The main obverse design features the Irish Harp separating the date. From 1928 to 1935 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 a hare (rabbit). Below the hare design is the denomination “3d” note that the 3d is the abbreviation for 3 Pence. Below the hares hind legs are the designers initials "PM".
Types & Varieties
In 1942 the series underwent a complete composition change from pure nickel to copper/nickel providing two type coins for the series.
Type 1 - Composition of pure nickel 1928 to 1940.
Type 2 - Composition of copper/nickel 1942 to 1968
In 1938 the change of the official country name from “The Irish Free State” to “The Republic of Ireland” 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.
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 1968
|Old Legend||New Legend|
General Market Notes
For the investor, the key to the series (excluding proofs & errors) is the 1939 issue and the semi-keys are the 1933 & 1935 issues.