Pre Decimal Coins

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The predecimal coin of six pence was smaller than the threepence coin, but double its value. A sixpence is the equivalent of 1/40 of a Pound Sterling. The sixpence coin was also called a ‘tanner’. The 6d piece weighs 2.83 grams and measures 19.41mm across. It was the lightest and smallest of the pre-decimal coins in use after WWII. PRE DECIMAL COINS FROM EDWARD VII TO ELIZABETH II INCLUDING 1937 SIXPENCE. 0 bids Ending Saturday at 2:52PM GMT 4d 12h. Pre Decimal British Half Penny Coins joblot. 0 bids Ending Wednesday at.

  1. Irish Pre Decimal Coins
  2. Pre Decimal Coins Worth
  3. Pre Decimal English Coins

There have been three sets of coins in Ireland since independence. In all three, the coin showed a Celtic harp on the obverse. The pre-decimal coins of the Irish pound had realistic animals on the reverse; the decimal coins retained some of these but featured ornamental birds on the lower denominations; and the euro coins used the common design of the euro currencies. The pre-decimal and original decimal coins were of the same dimensions as the same-denomination British coins, as the Irish pound was in currency union with the British pound sterling. British coins were widely accepted in Ireland, and conversely to a lesser extent. In 1979 Ireland joined the Exchange Rate Mechanism and the Irish pound left parity with sterling; coin designs introduced after this differed between the two countries.


The first coins minted in Ireland were produced in about 995 AD in Dublin for King Sitric, the Hiberno-NorseKing of Dublin. These penny coins bore the head and name of the king and the word Dyflin for Dublin. John of England was among the first Anglo-Normanmonarchs to mint coins in Ireland; these were farthings, halfpennies and pennies. It was not until the reign of Henry VIII that Irish coins bore the harp and, later in Henry's reign, the year. In the following centuries gold, silver and copper coins were issued, and at one time, metal from melted-down gun barrels was used; this was called 'gun money'. Coins issued in the 18th and 19th centuries often included the word Hibernia on the harp side. The last Irish coins issued prior to independence were during the reign of George IV, in 1823. Irish coins were withdrawn in 1826 following the full political union of Ireland and Britain in the 1800 Act of Union. Occasional 'fantasy' coins were minted in the next century but these were neither circulated nor legal tender.

The Irish Free State decided soon after its foundation in the 1920s to design its own coins and banknotes. It was decided that the Irish currency would be pegged to the pound sterling. The Coinage Act, 1926[1] was passed as a legislative basis for the minting of coins for the state and these new coins commenced circulation on 12 December 1928.

As is common with numismaticterminology the side of the seal of the state is termed the 'obverse'; this is often called the common side; the 'reverse' is the side with the denomination specific design.

Coins are issued by the central bank which acts as an agent of the Minister for Finance.

The pound[edit]

Pre-decimal coins[edit]

Shilling coins featured a bull design. They continued to be used after decimalisation as five pence until the early 1990s when the 5p coin was reduced in size.

In the early 1920s, the Irish government created a committee headed by SenatorW. B. Yeats to determine designs suitable for the coins. The committee members were Thomas Bodkin, Dermot O'Brien, Lucius O'Callaghan and Barry Egan.

Some decisions were made at the outset. The harp was to be on most if not all coins, and all lettering would be in Irish. The committee decided that people associated with 'the present time' should not feature in any designs, no doubt[citation needed] due to the political divisions which had led to the Irish Civil War. They decided later that religious or cultural themes should be avoided in case coins became relics or medals. Agriculture was essential to the economy of Ireland and this theme was chosen for the coins, which used designs featuring animals and birds.

There are 256 pre decimal coin for sale on Etsy, and they cost $188.89 on average. The most common pre decimal coin material is metal. The most popular color? This time, it’s all about the coins. Or, more precisely, the denominations of British coinage produced at the Royal Mint. February 15, 1971 was the official changeover from pre-decimal to decimal. Silver pre-decimal coins were minted from 1910 to 1963, while bronze pennies and half pennies can be found with dates from 1911 to 1964. The period of Australian pre decimal coinage saw coins minted in Australian branches of the Royal Mint in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth.

