The Coins of the National Museum of Ireland | Silver Coins

The Coins of the National Museum of Ireland

As a frequent visitor to Dublin, I realized early on that this fantastic city certainly has its share of culture, activities and attractions, especially in the form of Museums. There are Museums to suit every taste from life style and history, music and art – of each and every conceivable nature. Just put, it’s a haven for culture-vultures.

Whilst organizing my final visit to Dublin, one thing had dawned on me, I’ve been to many cities in Europe and America and had the opportunity to either evaluation or just “view” some very impressive and effectively-displayed coin collections belonging either to the nation or private institutions… except Ireland’s personal collection. So, with the subsequent feasible chance, I was going to remedy that.

In the course of my go to to County Wexford via Dublin for the launch of the Central Bank of Ireland’s Kennedy anniversary coins, I took this opportunity to arrange and do just what I had missed on all prior visits – view the Irish national numismatic collection. To commence with, the National Museum of Ireland is collectively situated in 3 separate areas in Dublin alone and an additional location in County Mayo. In order to decide which location you will require to go, it is a swift search for your interest on their extremely comprehensive site, (

museum-1A view of the exterior of Collins Barracks, the primary entrance is by way of the arch.

museum-2The courtyard of the Barracks, one particular of the biggest complexes of its kind in Europe.

The numismatic collection is housed in the Collins Barracks location, just off Benburb Street and, if you avail your self of Dublin’s LUAS tram, you will in fact quit appropriate outdoors the Barracks itself. The 1st point you need to have to know or will notice about Collins Barracks is… it is huge! This part of the National museum is a renovated former Army barracks constructed three centuries ago in 1702 and further extended in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Prior to its award winning redevelopment and conservation renovation, the barracks was once the oldest, continuously utilised military complicated in the planet. Given that 1997 it has been the new property to a number of collections. The collections incorporated right here have an emphasis on Decorative Arts &amp History such as Irish haute couture garments, furniture, silver, jewellery, ceramics, exhibitions exploring Irish military history, which includes the 1916 Easter Rising and of course the coins of Ireland.

museum-6aCoins from the Portlington Hoard, a cache of 16th century gold coins discovered between 1946 – 48 in Derryville, County Laois.

museum-2aHoard of gold guineas from Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary just found in January 2013. Reigns range from Charles II to Queen Anne.

An fascinating reality about Irish coins is that they do have a comparable timeline as these of many Scandinavian countries such as Sweden, Norway and Denmark. There are coins on display which can be dated to the extremely last years of the initial millennium, about 998 and correct up to the most recent coins denominated in Euro. The collections are displayed in effectively-lit, welcoming and spacious surroundings. As you enter the complex exactly where the collection is housed, you are met with a actual piece of Irish numismatic history, the very plaster mould which Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovich (1883-1962) submitted to the Irish coinage committee in 1927 but, as the story goes, the model arrived as well late for consideration. This lovely depiction of an allegorical female figure with harp most most likely would have been utilized for the typical reverse sides of Irish national coinage – and as it turned out, the design was adopted and used as the wonderful seal of the Central Bank in 1965. This extraordinary object of numismatic art ultimately did make its way onto an Irish coin (as had been intended) in 2007 when a silver commemorative coin was issued for collectors. One more room which is part of the collection consists of an extensive collection of Irish and world medals, which includes an actual gold Nobel Prize medal.

museum-5aImpressive selection of medals covering pre and post-independence, the subjects are wide ranging.

museum-7a“Gun Money..?” No, just a display to illustrate the wages of a soldier in the mid-17th century!

The coins of course trace Ireland’s instances of troubles &amp conflicts as well as immense prosperity. As you tour Dublin for the initial time, you clearly see evidence of wonderful wealth in nearly every corner, as Dublin was when deemed the second city as far as commerce was concerned, in the entire of the British Empire. Opulent &amp ornate buildings and monuments serve as testament to Ireland’s impressive contribution to carving out an economy primarily based on agriculture ahead of and right after the industrial revolution. In the course of a substantial period of the country’s history, considerably of the coins which circulated in Ireland were from England but, there were a lot of coins, now incredibly rare right now that were utilized for the duration of some instances of unrest or when common coining material such as gold, silver or copper was in quick supply. The national collection includes many pieces of the coins issued below King Henry VIII, Mary I and Elizabeth I. Henry’s Groat or silver 4 pence is on show as effectively as Mary’s &amp Elizabeth’s shillings – all carrying the now familiar harp on the reverse of the coins – a tradition which continues to this day. Throughout the period of the Fantastic Rebellion in Ireland and the English Civil War a number of crudely created coins were produced in Ireland, mostly in Dublin. These coins had been almost exclusively of silver plate reduce and struck into a quantity of denominations with straightforward patterns which typically integrated their weight or value in their design and style. Of interest is a show of “Blacksmith’s money” which was minted for the duration of the Cromwell era. Included is an excellent instance of a Kilkenny half-crown based on the English coin of the very same denomination – the differences could not be far more startling! One more fascinating inclusion is that of the Ormond pieces, issued by the Lord Justice the Earl of Ormond in about 1642-1645.

