|Thickness||approx. 1 mm|
|Years of minting||1971–1987|
|Design date||1971 (first use 1928)|
The decimal halfpenny (1⁄2p) (Irish : leathphingin) coin was the smallest denomination of the Irish pound. It was first issued when the Irish currency was decimalised on Decimal Day, 15 February 1971. It was one of three new designs introduced all in bronze and featuring ornamental birds on the reverse. The coin value was weakened by inflation and very few were produced beyond the initial run for 1971. It was removed from circulation and demonetised on 1 January 1987.
Irish is a Goidelic (Gaelic) language originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is spoken as a first language in substantial areas of counties Galway, Kerry, Cork and Donegal, smaller areas of Waterford, Mayo and Meath, and a few other locations, and as a second language by a larger group of non-habitual speakers across the country.
The Irish pound was the currency of Ireland until 2002. Its ISO 4217 code was IEP, and the usual notation was the prefix £. The Irish pound was replaced by the euro on 1 January 1999. Euro currency did not begin circulation until the beginning of 2002.
On 15 February 1971, known as Decimal Day, the United Kingdom and Ireland decimalised their currencies.
The main reason that halfpennies were issued was that when shillings were decimalised they were worth five new pence, so a sixpence (half of a shilling) yielded a value of 2 1⁄2 new pence.
The shilling (1s) coin was a subdivision of the pre-decimal Irish pound, worth 1⁄20 of a pound.
The sixpence coin was a subdivision of the pre-decimal Irish pound, worth 1⁄40 of a pound or 1⁄2 of a shilling. The Irish name (reul) is derived from the Spanish real. In most of the 19th century, 1 pound was equal to 5 dollars, and 1 dollar was equal to 8 reales, therefore a real was equal to 1/40 of a pound, i.e. 6 pence.
Its dimensions and appearance were the same as the British coin of the same denomination as the pounds of Britain and Ireland were pegged until 1979.
The British decimal halfpenny coin was introduced in February 1971, at the time of decimalisation, and was worth one two-hundredth of a pound sterling. It was ignored in banking transactions, which were carried out in units of 1p.
The coin was designed by the Irish artist Gabriel Hayes and the design is adapted from the manuscript Cologne Collectio Canonum (Cologne, Dombibliothek Cod. 213) in Cologne. The coin has a diameter of 1.7145 centimetres and mass of 1.782 grams consisting of copper, tin and zinc.
Gabriel Hayes (1909–1978) was an Irish artist born in Dublin, Ireland. She was a sculptor who studied in Dublin, France, and Italy. Hayes was also an accomplished painter with one of her works "The Cork Bowler" selling at Christies in London in May 2000 for 23,500 stg. Most of her works are in private hands.
Cologne is the largest city of Germany's most populous federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and its 1 million+ (2016) inhabitants make it the fourth most populous city in Germany after Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich. The largest city on the Rhine, it is also the most populous city both of the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Region, which is Germany's largest and one of Europe's major metropolitan areas, and of the Rhineland. Centred on the left bank of the Rhine, Cologne is about 45 kilometres (28 mi) southeast of North Rhine-Westphalia's capital of Düsseldorf and 25 kilometres (16 mi) northwest of Bonn. It is the largest city in the Central Franconian and Ripuarian dialect areas.
The gram is a metric system unit of mass.
The coin was worth 1⁄200 of an Irish pound.
The 1985 version of this coin is particularly rare, and valuable to coin collectors - the vast majority of the 2.8 million were melted in 1987. The 1986 coin was only produced for the 1986 specimen sets and is also rare.
The standard circulating coinage of the United Kingdom is denominated in pounds sterling, and, since the introduction of the two-pound coin in 1994, ranges in value from one penny to two pounds. Since decimalisation, on 15 February 1971, the pound has been divided into 100 (new) pence. From the 16th century until decimalisation, the pound was divided into 20 shillings, each of 12 (old) pence. British coins are minted by the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Wales. The Royal Mint also commissions the coins' designs.
Decimalisation is the conversion of a measurement system to units related by powers of 10, replacing traditional units that are related in other ways, such as those formed by successive doubling or halving, or by more arbitrary conversion factors. Units of physical measurement, such as length and mass, were decimalised with the introduction of the metric system, which has been adopted by almost all countries with the prominent exception of the United States. Thus a kilometre is 1000 metres, while a mile is 1,760 yards. Electrical units are decimalised worldwide. Common units of time remain undecimalised; although an attempt was made during the French revolution, this proved to be unsuccessful and was quickly abandoned.