Finally, the harp and the words Saorstát Éireann ('Irish Free State') were chosen for the obverse side of coins. Images of animals and birds were presented to the chosen artists to design the reverse and they were also given pictures of the Dalway harp and Trinity College harp for guidance. Later, the Minister for Finance decided that the value of the coins should be written in numerals as well as in words, and he suggested using plants; this latter suggestion was rejected because the competition was at an advanced stage and due to the difficulty of obtaining good facsimiles of plants.

Three Irish artists Jerome Connor, Albert Power and Oliver Sheppard were chosen, and also the foreign artists Paul Manship (American), Percy Metcalfe (English) Carl Milles (Swedish) and Publio Morbiducci (Italian); a number of other artists were invited but did not take part. Each artist was paid and allowed to produce designs in plaster or metal, with a prize for the winner. Identifying marks were removed from the designs so the committee did not know whose designs were being judged. Percy Metcalfe's designs were chosen and design modifications were added with assistance from civil servants at the Department of Agriculture.

The first coins were struck in 1928 and were minted at the Royal Mint in London. In 1938, following the introduction of the Constitution of Ireland, the obverse of the coins was modified with the Irish language name of the State, 'Éire', and the harp was also modified so that it wore better. The Central Bank Act, 1942 Section 58[2] allowed pure nickel to be substituted with a cupro-nickelalloy. The description of the state as the 'Republic of Ireland' did not require any change in the name on coins issued after 1948. The Coinage Act, 1950[3] changed the law on coinage principally with the removal of silver from coins then in existence. The final piece of primary legislation for predecimal coins was the Coinage (Amendment) Act, 1966[4] which allowed for a ten shilling coin to be minted and circulated. The ten shilling was the only modern circulating Irish coin not to feature the harp, to incorporate edge lettering, and to depict an actual Irishman (Pádraig Pearse), and to depict a political subject (Pearse was an Irish revolutionary and the edge lettering referred to the 1916 Easter Rising).

While many of the Irish coins are common, particularly in lower grades, there are some notable rarities. Most of the 1943 Florins and Half Crowns were melted down at the mint, and only small numbers were released. Only one and two specimens, respectively, are known of the 1938 Half Crown and Penny.[5]

Summary: Pre-decimal coins
English nameIrish nameNumeral[n 1]ReverseIntroductionWithdrawal£1 fractionPence value
FarthingFeoirling14dWoodcock12 December 19281 January 1962196014
HalfpennyLeathphingin12dSow and farrow12 December 19281 August 1969148012
PennyPingin1dHen and chickens12 December 19281 January 197212401
ThreepenceLeath reul[n 2]3dIrish hare12 December 19281 January 19721803
SixpenceReul[n 2]6dWolfhound12 December 19281 January 19721406
ShillingScilling1sBull12 December 19281 January 199312012
FlorinFlóirín2sSalmon12 December 19281 June 199411024
Half crownLeath choróin212sHorse12 December 19281 January 19701830
Ten shillingsDeich scilling10sDeath of Cú Chulainn12 April 196610 February 200212120
  1. ^Irish coins used d as the abbreviation for pence, from the Latin denarius. This is in contrast to contemporary stamps, which used the abbreviation p from the Irish pingin.
  2. ^ abThe word reul (alternatively written réal) comes from the Spanish real, which in earlier centuries circulated widely in Ireland with a value of sixpence.[6]

Decimal coins[edit]

The ten pence piece featured a salmon, as the florin had previously. The redesigned smaller 10p of the 1990s is shown on the right.

Three new designs were created in bronze for the new decimal currency by the artist Gabriel Hayes, and were based upon manuscript designs of ornamental birds in Celtic knotwork style. The designs of Percy Metcalfe were retained for the new five and ten pence coins, taken from the shilling and florin, respectively. The new fifty pence piece bore the image of the woodcock from the old farthing. The designs were quite simple using only figures and symbols to indicate the value; using only the letter 'P' to denote both penny and pingin (the Irish word for penny).

In 1978, the Central Bank of Ireland opened the Currency Centre at Sandyford in Dublin for the production of coins and banknotes. Irish coins had previously been produced in Great Britain at the Royal Mint.

