History of the Lucky Irish Penny
The Lucky Irish Penny was minted during a limited time span, from 1928-1968. In 1926, the government of the newly founded Irish free state formed a coinage committee to plan for the new Irish coinage (UK coins were the circulating Irish money.) Irish poet William Butler Yeats was named the design committeeís chairman.
Well-known artists were asked to submit designs for the new Irish coinage. The design committee decided the Irish harp, Irelandís national symbol in the 1500s, was to be used on all coins. The coinís reverse side, it was decided, would feature a series of farm animals so important to Irelandís mainly agricultural economy.
Artist, Percy Medcalf, submitted the best design. Ironically he was a Englishman. The Irish free state decided to use the English sterling instead of a independent Irish currency.
These coins were first minted in 1928 and last minted in 1968, which was the last year of the true Irish coin. The 1968 mint changed from sterling to decimal and to much smaller coins. The coins from the 1928 minting were works of art. The penny is copper, the size of a Kennedy 50 cent piece and weights almost a ounce. On one side is the picture of the harp, the national symbol of Ireland. On the other is a hen and chicks. The writing is in Gaelic, the native language of Ireland.
After the last minting of the pennies in 1968, the pennies were being gathered and melted down for their Copper content. The few remaining pennies are the lucky ones; they survived. For the next thirty-five years the pennies were stashed away by Irish collectors. The remaining few pennies have since found their way across the Atlantic to become the keepsake of Irish heritage.
"Tis' the greatest lucky piece on the face of this Earth" ~~