The British pre-decimal halfpenny coin, usually simply known as a halfpenny, historically occasionally also as the obol, was a unit of currency that equalled half of a penny or 1⁄480 of a pound sterling. Originally the halfpenny was minted in copper, but after 1860 it was minted in bronze. It ceased to be legal tender in 1969, in the run-up to decimalisation. The halfpenny featured two different designs on its reverse during its years in circulation. From 1672 until 1936 the image of Britannia appeared on the reverse, and from 1937 onwards the image of the Golden Hind appeared. Like all British coinage, it bore the portrait of the monarch on the obverse.
£sd is the popular name for the pre-decimal currencies once common throughout Europe, especially in the British Isles and hence in several countries of the British Empire and subsequently the Commonwealth. The abbreviation originates from the Latin currency denominations librae, solidi, and denarii. In the United Kingdom, which was one of the last to abandon the system, these were referred to as pounds, shillings, and pence.
The pound is the currency of Guernsey. Since 1921, Guernsey has been in currency union with the United Kingdom and the Guernsey pound is not a separate currency but is a local issue of banknotes and coins denominated in pound sterling, in a similar way to the banknotes issued in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland. It can be exchanged at par with other sterling coinage and notes.
The pound is the currency of Jersey. Jersey is in currency union with the United Kingdom, and the Jersey pound is not a separate currency but is an issue of banknotes and coins by the States of Jersey denominated in pound sterling, in a similar way to the banknotes issued in Scotland and Northern Ireland. It can be exchanged at par with other sterling coinage and notes.
The farthing was the lowest value coin of the pre-decimal Irish pound, worth a quarter of a penny, 1⁄48 of a shilling or 1⁄960 of a pound. The coin had lost much of its value through inflation long before decimalisation in 1971, and during the 1960s no farthings were produced for general circulation; those minted in 1966 were produced for collectors' sets.
The halfpenny coin was the second smallest denomination of the pre-decimal Irish pound, worth 1⁄480 of a pound or 1⁄24 of a shilling. First issued in 1928 it ceased to be legal tender on 1 August 1969.
The ten shilling (10s) coin was a one-off commemorative coin issued in Ireland in 1966 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising. Ten shillings was a subdivision of the pre-decimal Irish pound, worth 1⁄2 of an Irish pound, making this the highest value coin in the pre-decimal system.
The decimal one penny (1p) coin was the second smallest denomination of the Irish pound. It was first issued when the Irish currency was decimalised on Decimal Day, 15 February 1971. It was the second of three new designs introduced all in bronze, the others being a half-penny and a two pence coin. All featured ornamental birds designed by Irish artist Gabriel Hayes on the reverse.
The two pence (2p) coin was the third smallest denomination of the Irish pound. It was first issued when the Irish currency was decimalised on Decimal Day, 15 February 1971. The coin was minted until 2000. It was the third of three new designs introduced all in bronze, the others being the halfpenny and penny. All featured ornamental birds on the reverse.
The five pence (5p) coin was a subdivision of the Irish pound. It was introduced in Ireland on Decimal Day, 15 February 1971 and reused the design on the shilling coin produced for the Irish Free State in 1928. Some shilling coins remained in circulation until the early 1990s, with the same nominal value as the five pence coin.
The ten pence (10p) coin was a subdivision of the Irish pound. It was used in the Republic of Ireland from 1969 to 2002, with its last minting issue in 2000. It replaced the florin coin, of which it shared its design. Two different designs of the coin exist, both featuring a salmon on the reverse. The second was introduced in 1993 and is smaller, due to the reduction of the coin's value by inflation.
The fifty pence (50p) coin was a subdivision of the Irish pound. It was introduced in Ireland on 17 February 1970. It replaced the ten shilling coin when decimalised, and due to this conversion was introduced a year before Decimal Day in 1971.
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.
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 (1541–1801), the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1801–1922), the Irish Free State (1922–1937), and the present Republic of Ireland. Some modern British coins have Northern Ireland symbols but these are circulated throughout the UK.
The shilling (1/-) was a coin worth one twentieth of a pound sterling, or twelve pence. It was first minted in the reign of Henry VII as the testoon, and became known as the shilling from the Old English scilling, sometime in the mid-sixteenth century, circulating until 1990. The word bob was sometimes used for a monetary value of several shillings, e.g. "ten bob note". Following decimalisation on 15 February 1971 the coin had a value of five new pence. It was made from silver from its introduction in or around 1503 until 1947, and thereafter in cupronickel.