Irish halfpenny of Charles II

This coin is the first from a small group that came in from Paul Marland. Just for a change, it’s an Irish halfpenny of Charles II.

In 1660 Sir Thomas Armstrong was granted a permit by Charles II to strike farthings. However, the authorities in Ireland were opposed to them and few were issued, despite the fact that tokens of one kind or another were used as small change.

A couple of decades later Armstrong and Colonel George Legge were allowed to strike halfpennies, which were larger and heavier than any of the tokens. They were struck from 1680 to 1684 and drove the lightweight tokens out of circulation.

Paul’s find is an Armstrong and Legge halfpenny, which is dated 1681. On the obverse is a bust of Charles II and on the reverse a crowned harp with 16 to the left and 81 to the right.

Valuation

The coin doesn’t look to have much circulation wear but is very badly corroded. It would probably sell for less than £10 in its present condition but as it turned up in England it counts as an interesting detecting find.

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