From the Grading Room: Ireland 1938 Penny

Posted on 9/11/2012

A rare Ireland 1938 Penny was recently certified by NGC.

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At NGC we are often privileged to see great rarities in numismatics. Recently, NGC certified an important Irish rarity, the 1938 penny. The coin, one of only two known, was submitted to NGC by Numismatic Financial Corporation in Winter Springs, Florida.

Graded SP 66 BN by NGC, this issue is considered to be the most difficult to obtain of all modern (defined as 1928 to date) Irish coinage. In 1937, a new constitution declaring Ireland a free state was established and the old designs for the coins of Ireland that featured the legend “Saorstat Eireann” or Irish Free State were changed to “Eire” to reflect the new constitution. The only known 1938 coins to feature that revised legend are a half crown, currently unique and in a museum, and two one penny coins. It is believed by some that these coins are patterns that were made to test the striking of the coins with the new legend. While the coin is not listed as a pattern in references, it features superior strike and surface quality relative to that of a normal business strike and, therefore, has been given a designation of Specimen by NGC to denote that it is a special striking.

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From the Grading Room is an occasional feature of the NGC E-mail Newsletter in which we highlight some of the more unusual or seldom seen items submitted for certification. Click to explore other special finds.

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