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Welcome to irishpapermoney.com, the web's oldest resource on the paper money of Ireland, live since mid-2000. Our web site aims to be a source of information for collectors of Irish notes from around the world, with hundreds of images of all series of Irish banknotes. It also presents interesting and new information for collectors through the attached forum.
Collecting Paper Money of Ireland
The Structure of Irish Paper Money Issues is briefly as follows: Old Notes (1783-1928), issued by the Joint stock commercial banks; Currency Commission Legal Tender Notes (Irish Government issue commencing in 1928-2001), and Consolidated Bank Notes (Ploughman notes, issued by the commercial banks, 1929-1941); Northern Ireland notes (issued by the commercial banks, 1929-present day).
The web site site main page links to all the Series of paper money of Ireland, and a pictorial history of Irish currencies which shows the progression of issues of Joint stock banks from 1783 through to modern era Government issues.
A section to be added at some stage will cover issues of the Private banks which generally are pre-1835.
Dates on notes
One of the more interesting things about Irish banknotes is that every note has a date on it. This gives collectors a lot of extra scope for planning their collections. The reason for the dates is security, with each date corresponding to a particular prefix or group of prefixes. Irishpapermoney.com aims to presents an image of every date of each of the banknote series.
The Lavery Legal Tender Notes (the A Series) are widely regarded as being one of the great world series of bankotes, being issued more or less unchanged for nearly 70 years, from 1928 to 1977. In addition to these, the Ploughman series (1929-1941) is also an attractive and highly sought-after note issue. Both series fall under the interest of Commonwealth collectors. During the second world war a special marking was added to Legal Tender notes, of a letter in a circle, creating an interesting variation to the basic design, the war code notes.
The Irish currency
At the time of the establishment of the Irish Free State there already existed a sophisticated banking system throughout the island of Ireland, which utilised the English Pound Sterling as a currency in various different forms. Sterling had been Legal Tender in Ireland since 1826. Before this, there had been an Irish Pound which was separate from the Pound Sterling, and had had a different value to it.
During British rule a great variety of banknotes circulated in Ireland. Currency stability had been attained by the time of the Bankers (Ireland) Act, 1845, which built on earlier acts and regulated the issue of paper money in Ireland. Banknotes then were issued by six commercial banks under license from and control of the Bank of England. English currency circulated also.
After Irish independence in 1921 the need for a distinctive Irish currency and an authority to control it became apparent. A Banking Commission was appointed on 8 March 1926 by the Minister for Finance to study the matter. The Banking Commission recommended the establishmnet of a new currency, the Saorstat Pound, linked at parity to British Sterling, and an issuing authority, the Currency Commission to oversee the new note issue. The Irish Pound was divided into 20 shillings, and issued in seven denominations, 10 Shillings, £1, £5, £10, £20, £50, and £100.
The currency circulating in Ireland changed radically with the provisions of the 1927 Currency Act. The Currency Commission was created and commenced the issue of Irish Legal Tender Notes in 1928. In 1929 the Associated (commercial banks) Banks' issues in the island of Ireland split into Consolidated Banknotes controlled by the Currency Commission in the Irish Free State, and a new Belfast issue in Northern Ireland.
In 1943 the Currency Commission was disloved and replaced by a new regulatory authority, The Central Bank of Ireland with increased powers. This was on the result of a report by a second Banking Commision in 1938. The Central Bank Act, 1942 established the The Central Bank of Ireland in place of the Currency Commission and provided for the withdrawal of the right of note issue from the commercial banks, leaving the Legal Tender Notes the only notes issued in Ireland.
With parity of value between Sterling and the Irish Pound, Northern Ireland notes and Bank of England notes always continued to circulate in the Irish Free State and later the Republic of Ireland, though the notes of the Currency Commission and later the Central Bank of Ireland did not circulate in Britain or Northern Ireland.
This system continued up until Ireland became part of the ERM in 1979, breaking the link with Sterling. Ireland went on to be a founding member of the Euro zone in 2002, which lead to the replacement of the Irish Pound in circulation by the Euro. The last Irish note to be issued was a £50 note, dated 8 March, 2001.