The rising expense of minting coins necessitated the introduction of the twenty pence coin in 1986; the halfpenny coin was withdrawn at this time as inflation had reduced its buying power. The introduction of the Irish pound coin required the Decimal Currency Act, 1990.[7] These ECU coins were issued in 50 ECU, 10 ECU and 5 ECU denominations, in gold, silver and silver respectively. These coins used the Irish red deer design from the Irish pound coin with a mountain relief in the background and other notable differences such as the 12 stars of the European Flag surrounding the harp, quite similar to the Irish euro coins.

The coins issued under the Decimal Currency Acts were finally withdrawn from circulation in 2002 by the Irish Pound Coinage (Calling In) (No. 2) Order, 2001[8] which revoked an earlier similar order; the date was set for 10 February 2002.

Summary: Decimal coins
English nameIrish nameValue in euroNumeralDiameterThicknessReverseIntroductionWithdrawal£1 fraction
HalfpennyLeathphingin€0.006312p17.14 mm1 mmOrnamental bird15 February 19711 January 19851200
PennyPingin€0.01271p20.32 mm1.65 mm (1.52 mm before 1990)Ornamental bird15 February 197110 February 20021100
Two penceDhá phingin€0.02542p25.91 mm2.03 mm (1.85mm before 1990)Ornamental bird15 February 197110 February 2002150
Five penceCúig phingin€0.06355p18.5 mm (23.59mm before 1993)Bull8 September 196910 February 2002120
Ten penceDeich bpingin€0.12710p22.0 mm (28.5mm before 1993)Salmon8 September 196910 February 2002110
Twenty penceFiche pingin€0.253920p27.1 mmIrish Hunter30 October 198610 February 200215
Fifty penceCaoga pingin€0.634950p30.0 mm3.15 mmWoodcock17 February 197010 February 200212
One PoundPunt€1.2697£131.11 mm1.90 mmRed deer stag20 June 199010 February 20021

The euro[edit]

The introduction of the euro was overseen by the Euro Changeover Board of Ireland which was a special agency created on May 5, 1998 by the Minister for Finance; this agency provided a wide variety of information including converters, training packs, images and public advertisements on a wide range of media to ensure a successful transfer. As with all eurozone countries, Ireland continued to mint its own coins after the currency changeover to the euro. One side of euro coins is common across the eurozone, it is the obverse which has a design unique to Ireland. Although some other countries used more than one design, or even a separate design for each of the eight coins (1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1 and €2), Ireland used only one design. A redesigned harp (superficially identical to that used on earlier coins) was used, having been designed by Jarlath Hayes. Some other eurozone members have unique lettering around the €2 coin. The edge on Irish €2 coins merely has the sequence ', repeated three times.

The first collectors' commemorative coin issued since the changeover was a €10 silver coin to mark the Special Olympics in 2003. This was struck in sterling .925 silver and hand finished to create a distinctive gold logo and harp. A €5 coin was also produced. Since then a number of commemorative coins have been issued including one for the accession of the ten new European Union member states on 1 May 2004. One side of the €10 coin depicts a swan sitting on ten eggs, with the reverse depicting the harp and the names of all ten members in their native language. The first gold coin ever issued by the Central Bank was a €20 issued in 2006 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Samuel Beckett. These commemorative coins are only legal tender in Ireland, and are not valid elsewhere in the eurozone.

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In 2007, Ireland issued a €2 common coin for general circulation, together with the others countries of the Eurozone, commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Treaty of Rome followed by a €2 common commemorative coin in 2009 celebrating the tenth anniversary of the birth of the euro currency in 1999, by another €2 common commemorative coin in 2012 for the tenth anniversary of the introduction of coins and banknotes denominated in euro and, finally, by another €2 common commemorative dedicated to the thirtieth anniversary of the European Flag in 2015. For the first time since it adopted the euro, Ireland will issue on its own, in 2016, a €2 commemorative coin in honour of the hundredth anniversary of the Easter Rising in 1916.

In 2013 the Central Bank of Ireland issued a silver €10 commemorative coin in honour of James Joyce that misquoted a famous line from his masterwork Ulysses[9] despite being warned on at least two occasions by the Department of Finance over difficulties with copyright and design.[10]

All pre-euro Irish coins may be exchanged for their equivalent in euro any weekday morning at the Central Bank in Dublin.

