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Author Topic: The coinage of the Irish Free State  (Read 8141 times)

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Offline <k>

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The coinage of the Irish Free State
« on: March 04, 2014, 06:09:09 PM »
The Irish, under British rule for centuries, had long struggled for some sort of autonomy. During and after the First World War, the British came to realise that a solution to the Irish question could not be postponed, and in December 1922 the Irish Free State was founded. The Protestants in the North exercised their right to secede, and this led to a brief civil war in the Free State, between those who accepted the state that the British had offered to them (minus Northern Ireland) and those who did not.

The civil war ended in April 1923, and the new state began to think about issuing its own coinage and banknotes. Eventually the Coinage Act was passed in 1926 which would allow this, though it was decided that the Irish punt should be pegged to the UK pound sterling.

 
« Last Edit: March 05, 2014, 10:20:31 AM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: The coinage of the Irish Free State
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2014, 06:39:57 PM »
In May 1926 the Irish government set up a committee to advise on designs for the new coinage. The head of the five member committee was Senator William Butler Yeats, the well known poet. At the committee's first meeting in June 1926, it was decided that, despite the wishes of Ireland's powerful Catholic church, the coinage should not portray saints or other religious motifs, in case the ultra-religious population decided to hoard the coins as keepsakes. Nor should any living person be depicted, in case this should prove controversial.

The committee ultimately took up the suggestion of the painter Sir William Orpen, that the coins should portray the indigenous wildlife of Ireland, and particularly those beasts that were important to Irish agriculture. In addition, the obverse of the coins would portray an Irish harp and all inscriptions would be in the Irish language, in accordance with the wishes of the Minister for Finance.

The committee decided to ask members of the public, via the press, for design suggestions, but they were not in general enthusiastic, and their few suggestions of shamrock and the Blarney stone, amongst others, were not well received by the committee. The members of the committee therefore decided to invite a small number of international artists to take part in a private competition. Not all the invited artists were able or willing to take part in the competition, but all those who did were given photos of the Galway and Trinity harps to study, as well as examples of Irish language manuscripts showing Irish lettering. They were also shown ancient Greek coins of Larissa, Carthage, Thurium and Messana, that depicted hares and bulls.

 
« Last Edit: March 05, 2014, 10:21:22 AM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: The coinage of the Irish Free State
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2014, 06:42:12 PM »
The artists were also shown these drawings of the Irish wolfhound by George Atkinson of the Royal Hibernian Academy.

Photo Coin News, UK.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 06:06:52 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: The coinage of the Irish Free State
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2014, 06:43:40 PM »
This photo of Goldfinder II was shown to the artists, as an example of an Irish hunter horse.

Photo Coin News, UK.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 06:07:11 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: The coinage of the Irish Free State
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2014, 06:57:15 PM »

Publio Morbiducci

Publio Morbiducci (1889-1963) was an Italian sculptor, artist and medallist. He was known to the committee because of his designs for the Italian commemorative 2 lire coin of 1923, which commemorated the first anniversary of the Fascist government.





Patterns of Morbiducci's harp designs.




Some of Morbiducci's reverse designs.





Morbiducci's other reverse designs.  The committee had suggested a ram for the half penny, as an acceptable alternative to a pig.

 
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 06:39:42 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: The coinage of the Irish Free State
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2014, 06:59:53 PM »
A closer look at Morbiducci's magnificent bull.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 06:09:01 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: The coinage of the Irish Free State
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2014, 07:01:15 PM »
Morbiducci's salmon design, intended for the florin.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 06:09:46 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: The coinage of the Irish Free State
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2014, 07:02:20 PM »
Morbiducci's horse design, for the half crown.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 06:10:21 PM by <k> »

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Re: The coinage of the Irish Free State
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2014, 07:04:44 PM »
Morbiducci's superb hen and chicks, for the penny.  His designs show a high elegance, and I think they are easily the equal of the eventually accepted designs.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 06:10:50 PM by <k> »

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Re: The coinage of the Irish Free State
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2014, 07:05:11 PM »
Morbiducci's hare, for the three pence.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 06:11:26 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: The coinage of the Irish Free State
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2014, 07:06:38 PM »
Morbiducci's elegant wolfhound, for the six pence.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 06:13:35 PM by <k> »

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Re: The coinage of the Irish Free State
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2014, 07:18:46 PM »

Carl Milles

Carl Milles (1875-1955) was a Swedish sculptor.





Carl Milles' designs for the competition.





His remaining designs.

 
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 06:42:48 PM by <k> »

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Re: The coinage of the Irish Free State
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2014, 07:23:11 PM »

Oliver Sheppard

Oliver Sheppard (1865 14 September 1941) RHA was an Irish sculptor, most famous for his 1911 bronze statue of the mythical Cuchullain dying in battle.





Oliver Sheppard's designs for the competition. Some artists sent more than others.

 
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 06:44:27 PM by <k> »

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Re: The coinage of the Irish Free State
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2014, 07:29:14 PM »

Paul Manship

Paul Howard Manship (1885-1966) was an American sculptor.





Paul Manship's florin design.





Paul Manship's designs for the competition.





The remainder of his designs.

 
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 06:47:05 PM by <k> »

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Re: The coinage of the Irish Free State
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2014, 07:42:27 PM »
A closer look at Manship's pattern six pence.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 06:15:03 PM by <k> »