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 Hunter. Below the design is the denomination “2s6s” or 2 Shillings & 6 Pence. Below the back left hoof are the designers initials "PM". The Irish Hunter is one of Irelands most prized horse breeds and is popular worldwide. A cross between the Irish Draught and the Thoroughbred, the Hunter is a capable horse being used for riding and transportation as well as working the land. But, it is most recognized for its athletic ability and excels in the highest levels of the show jumping arena and is also renowned for fox hunting.
Types & Varieties
In 1951 the series underwent a complete composition change from silver to copper/nickel providing two type coins for the series.
Type 1 - Composition of silver 1928 to 1942
Type 2 - Composition of copper/nickel 1951 to 1967
In 1938 the change of the official country name from “The Irish Free State” to “The Republic of Ireland” and required a legend change on all coinage giving collectors two major varieties for the series. Additionally, the legend change occurred just prior to the composition change providing yet another option for collectors.
|Old Legend||New Legend|
Variety 1 - Old obverse legend 1928 to 1937
Variety 2 - New obverse legend, Type 1 composition 1939 to 1943
Variety 3 - New obverse legend, Type 2 composition 1951 to 1967
General Market Notes
For the investor, the keys to the series (excluding proofs & errors) are the 1937 and 1943 issues. The semi-key is the 1931 issue.