See also[edit]


  1. ^Coinage Act, 1926
  2. ^Central Bank Act, 1942
  3. ^Coinage Act, 1950
  4. ^Coinage (Amendment) Act, 1966
  5. ^Catalogue of Irish Coin Prices Modern Coins 1928-1969
  6. ^'Proof Sixpence - 1950'. Irish Coinage. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  7. ^Decimal Currency Act, 1990
  8. ^S.I. No. 311/2001—Irish Pound Coinage (Calling In) Order, 2001
  9. ^'Error in Ulysses line on special €10 coin issued by Central Bank'. RTÉ News. 10 April 2013.
  10. ^'Bank alerted to Joyce coin risk'. Evening Herald. 25 May 2013.


  • 'Coinage of Saorstát Éireann', William Butler Yeats, The Stationery Office, Dublin, 1928.
  • 'The Irish Coinage Designs', Thomas Bodkin DLitt, Metropolitan School of Art, Dublin, November 30, 1928.

External links[edit]

Retrieved from ''

Pre-Decimal Silver Coin Valuation Calculator

Calculate the value of your pre-1947 silver coins today and sell them online.

The Britannia Coin Company is a UK's leading online coin buyer. That means we buy a lot of pre-1947 silver coins. But what's so special about silver coins minted before 1947? And how do you know what your silver coins are worth? Our Pre-Decimal Silver Coin Valuation Calculator can help.

Pre-Decimal Silver Coins Explained

Have you ever wondered what your old loose change is worth? If your coins were minted before 1947, it might be more than you think. In the past, British coins were made of precious metals like gold and silver. This means that old money can be worth much more than its face value.

For centuries, the Royal Mint made their silver coins from sterling silver: an alloy containing 92.5% pure silver. From 1920 the amount of silver in British coins was reduced to 50%. The silver content was entirely removed from 1947 and coins were instead made of silver-coloured cupronickel.

If you have Crowns, Half-Crowns, Florins, Shillings, Sixpences, or Three Penny Pieces with a pre-1947 date on them, they likely contain a significant amount of silver. Regardless of the condition of your coins, their silver content makes them valuable and we're eager to buy them from you.

The History of British Silver Coins

Silver coins were part of British currency for more than two millennia. If you're thinking of selling your silver coins, it's important to understand their history. When your coins were minted can tell you how much pure silver they contain and, therefore, how much they are worth.

  • 1154
    Henry II becomes King of England. During his reign, earlier pure silver coins would be replaced with stronger sterling silver coins, made of 97.5% silver and 7.5% copper.
  • 1551
    Tudor King Edward VI increases the fineness of his silver coins after decades of debasement. Britain would return to the sterling standard under his sister Mary I.
  • 1816
    Britain has won the Napoleonic Wars at enormous cost. Economic stability is achieved through re-coinage, which establishes a standard weight-value ratio for silver coins.
  • 1920
    The silver content in British coins is reduced from 92.5% to 50%, in response to a rise in the price of silver bullion. The remaining weight is made up of copper and nickel.
  • 1947
    Silver is needed to repay the USA for debts incurred during World War Two. The metal is removed from British coins altogether and replaced with silver-coloured cupronickel.
  • 1971
    Decimalisation: the Shilling and Sixpence are abolished and new 5p, 10p and 50p coins are introduced. The Crown, Half-Crown and Florin had already ceased to be minted.
  • 1992
    New decimal coins are initially minted in the same size as older silver coins. In 1992, more convenient smaller coins are introduced. It’s these that you’ll find in your change today.

Value Your Pre-Decimal Silver Coins

At the Britannia Coin Company, we want to make selling your pre-1947 silver coins simple. We also want to offer you the best price. Our online Pre-Decimal Silver Coin Value Calculator means you can get a quick and accurate valuation from your sofa. We make selling your silver coins fuss-free.

Our valuations are based on the weight of your silver coins. If you've got a set of scales, all you need to do is sort your coins by date, weigh them, and input the figure into our calculator. Make sure you separate pre-1920 and pre-1947 coins and select the correct coin era for an accurate price.

