Coins of Ireland
Irish coins have been issued by a variety of local and national authorities, the ancient provincial Kings and High Kings of Ireland, the Kingdom of Ireland, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the Irish Free State, the present Republic of Ireland. Some modern British coins have Northern Ireland symbols but these are circulated throughout the UK. Hiberno-Norse coins were first produced in Dublin in about 997 under the authority of King Sitric Silkbeard; the first coins were local copies of the issues of Aethelred II of England of England, as the Anglo-Saxon coinage of the period changed its design every six years, the coinage of Sitric followed this pattern. Following the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 the Hiberno-Norse coinage ceased following this pattern and reverted to one of its earlier designs—the so-called'long cross' type. Coins of this general design were struck in decreasing quality over a period of more than 100 years. By the end of the series the coins had become illegible and debased, were too thin to serve for practical commerce.
All the coins produced. They were produced at the penny standard but the pieces are both debased and lightweight; these coins were issued by Earl of Ulster. The coins which followed the Norman conquest were minted to the same standard as those of England. A chief purpose of these coins was to provide a means for the export of silver from Ireland. Pieces followed the standard of England until 1460 when a lower, Irish standard was introduced with coins weighing ¾ of their English counterparts; this coincided with the introduction of the groat. Half groats followed in 1483. Edward VI issued the first Irish shillings following debasement of the coinage during the reign of Henry VIII. Prior to the reign of King Henry VIII, the Irish coinage carried the title'Dominus Hiberniae'. After 1535, Henry took the title King of Ireland. In 1561, Elizabeth I introduced a higher standard of silver coinage for a few years before returning to a base standard. Copper halfpennies and pennies were introduced. Higher standard issues were resumed by James I but all Irish issues ceased in 1607.
During the English Civil War, a number of local coins were issued in Ireland. Copper halfpennies were struck between 1680 and 1689, during the reigns of King Charles II and King James II; these coins were struck by the deposed King James II. These coins are unique; as there was a shortage of metal for coinage, church bells and old cannon were melted down, thus giving rise to the name Gun money or Gunmoney. These coins were declared illegal tender after King William III's victory at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690. A second issue of emergency coinage, consisting of farthings and halfpennies, was issued in 1691 for use in Limerick. William Wood was authorised in 1722 to produce up to 360 tons of halfpence and farthings for Ireland at 30 pence to the pound over a period of fourteen years for an annual fee of £800 paid to the king; these coins were unpopular in Ireland due to Jonathan Swift's polemical Drapier's Letters, Wood lost his patent though compensated with a pension. After the end of the English Civil War, copper farthings and halfpennies resumed production, pennies were added in 1805.
In 1804, the Bank of Ireland introduced silver tokens for 6 shillings which were overstrikes on Spanish dollars. These were followed by 10 and 30 pence Irish tokens; the last halfpennies and pennies were minted in 1823. The 1822–23 issue marked the last appearance of the symbol of a crowned harp, which represented the Kingdom of Ireland. Following this, standard British coinage was used throughout the island; the new Irish Free State circulated new national coinage in 1928, marked Saorstát Éireann, although British coinage was still acceptable in the Free State at an equal rate. In 1937, when the Free State was supplanted by Ireland, the coins became marked Éire and the Irish pound remained pegged at par to sterling. Both Ireland and the United Kingdom decimalised their currencies in 1971, parity between the two currencies continued until Ireland joined the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1979. An exchange rate between the Irish pound and the pound sterling was established on 30 March 1979.
The smaller denomination British 1p and 2p coins continued to be unofficially interchangeable with the Irish coins until the euro was introduced in 2002 due to their identical size and shape. Ireland adopted the euro as its currency along with most of its EU partners on 1 January 2002; the national side of the Irish euro coins bears the coat of arms of Ireland and the 12 stars of the EU, the year of imprint and the Irish name for Ireland, Éire, in the traditional Irish script. These coins circulate throughout the eurozone. Northern Ireland has continued to use British coinage since the partition of Ireland; the British one pound coin has featured varying designs to represent England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the UK as a whole. The 1986 and 1991 issues featured a flax plant in a coronet, the 1996 issue featured a celtic cross and flax flower, the 2006 coin featured MacNeill's Egyptian Arch all representing Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom; these coins are not unique to Northern Ireland and circulate through the entire United Kingdom and other sterling area countries.
