the cathedral of York
  3. Lionel of Antwerp (b.1338 d.1368), Duke of Clarence
  4. John of Gaunt (b.1340 d.1399), Duke of Lancaster
  5. Edmund of Langley (b.1341 d.1402), Duke of York
  6. Thomas (b.1347 d.1347)
  7. William (b.1348 d.1348)
  8. Thomas of Woodstock (b.1355 d.1397), Duke of Gloucester
HENRY IV, King of England, son of John of Gaunt, by Blanche, daughter of Henry, Duke of Lancaster

Henry IV, King of England, son of John of Gaunt, by Blanche, daughter of Henry, Duke of Lancaster

  • 1399–1413 Henry IV (Lancaster)            (minted no coins in his name for use in Ireland) 
HENRY V, King of England, son of King Henry IV by Mary de Bohun, was born at Monmouth, in August 1387. On his father's exile in 1398, Richard II took the boy into his own charge, and treated him kindly

HENRY V, King of England, son of King Henry IV by Mary de Bohun, was born at Monmouth, in August 1387. On his father’s exile in 1398, Richard II took the boy into his own charge

  • 1413–1422 Henry V (Lancaster)             (minted no coins in his name for use in Ireland) 
Henry VI (6 December 1421 – 21 May 1471) was King of England from 1422 to 1461 and again from 1470 to 1471, and disputed King of France from 1422 to 1453. Until 1437, his realm was governed by regents.

Henry VI was King of England from 1422-1461 and again from 1470-1471, and disputed King of France from 1422-1453. Until 1437, his realm was governed by regents.

King Edward IV

King Edward IV

EDWARD V, King of England, was the elder son of Edward IV by his wife Elizabeth Woodville

Edward V, King of England, was the elder son of Edward IV by his wife Elizabeth Woodville

  • 1483 Edward V (York)                             (one of the ‘Princes in the Tower’ – no coins ever minted)
    • The “Princes in the Tower” is an expression frequently used to refer to Edward V of England and Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York – the only sons of Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville surviving at the time of their father’s death in 1483.
      • Then 12 and 9 years old, they were lodged in the Tower of London by the man appointed to look after them, their uncle & Lord Protector: Richard, Duke of Gloucester.
      • This was supposed to be in preparation for Edward’s coronation as king but Richard took the throne for himself and the boys mysteriously disappeared.
    • Lambert Simnal initially claimed to be Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, the younger son of King Edward IV but later claimed to be Edward Plantagenet, 17th Earl of Warwick
    • Perkin Warbeck claimed to be Richard, Duke of York, having supposedly escaped to Flanders.
      • Warbeck’s claim was supported by some contemporaries (including the princes’ aunt, Margaret of York)
Richard III

Richard III

  • Image Gallery: 1483–1485 Richard III (York)
  • O’Brien Coin Guide: The Irish Coinage of Richard III (1483-1485)

House of Tudor

Henry VII, King of England

Henry VII, King of England

  • Image Gallery: 1485–1509 Henry VII (of Lancastrian descent, via John of Gaunt)
    • O’Brien Coin Guide: Introduction to the Irish Coinage of Henry VII (1485-1505)
    • The First Coinage of Henry VII (1483-1490)
      • 1487 Lambert Simnal (Yorkist Pretender, crowned as Edward VI in Dublin)
    • The Second Coinage of Henry VII (1488-1490)
      • 1491 Perkin Warbeck (Yorkist imposter) claims to be the Duke of York (Richard IV)
    • The Third Coinage of Henry VII (1496-1505)
King Henry VIII c 1537

King Henry VIII, c. 1537

  • Image Gallery: 1509–1547 Henry VIII
    • O’Brien Coin Guide: The Irish Groats & Half-Groats of Henry VIII (1530-38)
Edward VI, by William Scrots, c. 1550

Edward VI, by William Scrots, c. 1550

Queen Mary I

Queen Mary I

  • 1553–1554 Mary I (alone)
    • O’Brien Coin Guide: The Irish Coinage of Mary I (1553-54)
Phillip & Mary

Mary did not believe that she should marry one of her own subjects. She thought that a good Christian wife should not be able to lord over her husband as she would be forced to do. She would have to marry someone of equal status as her, and she would not allow him to rule over England. The person she chose was Philip II of Spain, who was the son of her cousin, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. This has been seen as the defining mistake of her reign.

Elizabeth I of England

Elizabeth I of England

  • Image Gallery: 1558–1603 The Irish Coins of Elizabeth I
    • O’Brien Coin Guide: The First Irish Coinage of Elizabeth I (1558)
    • O’Brien Coin Guide: The Second Irish Coinage of Elizabeth I (1561)
    • O’Brien Coin Guide: The Third Irish Coinage of Elizabeth I (1601-02)

House of Stuart

James I of England and VI of Scotland

The reign of James I (pictured above) was somewhat of a transition period in Irish numismatic history for he was the last English monarch to issue ‘hammered’ coins (produced by hand) for Ireland and also the first to issue ‘milled’ coins, i.e. manufactured by machine. His ‘milled’ coins were not intended to be used in Ireland but a later version of his ‘patent’ farthings were ‘authorised for use’ in Ireland – although they were struck for his son, Charles I, from 1622 onwards.

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

old.currency.exchange@gmail.com

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