Our Pre-Decimal Silver Coin Value Calculator will generate an instant quote, based on live silver price per gram rates. It's straightforward, fair, and guarantees you an up to the minute valuation, based on the markets. When you have the value, simply click 'Add' to proceed to checkout. It's that simple.

Get The Best Price For Your Pre-1947 Silver Coins

How do you know you're getting a good deal from the Britannia Coin Company? We make it easy to compare our price with your local coin dealer. If they can offer a better price, our Pre-Decimal Silver Coin Value Calculator will tell you. That way, you can make an informed decision.

If you're shopping around, you'll often find prices based on multiples of the same face value. For instance, you might be quoted a price for eight pre-1947 Shillings or twenty pre-1920 Sixpences. As our valuations are based on weight, making a direct comparison might seem difficult.

If you want to compare our prices with another deal, use the 'Calculate by Face Value' and 'Calculate by Denomination' tabs to compare like for like. Our tool means you can make an unbiased comparison. We're confident our prices are competitive but it pays to do your research.

Calculate Pre-1947 Silver Coin Weight

Our calculator works best when you know the weight of your Pre-1947 coins. Simply weigh, enter the figure and go. But what if you don't have a set of scales? No problem. You can still estimate the weight of your silver coins because each type of coin has a standard weight.

Pre-decimal Silver CoinWeight
Crown28.28 grams
Half-Crown14.14 grams
Florin11.31 grams
Shilling5.65 grams
Sixpence (6d)2.83 grams
Three pence (3d)1.4 grams

Coins wear down over the years, so old silver coins may weigh a little less than when they were first minted. Still, if you know the standard, fresh off the press weight, you can make a calculation to figure out the approximate total weight of your silver coins. Here's how:

  1. If you have coins from before 1920 and after, separate them into two piles: one for 1919 and earlier and another for 1920 to 1946.
  2. Sort your coins by denomination: make piles for Crowns, Half-Crowns, Florins, Shillings, Sixpences and Three Penny Pieces if you have them.
  3. With each of these smaller piles, times the number of coins by the weight listed in the table above. So, if you have twelve Florins, calculate 12 x 11.31.
  4. Repeat this process for each denomination then add all the totals together to get the total weight of your silver coins.
  5. Input that figure into our Pre-Decimal Silver Coin Value Calculator, making separate valuations for your pre-1920 and pre-1947 coins. Simple as that.

Irish Pre Decimal Coins

Find The Face Value of Pre-Decimal Coins

If you want a price based on the face value of your silver coins, simply switch to the 'Calculate by Face Value' tab. This will give you the option to input the stated value of your silver coins in Pounds, Shillings and Pence. Not confident using old money? Don't worry. Here's what to do:

Pre Decimal Coins Worth

  1. Separate your pre-1920 silver coins from those dated 1920-1946 then sort by denomination.
  2. Starting with the highest denomination, sort your coins into £1 piles, checking the table below to see how many of each coin make a Pound.
  3. When you don't have sufficient coins left to make a Pound, count up how many Shillings your coins can make – it should be 19 or less.
  4. When you no longer have enough coins to make a Shilling, count up how many Three Penny Pieces you have left – there should be no more than three.
  5. Voila! The number of Pounds, Shillings and Pence your collection divides into gives you the total. Input this into the Pre-Decimal Silver Coin Value Calculator for a price.
Pre-decimal Silver CoinsNumber in PoundNumber in Shilling
Sixpence (6d)402
Threepence (3d)804

A Clear Price For Pre-Decimal Coins

Pre Decimal English Coins

Is this making your head spin? That's alright. You can also calculate the value of your pre-1947 silver coins by denomination. Simply sort your coins by type, switch to the 'Calculate by Denomination' tab, and enter the number you have of each. No need to worry about old money maths!

Whichever method you use, you still need to make separate calculations based on the age of your coins. Pre-1920 silver coins are worth more than those made between 1920 and 1947, so remember to check the date and select the right time period for an accurate valuation.

Still confused? Just get in touch. We're happy to answer your questions by phone, email or chat. Our staff have decades of experience buying and selling coins and we're pleased to explain any part of the process to you. Drop us a line and we'll help you get a great price for your silver coins.