Commemorative coins of Ireland Irish coinage w
Florin (British coin)
The British florin, or two shilling coin, was issued from 1849 until 1967, with a final issue for collectors dated 1970. Valued at one tenth of a pound, it was the last coin circulating prior to decimalisation to be demonetised, in 1993, having for a quarter of a century circulated alongside the ten pence piece, identical in specifications and value; the florin was introduced as part of an experiment in decimalisation that went no further at that time. The original florins, dated 1849, attracted controversy for omitting a reference to God from Queen Victoria's titles. Throughout most of its existence, the florin bore some variation of either the shields of the United Kingdom, or the emblems of its constituent nations on the reverse, a tradition broken between 1902 and 1910, when the coin featured a windswept figure of a standing Britannia. In 1911, following the accession of George V, the florin regained the shields and sceptres design it had in the late Victorian Era, kept that motif until 1937, when the national emblems were placed on it.
The florin retained such a theme for the remainder of its run, though a new design was used from 1953, following the accession of Elizabeth II. In 1968, prior to decimalisation, the Royal Mint began striking the ten pence piece; the old two shilling piece remained in circulation until the ten pence piece was made smaller, earlier coins, including the florin, were demonetised. The drive for decimalisation of the currency in Britain dates as far back as 1682. Although nothing was done regarding early proposals, the adoption of a decimal currency in the United States and other nations in the late 18th and early 19th centuries renewed the call, commissions in 1841 and 1843 called for its adoption. In 1847, a motion was introduced in Parliament by Sir John Bowring calling for the introduction of a decimal currency and the striking of coins of one-tenth and one-hundredth of a pound. Bowring obtained strong support for his motion, the Russell government promised that a coin valued at one-tenth of a pound would be produced to test public opinion, with consideration in future to be given to the introduction of other decimal coins.
There was much discussion about what the coin should be called—centum and dime being among the suggestions—before florin was settled upon, not because of the old English coin of that name, but because the Netherlands had a florin, or gulden, of about that size and value. The first florins were struck in 1849, they were in the Gothic style, featured a portrait of Queen Victoria as a young woman, with the crowned cruciform shields of the United Kingdom shown on the reverse, the nations' emblems in the angles. The new florin resembles the Gothic crown of 1847. Unlike the crown's Gothic script, the 1849 florin has Roman lettering; the 1849 florin, issued in silver, had a diameter of 28 millimetres. The new coin made clear its value with the inscription ONE FLORIN ONE TENTH OF A POUND on the reverse. To aid in the decimal experiment, the half crown, near to the florin in size and value, was not issued between 1850 and 1874, when it was struck again at the request of the banks, surveys found that both coins played useful parts in commerce.
Each would continue to be struck, would circulate together, until decimalisation. These first coins were a shock to the public, as for the first time in nearly 200 years a British coin featured a portrait of the monarch wearing a crown. More of a shock, including to Queen Victoria herself, was the inscription on the obverse, VICTORIA REGINA 1849, omitting the usual D G for Dei Gratia from the coin's inscription; this resulted in it being known as the "Godless florin". Further controversy was caused by the omission of the usual abbreviation F D for Fidei Defensor: the Master of the Mint, Richard Lalor Sheil, an Irishman and a Roman Catholic, was suspected by some of plotting to overthrow the Protestant regime; the inscription had in fact been suggested by Victoria's husband. Sheil stated in the House of Commons that the inscription had been a mistake, the florin was redesigned for its next issue in 1851; the revised florin's diameter was increased to 30 millimetres, all the lettering on the coin was in Gothic script, resulting in it being known as the Gothic florin.
The coin was by the same designers. The bust of Victoria and the heraldry on the reverse were unchanged; the Latin inscription on the obverse read VICTORIA D G BRIT REG F D with the date, while the reverse read ONE FLORIN ONE TENTH OF A POUND. Despite a Royal Commission, the drive for decimalisation soon died out; the Gothic Florin was produced each year until 1887, excepting 1861 and 1882. From 1864 until 1879, many florins were struck with die numbers on the obverse (found to the right of Victoria's brooch part of a Mint investigation into how long it took coinage dies to wear out. Beginning with some 1867 issues, BRIT on the obverse was rendered BRITT, following the Latin practice in abbreviations of doubling a final consonant for a plural. Thus, Victoria's title changed from "Queen of Britain" to "Queen of the Britains", includin
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was established by the Acts of Union 1800, which merged the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom, having financed the European coalition that defeated France during the Napoleonic Wars, developed a large Royal Navy that enabled the British Empire to become the foremost world power for the next century; the Crimean War with Russia and the Boer wars were small operations in a peaceful century. Rapid industrialisation that began in the decades prior to the state's formation continued up until the mid-19th century; the Great Irish Famine, exacerbated by government inaction in the mid-19th century, led to demographic collapse in much of Ireland and increased calls for Irish land reform. The 19th century was an era of rapid economic modernisation and growth of industry and finance, in which Britain dominated the world economy. Outward migration was heavy to the United States; the empire was expanded into much of South Asia. The Colonial Office and India Office ruled through a small number of administrators who managed the units of the empire locally, while democratic institutions began to develop.
