Coins and Tokens.
Below is a list of the various medals,coins and tokens issued over the years to mark various events.
Wolfe Tone Commemorative Medal
Wolfe Tone commemorative medal probably struck for the 100th anniversary in 1898. Measures 37mm., made of bronze.
Pearse 10 Shilling Coin
1966, the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Rising, saw the production of many commemorative items. Among these was the 1966 silver 10 Schilling coin. The front shows Pádraig Pearse with the back showing statue of Cuchulainn by Oliver Sheppard R.H.A. The statue is now on display in the General Post Office in Dublin. Around the rim of the coin is engraved Éirí Amach na Cásca 1916,this is usually translated as Easter Rising 1916.
Of the 2 million of these coins minted nearly 1 and a quarter million were supposed to have been melted down for their silver some time in the 1970s, but, like the Emergency Medals and the Irish Army Vickers Helmets, when there is a plentiful supply of an Irish collectables the reduction story always appears. I think the person who was given the coins to melt is now selling them on Ebay and judging by the amount of them sold on Ebay he must be running short of them now.
Bank of Ireland
The 10 Shilling coin was issued in various presentation containers. All the major Irish banks issued one. Because of the numerous display cases that have appeared since the advent of Ebay it is difficult to tell now what is an original issue and what is a copy.
Provincial Bank of Ireland
This is the version of the presentation case issued with the coin from the Provincial Bank of Ireland. Soon after the issue of the coin the Provincial Bank of Ireland merged with the Royal Bank of Ireland and the Munster and Leinster Bank to form Allied Irish Bank.
The Munster and Leinster Bank
The display case with the Munster and Leinster Bank is an attractive green with gold lettering. Soon after the issue of the coin the Provincial Bank of Ireland merged with the Royal Bank of Ireland and the Munster and Leinster Bank to form Allied Irish Bank.
This was issued by the Hibernian Bank which was owned by The Back of Ireland.
Pearse Gold Commemorative Coin
Issued in 1966 for the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Rising, this coin came it two sizes. 22 carat gold weighing 4oz for the larger coin and 2oz for the smaller. The coin shows Pearse on the front and a quote for the 1916 Proclamation on the back. The coin was designed by Paul Vincze (1907 – 1994).
Unlike the Pearse 10 Shilling coin this was not legal tender. Because of the gold content these coins are growing in value all the time.
Paul Vincze Silver Coin
The Paul Vincze coin was also issued in silver, weighing 1oz the silver version is the same design as the gold and came in a fitted case.
Pearse Oration Medal.
The quotation on the reverse Ireland Unfree shall Never be at Peace is from an oration by Pearse at the Grave side of O’Donovan Rossa. The rest of the text on the reverse of the medal reads Padraic mac Piarais Poet Author and Patriot. Commander In Chief of Republican Army Easter 1916. Beneath in tiny letters is Gaelic An Iodail tir a dheanta which translates as Made in Italy. The medal has a loop on top for fixing a ribbon and I have seen this medal with a variety of ribbons attached, I think the plain dark green ribbon with no fixing pin is the original. Although always described as rare it is quite a common medal. I am not sure when it was first produced the general consensus is that it was produced in 1966 for the 50th anniversary of the Rising.
1916 - 1966 Gold Commemorative Coin
1916 – 1966 50th Anniversary of the 1916 Rising commemorative gold medal by O'Connor of Dublin. Obverse: GPO Dublin in flames AISERI NA CASCA 1916-1966. Reverse: signatures of the Proclamation. 1966 special hallmark, 22 carat gold, 2 ounces. These coins were issued with a numbered certificate from Thomas O'Connor & Sons Ltd.
Golden Jubilee Cased Silver Coin 1966
There was also a silver version of the gold coin produced, the design is the same and the silver version was issued in a Perspex case similar in size to the Pearse 10 schilling coins.
Michael Collins 75th Anniversary
Michael Collins 75th Anniversary Coin. A limited edition of 50 issued in 1997 to mark the 75th anniversary of the death of Michael Collins.
Michael Collins Commemoration Medallion 1996
This medallion was issued in 1996 by Mr. Denis Lenihan from Dublin. Denis Lenihan was responsible for the maintenance of the grave of Michael Collins for over 30 years. The medallion was produced at the time of the Michael Collins film staring Liam Neeson, A limited number of the medallions were produced in silver one of which was presented to Neeson and one to Irish President Mary Robinson.
