Old Banknote issues in Ireland
Ireland was ruled by the British until December 6th 1921.
During British rule several of the Joint Stock Commercial Banks had the right to issue banknotes under various rules and restrictions. The Bank of Ireland was the first bank to issue paper money for circulation exclusively in Ireland. Its first issue was in 1783. Other banks later also received the right to issue paper money.
By the 1860s six of the larger Joint Stock banks had the right of note issue. They were:
The Bank of Ireland
The National Bank
The Ulster Bank
The Northern Bank
The Provincial Bank of Ireland
The Belfast Banking Company
None of the notes issued by the six banks were ever legal tender except during World War 1.
The right of note issue continued during the early years of the Irish Free State. The Currency Act 1927 provided for the creation of the Currency Commission Ireland to control the issue of currency in the new Irish state. In 1928 it commenced the issue of A Series Legal Tender Notes. In 1929 the Associated Banks (=commercial 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. The Consolidated Banknote Issue replaced the banks' own note issues in the Irish Free State.
Types of Banknotes
There are four basic Type groups for the old banknotes.
Early Single Branch Issues 1783-ca1868
Large Sized Banknotes
Each banknote bore the name of its issuing branch and in some cases that of the head offfice of the bank.
Multi-Branch Issues ca1857-c1920
Large Sized Banknotes
All banks with the right of note issue were required to list all of their branches on each note as locations where their notes were payable.
Single Branch Issues ca1920-1921
Large Sized and Small Sized Banknotes
From 1920 the banks were no longer required to list all of their branches on each note. Most notes listed only the head office in Dublin or Belfast. Some banks listed both of these branches.
Pre-Currency Commission Irish Free State Issues 1922-1928
Small Sized Banknotes
Most of the banks produced new modern small sized notes at this time which circulated both in the Irish Free State and in Northern Ireland.
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Bank of Ireland
Agricultural and Commercial Bank