British India, by far the most important overseas possession, saw a short-lived revolt in 1857. In overseas policy, the central policy was free trade, which enabled British and Irish financiers and merchants to operate in many otherwise independent countries, as in South America. London formed no permanent military alliances until the early 20th century, when it began to cooperate with Japan and Russia, moved closer to the United States. Growing desire for Irish self-governance led to the Irish War of Independence, which resulted in most of Ireland seceding from the Union and forming the Irish Free State in 1922. Northern Ireland remained part of the Union, the state was renamed to the current "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" in 1927; the modern-day United Kingdom is the same country as the one from this period—a direct continuation of what remained after the secession—not an new successor state. A brief period of limited independence for Ireland came to an end following the Irish Rebellion of 1798, which occurred during the British war with revolutionary France.
The British government's fear of an independent Ireland siding against them with the French resulted in the decision to unite the two countries. This was brought about by legislation in the parliaments of both kingdoms and came into effect on 1 January 1801; the Irish had been led to believe by the British that their loss of legislative independence would be compensated with Catholic emancipation, that is, by the removal of civil disabilities placed upon Roman Catholics in both Great Britain and Ireland. However, King George III was bitterly opposed to any such Emancipation and succeeded in defeating his government's attempts to introduce it. During the War of the Second Coalition, Britain occupied most of the French and Dutch overseas possessions, the Netherlands having become a satellite state of France in 1796, but tropical diseases claimed the lives of over 40,000 troops; when the Treaty of Amiens ended the war, Britain agreed to return most of the territories it had seized. The peace settlement was in effect only a ceasefire, Napoleon continued to provoke the British by attempting a trade embargo on the country and by occupying the city of Hanover, capital of the Electorate, a German-speaking duchy, in a personal union with the United Kingdom.
In May 1803, war was declared again. Napoleon's plans to invade Great Britain failed, chiefly due to the inferiority of his navy, in 1805 a Royal Navy fleet led by Nelson decisively defeated the French and Spanish at Trafalgar, the last significant naval action of the Napoleonic Wars. In 1806, Napoleon issued the series of Berlin Decrees, which brought into effect the Continental System; this policy aimed to eliminate the threat from the British by closing French-controlled territory to foreign trade. The British Army remained a minimal threat to France. Although the Royal Navy disrupted France's extra-continental trade—both by seizing and threatening French shipping and by seizing French colonial possessions—it could do nothing about France's trade with the major continental economies and posed little threat to French territory in Europe. France's population and agricultural capacity far outstripped that of the British Isles, but it was smaller in terms of industry, mercantile marine and naval strength.
Napoleon expected that cutting Britain off from the European mainland would end its economic hegemony. On the contrary Britain possessed the greatest industrial capacity in the world, its mastery of the seas allowed it to build up considerable economic strength through trade to its possessions and the United States; the Spanish uprising in 1808 at last permitted Britain to gain a foothold on the Continent. The Duke of Wellington pushed the French out of Spain, in early 1814, as Napoleon was being driven back in the east by the Prussians and Russians, Wellington invaded southern France. After Napoleon's surrender and exile to the island of Elba, peace appeared to have returned. Napoleon reappeared in 1815; the Allies united and the armies of Wellington and Blücher defeated Napoleon once and for all at Waterloo. To defeat France, Britain put heavy pressure on the Americans
Three halfpence (English coin)
The English three halfpence, a silver coin worth 1 1⁄2d, was introduced in Elizabeth I of England's third and fourth coinages as part of a plan to produce large quantities of coins of varying denominations and high silver content. The obverse shows a left-facing bust of the queen, with a rose behind her, with the legend E D G ROSA SINE SPINA – Elizabeth by the grace of God a rose without a thorn – while the reverse shows the royal arms with the date above the arms and a mintmark at the beginning of the legend CIVITAS LONDON – City of London, the Tower Mint; the three-halfpence coin resembles the English Three Farthing coin and the Threepence coin, which differed only in the diameter. This is 16 millimetres in an unclipped coin, compared to 14 mm for the three-farthings, 19 mm for the three pence. No three-halfpences were produced after 1582 because under both James I and Charles I large quantities of halfpennies and farthings were produced. Three halfpence, a 19th century coin
The British Empire comprised the dominions, protectorates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23% of the world population at the time, by 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km2, 24% of the Earth's total land area; as a result, its political, legal and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories. During the Age of Discovery in the 15th and 16th centuries and Spain pioneered European exploration of the globe, in the process established large overseas empires.