As well as the limited silver medallions the medallion was also produced in bronze and I have also seen examples in chrome. I do not know if the bronze and chrome medallions were produced in limited numbers.
The medallion came in a green leatherette presentation case with General Michael Collins Commemoration Medallion inscribed on the outside and inside of the lid.
For those interested in Michael Collins a visit to this site is a must Collins 22 Society
At a recent presentation in London of the Michael Collins Association Commemoration Medallion to actor Liam Neeson were, from left, Michael O’Brien, Sam’s Cross Clonakilty (relative of General Michael Collins) and Michael Noel Griffin, Chairman of the Michael Collins Association London. The Medallion was issued to mark the 75th anniversary of the death of Michael Collins.
Irish President Mary Robinson is presented with a silver Michael Collins Medallion at a ceremony to mark the 75 anniversary of the death of Michael Collins.
The Aud Medal 1931
This medal was issued in 1931 to commemorate the attempt by the Aud to bring arms to Ireland for the 1916 Rising. It is a privately issued medal.
Medal Commemorating Captain Karl Spindler of the blockade runner Libau (Aud) 1916, medal designed by John T. Ryan and manufactured by Godet, Berlin. A translation of the obverse legend reads, Captain Karl Spindler, Commander S.M.S. Libau Helpcruiser Libau, Blockade Breaker to Ireland 8-22 April 1916'; reverse in Irish, 'From the Executive Committee for Freedom in America 1931, for his services to Ireland at Easter 1916. Edge bearing the manufacturer's name, Gebr. Godet & Co, Berlin, the medal measures 1 and a quarter inches across.
The Aud started out as the SS Castro which was a 1,062 ton steam cargo transport built for the Wilson Line of Hull, England in 1907. Castro measured 220 feet (67 m) in length with a beam 32 feet (9.8 m) and a draught of 12 ft (3.7 m). The ship was captured by the Imperial German Navy in the Kiel Canal, at the beginning of World War I in August 1914. Renamed Libau (the German name of Liepāja which is a city in Latvia), she remained inactive until 1916, when designated as the vessel to carry a cargo of arms to Ireland, to aid the Easter Rising. The Aud was an existing Norwegian vessel of similar appearance.
The medal was produced by Karl Goetz in Munich. He was an artists and sculptor and was known for his satirical medals and medallions which he produced during and for a time after WW1. The medal was not issued by the German government or military to anyone including the crew of the U20 or its Captain Walther Schwieger. He produced the Lusitania medal in August 1915, Goetz claimed the 5th of Mai date error was as a result of an error in a newspaper article but the British seized on this error claiming the medal was produced before the sinking and was proof of Germany’s plan to deliberately attack civilian shipping.
When first produced Goetz sold the medals for the equivalent of 25 cent, in 1919 the medal proved a very popular souvenir with American military personnel passing through German after the War when the medal was selling for 20 US Dollars. There were several issues of the medal, especially the incorrect date one, as this was more popular among souvenir hunters.
The easiest way to tell the difference between the German and British issues is on the German issues they use the German spelling of Mai on the English version uses the English spelling May.
The British Version
The British version is the most common, estimates of how many were struck range from a quarter of a million to half a million. The medal was in a cardboard presentation box which also contained a leaflet giving details of the first German issue of the medal and accusing the Germans of murdering the Lusitania passengers. The leaflet had a picture of both sides of the German issued medal and also has written on it: ‘…if a murder warns his victim of his intentions, the guilt of the crime will rest with the victim, not with the murderer.’
The German Version
The first issue German version is made of bronze and there were also versions issued in an alloy containing silver and iron. Although scarcer than the British version there are some about.
The second issue German medal, also made of bronze, is dated the 7th of May and was struck after the sinking. I have not seen as many second German issued medals as the first but they are available.
The Pennsylvania Medal
The British were not the only ones to make a copy of the medal for propaganda purposes. Gustav Sandstrom and Clarence Mahood of Warren County, Pennsylvania also made copies which were sold in a box similar to the British version with a similar leaflet. The Pennsylvania medals can be identified by the style of writing and also by the head of the skeleton on the back of the medal.