museum-1aHenry VIII’s silver Groat of four pence is displayed depicting the harp on the reverse.

museum-4Exceptional examples of coins issued by the Earl of Ormond, 1642-45.

Untitled-2“Blacksmith’s money” coins primarily based on styles of the coinage of Charles II – issued 1642-44.

Amongst the rarer troubles of this period are the pistole and double pistole of 1646 which have been for centuries, the only gold coins struck in Ireland. The museum’s own examples of these extremely rare coins take pride of location in a central display. Showing their weights in pennyweight, the one pistole is struck as 4 (pennyweight and) 7 (grains) although the double pistole is clearly marked as 8 (pennyweight and) 14 (grains)

museum-5The collection’s one particular &amp two gold “pistole” coins minted in 1646 are prominently displayed. Their denominations appear on the one particular side, the two pistole coin is exceptionally uncommon.

An superb display of Irish banknotes is also assembled with a complete collection from these earliest Bank of Ireland troubles correct up to the final Punt notes which had been replaced by the adoption of the Euro in 2002. Some of Ireland’s most nicely-recognized and loved banknotes or promissory notes are the “Ploughman” series, (1929-1953) issued by Ireland’s Currency Commission. As the greater value notes are usually only noticed these days in either higher-finish auctions or are luckily incorporated in collections such as the National Museum’s. The renowned “Lady Lavery” series is also integrated as is the final two circulating series. Several of the notes are Specimens and can be viewed from each sides as the notes are encased in glass and displayed on hinged panels.

Irish BanknotesComplete series of Irish banknotes are on show, pre and post decimal sets: Series “A”, (1928-1977) “Ploughman” series (1929-1953) Series “B” (1976-1993) Series “C” (1993-2001)

A section of pre-decimal, post-decimal and Euro-era coins are also on show. The pre-decimal show is specifically fascinating as it includes some of the original plaster models of the styles 1st considered when Ireland first accomplished independence. The 1st coins of the Irish state have been initial introduced in 1928, six years soon after the Republic’s sovereignty was recognized by Excellent Britain. The iconic “barnyard” series so immediately recognized and at some point selected by the Irish coin commission was the perform of Percy Metcalfe and incorporated the very same sterling denominations as the coins which were replaced. The plaster molds on show show a quite diverse series of coins which may possibly have been with numerous allegorical and historically primarily based recommendations on show.

plaster-mouldsExquisite original plaster molds of proposed coin designs that may possibly have been…

metcalfeResin models of the coin styles adopted in 1928 – the designs are the operate of Percy Metcalfe.

For modern day coin collectors, there is an up-to-date show of the newest gold and silver coins issued by the Central Bank, (many launches covered correct here!) As I study by way of my post, I realize there are so numerous other items and displays I haven’t talked about – it basically isn’t feasible to do justice to the complete collection in one particular report or even 1 check out but, I’ve attempted to feature some of the highlights I encountered. The curators have taken particular attention to highlight just about each chapter in Ireland’s history which is chronicled in its coins and they have done a really admirable job. Currently the Museum is experiencing a budgetary shortage as are many state funded institutions in numerous Euro-zone countries. All of Ireland’s museums are taking benefit of the nationally sponsored “Gathering” initiative which was launched by the Government’s cultural and tourist authorities to attract visitors to their shores – which is a actual pleasure to do so for any cause. While admission to this and all collections is absolutely free, if you do check out whilst you are in Dublin, do make a point of leaving a small donation which goes to the running fees.

For far more data on opening times and any specific exhibitions underway, please check out the website of the National Museum at:  Incidentally, if you get there in time for lunch, there is an superb café within the museum (ground floor level facing the courtyard) which means you can take your time and view the several other collections on-site.

I would like to thank Jennifer Goff, senior Curator and a special thanks to Michael Kenny, former Curator of the National Museum’s numismatic collection for his type help and for creating my tour so enjoyable, it is extremely a lot appreciated!

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