Envious of the great wealth these empires generated, England and the Netherlands began to establish colonies and trade networks of their own in the Americas and Asia. A series of wars in the 17th and 18th centuries with the Netherlands and France left England and following union between England and Scotland in 1707, Great Britain, the dominant colonial power in North America, it became the dominant power in the Indian subcontinent after the East India Company's conquest of Mughal Bengal at the Battle of Plassey in 1757. The independence of the Thirteen Colonies in North America in 1783 after the American War of Independence caused Britain to lose some of its oldest and most populous colonies. British attention soon turned towards Asia and the Pacific. After the defeat of France in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, Britain emerged as the principal naval and imperial power of the 19th century. Unchallenged at sea, British dominance was described as Pax Britannica, a period of relative peace in Europe and the world during which the British Empire became the global hegemon and adopted the role of global policeman.
In the early 19th century, the Industrial Revolution began to transform Britain. The British Empire expanded to include most of India, large parts of Africa and many other territories throughout the world. Alongside the formal control that Britain exerted over its own colonies, its dominance of much of world trade meant that it controlled the economies of many regions, such as Asia and Latin America. During the 19th century, Britain's population increased at a dramatic rate, accompanied by rapid urbanisation, which caused significant social and economic stresses. To seek new markets and sources of raw materials, the British government under Benjamin Disraeli initiated a period of imperial expansion in Egypt, South Africa, elsewhere. Canada and New Zealand became self-governing dominions. By the start of the 20th century and the United States had begun to challenge Britain's economic lead. Subsequent military and economic tensions between Britain and Germany were major causes of the First World War, during which Britain relied upon its empire.
The conflict placed enormous strain on the military and manpower resources of Britain. Although the British Empire achieved its largest territorial extent after World War I, Britain was no longer the world's pre-eminent industrial or military power. In the Second World War, Britain's colonies in East and Southeast Asia were occupied by Japan. Despite the final victory of Britain and its allies, the damage to British prestige helped to accelerate the decline of the empire. India, Britain's most valuable and populous possession, achieved independence as part of a larger decolonisation movement in which Britain granted independence to most territories of the empire; the Suez Crisis confirmed Britain's decline as a global power. The transfer of Hong Kong to China in 1997 marked for many the end of the British Empire. Fourteen overseas territories remain under British sovereignty. After independence, many former British colonies joined the Commonwealth of Nations, a free association of independent states.
The United Kingdom is now one of 16 Commonwealth nations, a grouping known informally as the Commonwealth realms, that share a monarch Queen Elizabeth II. The foundations of the British Empire were laid when Scotland were separate kingdoms. In 1496, King Henry VII of England, following the successes of Spain and Portugal in overseas exploration, commissioned John Cabot to lead a voyage to discover a route to Asia via the North Atlantic. Cabot sailed in 1497, five years after the European discovery of America, but he made landfall on the coast of Newfoundland, mistakenly believing that he had reached Asia, there was no attempt to found a colony. Cabot led another voyage to the Americas the following year but nothing was heard of his ships again. No further attempts to establish English colonies in the Americas were made until well into the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, during the last decades of the 16th century. In the meantime, the 1533 Statute in Restraint of Appeals had declared "that this realm of England is an Empire".
The subsequent Protestant Reformation turned Catholic Spain into implacable enemies. In 1562, the English Crown encouraged the privateers John Hawkins and Francis Drake to engage in slave-raiding attacks against Spanish and Portuguese ships off the coast of West Africa with the aim of breaking into the Atlantic slave tr
Crown (British coin)
The British crown, the successor to the English crown and the Scottish dollar, came into being with the Union of the kingdoms of England and Scotland in 1707. As with the English coin, its value was five shillings. Always a heavy silver coin weighing around one ounce, during the 19th and 20th centuries the crown declined from being a real means of exchange to being a coin spent and minted for commemorative purposes only. In that format it has continued to be minted following decimalisation of the British currency in 1971. However, as the result of inflation the value of the coin was revised upwards in 1990 to five pounds; the coin's origins lay in the English silver crown, one of many silver coins that appeared in various countries from the 16th century onwards, the most famous example being the famous Spanish pieces of eight, all of which were of a similar size and weight and thus interchangeable in international trade. The kingdom of England minted gold Crowns in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The dies for all gold and silver coins of Queen Anne and King George I were engraved by John Croker, a migrant from Dresden in the Duchy of Saxony. The British crown was always a large coin, from the 19th century it did not circulate well. However, crowns were struck in a new monarch's coronation year, true of each monarch since King George IV up until the present monarch in 1953, with the single exception of King George V; the Queen Victoria "Gothic" crown of 1847 is considered by many to be the most beautiful British coin minted. The King George V "wreath" crowns struck from 1927 through 1936 depict a wreath on the reverse of the coin and were struck in low numbers. Struck late in the year and intended to be purchased as Christmas gifts, they did not circulate well, with the rarest of all dates, 1934, now fetching several thousand pounds each; the 1927 "wreath" crowns were struck as proofs only. With its large size, many of the coins were commemoratives; the 1951 issue was for the Festival of Britain, was only struck in proof condition.
