Ireland 1690 Mar 1/2 crown
This specimen was lot 3088 in Goldberg sale 98 (Los Angeles, June 2017), where it sold for $447. The catalog description noted, "Ireland. 'Gunmoney' Halfcrown, 1690 (March). James II, 1685-1691. Large 0 in date. Obverse IACOBVS II DEI GRATIA. Reverse HIB REX MAG BR FRA. Crown over sceptres XXX (30 pence) above. Nicely detailed for this crudely made emergency issue coinage. Strong portrait. NGC graded MS-62. WINGS. James II fled from England to France in 1688 and the throne was offered to his daughter and son-in-law, William and Mary. In March 1689 James II moved to Ireland, determined to continue the struggle. He devised a scheme whereby he would remunerate his troops by issuing official base metals coins denominated as crowns, halfcrowns and shillings, which would be exchanged for silver coins when the war was won. The coins were made of brass from cannon, old bells and all manner of scrap. Originally the coins were known as 'Brass Money' but later as 'Gunmoney.'" After James II was deposed as king of Great Britain in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, he fled to France. He landed in Ireland in early 1689 to raise the flag of revolt on behalf of the Catholic population. Lacking bullion to strike conventional coinage, church bells and worn out cannon were melted down to make a series of token coinage in sixpence, shilling, half crown and crown denominations. This coinage is unusual in that it is dated by month and year. It was to be redeemed in silver after the revolt was successful but James was defeated and forced to return to France while the Irish suffered devastation and land confiscations. William III allowed the coinage to continue to circulate as pennies, half pennies and farthings.
Recorded mintage: unknown.
Catalog reference: S-6580B; KM-95.
- Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1601-1700, 6th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2014.
- Skingley, Philip, ed., Standard Catalogue of British Coins: Coins of Scotland, Ireland and the Islands (Jersey, Guernsey, Man & Lundy), Pre-Decimal Issues, 2nd edition, London: Spink & Son, 2003.
- Goldberg, Ira, Larry Goldberg, John Lavender, Yifu Che, Jason Villareal and Stephen Harvey, Goldberg Sale 98: the Pre-Long Beach Auction, Los Angeles: Goldberg Coins and Collectibles, 2017.