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1938 : New date for Irish Halfcrown
Second 1938 penny identified
On Monday 10th July, 2000, The Irish Department of Finance presented a trial striking of the modified dies for the Penny and the Halfcrown to the National Museum of Ireland.
These coins, dated 1938, were produced because the metal flow on these denominations between 1928 and 1937 was not particularly good leaving weak areas on the obverse harp.
Percy Metcalf, the designer of the 1928 coinage, used the opportunity of redesigning the obverse harp for all the coins to improve the reverses of these two denominations.
Collectors will be most familiar with this redesign because of the 1961 'mule' halcrown which uses the 1928-1937 reverse instead of the redesigned reverse.
The trial striking of the 1938 penny is previously known from a single example, but the halfcrown is not previously known - however followers of this site will be aware that I had speculated on its existance.
These two examples were the coins supplied by Metcalf to the Department of Finance in November 1938. Since then they had remained secure but unknown in the department's archives.
It is possible that another 1938 halfcrown, or further pennies, will turn up. The first penny (now one of two known) is in private hands.
Despite its uniquness and its not being on the market, I have given the halfcrown a catalog price. This is the price I expect an example would fetch if another became available and was offered publicly.
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JSL - 12/July/2000