The 1953 crown was issued to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, while the 1960 issue commemorated the British Exhibition in New York. The 1965 issue carried the image of Winston Churchill on the reverse, the first time a non-monarch or commoner was placed on a British coin, marked his death. According to the Standard Catalogue of coins, 19,640,000 of this coin were minted, a high number at the time, making them of little value today except as a mark of respect for the national war leader. Production of the Churchill Crown began on 11 October 1965, stopped in the summer of 1966; the crown was worth five shillings until decimalisation in February 1971. The last five shilling piece was minted in 1965; the crown coin was nicknamed the dollar, but is not to be confused with the British trade dollar that circulated in the Orient. In 2014, a new world record price was achieved for a milled silver crown; the coin was issued as a pattern by engraver Thomas Simon in 1663 and nicknamed the "Reddite Crown".
This was presented to Charles II as the new crown piece but was rejected in favour of the Roettiers Brothers' design. Auctioneers Spink & Son of London sold the coin on 27 March 2014 for £396,000 including commission. After decimalisation on 15 February 1971, a new coin known as a 25p piece was introduced. Whilst being legal tender, having the same decimal value as a crown, the 25p pieces were issued to commemorate events, such as: the 1972 piece was for the Silver Wedding anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. All of these issues were struck in large mintages, in plastic cases, in cupro-nickel, an alloy of 75% copper and 25% nickel. However, in addition to this, limited numbers of collectors' coins of these modern issues were struck to proof quality separately by the Royal Mint in sterling silver and presented with certificates of authenticity in boxes; the mintages for the silver proof 25p coins issued are as follows: 1972: 100,000 1977: 377,000 1980: 83,672 1981: 218,142Further issues continue to be minted to the present day with a value of twenty-five pence, from 1990, with a value of five pounds.
The legal tender value of the crown remained as five shillings from 1544 to 1965. However, for most of this period there was no denominational designation or "face value" mark of value displayed on the coin. From 1927 to 1939, the word "CROWN" appears, from 1951 to 1960 this was changed to "FIVE SHILLINGS". After decimalisation in 1971, the face value kept its five shillings equivalent at 25 new pence simply 25 pence, although the face value is not shown on any of these issues. From 1990, the crown was re-tariffed at five pounds in view of its large size compared with its face value, taking into consideration its production costs, the Royal Mint's profits on sales of commemorative coins. While this change was understandable, it has brought with it a slight confusion, the popular misbelief that all crowns have a five-pound face value, i
Third guinea (British coin)
A seven shilling piece was introduced in Great Britain by a proclamation of 29 November 1797. It has been called a guinea being worth 21 shillings; the gold coin was minted only in the reign of George III. When it was introduced in 1797, during the French Revolutionary wars, the financial situation at the Bank of England was precarious: gold was in short supply and banknotes were given legal tender status in any amount. In order to pay the Bank's dividends it was decided to produce what at the time was known as seven-shilling pieces, with odd amounts of the dividend being paid in silver coins. A total of £315,000 worth of coins was authorised in October 1797; the denomination was struck each year until 1813, with the exception of 1805, 1807, 1812. Between 1800 and 1812 third and half guineas were the only gold coins issued; the coin was 17 millimetres in diameter with a milled edge. The design of the reverse changed in 1801 following the union of the parliaments of Great Britain and Ireland, when the king relinquished his claim to the French throne.
There were two obverses used, with different portraits of the king, with the legend GEORGIVS III DEI GRATIA. The design of the reverse was a crown, with the legend MAG BRI FR ET HIB REX date or FIDEI DEFENSOR BRITANNIARUM REX date. British Coins forum