Ireland became a free state in 1922 and in 1926 moved to form a monetary system and coinage committee. The committee agreed to utilizing the sterling monetary system instead of establishing their own national currency. Though one can only assume that this decision was based on the stability and familiarity of British coinage at that time. The committee also determined that all coinage would feature the national symbol, the Irish Harp, and an animal to reflect their agricultural economy. The sterling would remain the standard unit 1970 when the monetary system was switched to a decimal based coinage.
One fine example of Irish sterling coinage is the Irish 6 Pence coin. Produced from 1928 to 1969, the 6 Pence had a nickel composition from 1928 to 1940 and would later have a copper/nickel composition from 1942 to 1969.
The main obverse design features the Irish Harp separating the date. From 1928 to 1937 the obverse featured the legend “SAORSTAT EIREANN” or Irish Free State. This legend would later be shortened to just “EIRE” or Ireland beginning in 1939.
The reverse was designed by Percy Metcalfe and features an Irish Wolfhound. Above the wolfhound design is the denomination “6d” note that the 6d is the abbreviation for 6 Pence. Below the wolfhound design is the word “REUL”. Below the hind legs are the designers initials "PM".
Types & Varieties
Type 1 - Composition of pure nickel 1928 to 1940.
Type 2 - Composition of copper/nickel 1942 to 1969
Variety 1 - Old obverse legend 1928 to 1935
Variety 2 - New obverse legend, Type 1 composition 1939 to 1940
Variety 3 - New obverse legend, Type 2 composition 1942 to 1969
General Market Notes
For years that may be potential sleepers look at the 1949, 1955, 1956 and 1958 issues.
For the investor, the keys to the series (excluding proofs & errors) are the 1946 & 1935 issues but only in higher grades of AU or better.