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Home < Main Site Map < A Series Banknotes > 10 Shillings - One Pound - 5 Pounds - 10 Pounds - 20 Pounds - 50 Pounds - 100 Pounds

Legal Tender Notes, Series A
'Lady Lavery' Ten Shilling Notes

Currency Commission Ireland, Central Bank of Ireland, 1928 - 1968

Central Bank of Ireland 10 Shilling noteCurrency Commission Ireland 10 Shilling noteCentral Bank of Ireland 10 Shilling note warcodeCentral Bank of Ireland 10 Shilling note specimen

Page under active revision, last update 08.11.23

An Irish Ten Shilling Note

10 Shilling Denomination

With the introduction of the new Legal Tender Note series on 10 September 1928, an Irish 10 Shilling note denomination appeared for the first time, apart from the irregular issue of Limerick Soviet notes in April 1919 during a general strike in the city.

Lady Lavery 10 shillings 1928Currency Commission Irish Free State 10 shillings

As the lowest denomination banknote, Irish ten shilling notes were widely issued throughout their lifespan from 1928 to 1968. The later dates of the notes are very common, with the final date 6.6.68 being readily available in uncirculated condition.

When the currency was decimalised in 1969, ten shillings was discontinued as a denomination, and a new 50 pence coin was introduced, leaving the £1 note as the lowest denomination banknote.

Ten shilling and One Pound notes accounted for the vast majority of the banknotes in circulation up to the end of the 1960s, with generally 500,000 notes per date being printed for both denominations, compared to generally 100,000 notes per denomination of £5 and £10 notes.

Certain rarer dates of all denominations were produced which had much lower printages. How much is a ten shilling note worth today to banknote collectors depends largely on its age and condition. The highest price ever paid for a Lavery 10 shilling note in auction was £2,400 plus fees for a 23.10.28 in AU grade,, 12 October 2023.

The board lists the current numismatic value of Irish 10 shilling notes.

Ten Shilling Legal Tender Notes 1928

The choice to introduce a 10 shilling note, would likely have been affected by several issues.

The most likely of these may have been the fact that the UK had introduced a 10 shilling denomination as part of the treasury note issue in August 1914 [1.]. The Bank of England then introduced a 10 shilling denomination in its place in 1928 [2.], the Series A Britannia Issue, around the same time as the creation of the Irish Legal Tender Note issue.

Another consideration was that a lesser amount of Irish coinage would be needed in circulation if a 10 shilling note was introduced.

The reasoning behind the introduction of an Irish currency note denomination of ten shillings in 1928 remains to be fully investigated in the Central Bank of Ireland Archives.

Irish Lady Lavery Ten Shillling Note Design

The smaller version of the portrait of Lady Lavery was used on the 10 Shilling note. On the 10 Shillings, the portrait is 40mm high.

Dimensions of the 10 shilling Note are approximately 138 x 78 mm. This was measured on a note dated 10.9.28. Dimensions om different notes can vary by a couple of millimetres.

Orange 10 Shilling Notes

The colour orange was chosen for the new 10 shilling notes. It is known that other colours were considered for the Irish ten shilling note, specifically green, as partial proofs survive of a green printing of the10 shilling note.

1928 Irish 10 Shilling note

Proof vignette on paper for the left side of 10 Shillings. [5., 12 March 2020, Lot 149]

Partial proof of 10 shillings, 1928, printed in green

Partial proof of 10 shillings, 1928, printed in green ink [7., 24 Feb 2022, Lot 420]

Die proof in black ink of a 10 shilling note

Obverse die proof in black ink of a 10 shilling note design for the 1938 Currency Commission Ireland design. [6., 26 Aug 2021, Lot 271]

Reverse Design River Masks

A 'River mask' taken from the facade of the Customs House in Dublin was selected for the centrepeice of the reverse of the banknote.

For the 10 Shillings, the mask representing the River Blackwater in Co. Armagh was used. The river spirit is depicted wearing a headdress of a basket of apples on a carpet of fish [3. Moynihan 1975, p. 127].

River Blackwater river mask on 10 shilling note

Left, the engraving of the Blackwater river mask, taken from the original (right) which adorns the facade above one of the windows on the front of the Customs House in Dublin. [4. Image at right ©Karl Whitney]

Design Variations of the Lavery Ten Shilling Note

Ten shilling notes were issued under all of the design and signature variations for the Series A Legal Tender Notes up to 1968.

10 Shillings 1934
10 Shillings 193810 Shillings 1940
10 Shillings 1943Central Bank of Ireland Ten shillings 1946. Brennan, Mc Elligott signatures
Central Bank of Ireland Ten shillings 1951. Brennan, Mc ElligottCentral Bank of Ireland Ten shillings 1955. Mc Elligott, Redmond
Central Bank of Ireland 10 Shillings 1957. Mc Elligott, WhitakeCentral Bank of Ireland 10 Shillings 1962. O'Muimhneachain, Whitaker

World War 2 Ten Shilling Notes

A major variation in design was the incorporation of a Special Identification Marking (SIM) 'War Code' into the design of the ten shilling note during the World War 2 Emergency period. 10 shilling notes bearing the SIM war code were issued under both Issuing Authorities, Type 4 (1940-1942), and Type 5 (1940-1942).

Central Bank of Ireland Ten Shillings Specimen 1943

Seven war code combinations were used on the 10 shilling note denomination.

Letters H, K, and J were used for Currency Commission issues on 10 shilling notes with dates in 1940 and 1941.

On the Central Bank of Ireland 10 shillings, letters L, M, R, and E were used with dates in 1943 and 1944.

Ten shilling notes exist with the displaced code variety, where for certain dates, the last date of a war code exists with the previous code. These are very rare.

Sterling Promise on Ten Shilling Notes

The bilingual text, in Englsh on the left and in Irish on the right at the bottom of each note indicates the link at parity with Sterling.
'Ten Shillings Sterling payable to bearer on demand in London'
'Tá Deich Scillinge Sterling iníoctha as an nóta so le n-a shealbhóir ar n-a éilamh san do i Lundain'

Sterling Promise in the bottom panel of every Lady Lavery banknote

1928–1959 Sterling Promise in the bottom panel of every Lady Lavery Ten Shilling note

The sterling promise text was removed from the design on all notes printed from 1961 onwards.

Bottom panel of Lavery 10 Shilling note

1962–1968 Sterling promise replaced by denomination 'TEN SHILLINGS' 'DEICH SCILLINGE' in words

Ten Shilling Note Watermarks

All Legal Tender Notes were printed on watermarked paper. The watermark consisted of the Head of Eirin on the bottom right of each note on all denominations, with additional watermarks in the centre of each denomination.

The centre watermarks varied on some denominations, and can be difficult to see. On Ten Shilling notes the denomination of the note in the centre, 10/-, is seen with the letters LTN above it, as illustrated below.

Lavery Ten Shilling note Watermark

The watermarks can be seen on this illustration of a 1957 Lavery Ten Shilling note, the letters 'LTN' above '10/-' and the Head of Eirin on the right

Watermark Lavery 10 shilling note

A Portals Archive watermarked paper example of the 10 Shillings Irish Legal Tender Note [8., 2023, ex-Lot 332]

Dates on Irish Legal Tender 10 Shilling Notes

There are 231 dates for the Irish Ten Shilling note, from 10.9.28 to 6.6.68. The range of dates includes 31.12.29, the only Lavery note with a date in 1929.

There are several rare dates by printage for the 10 Shilling note: 31.12.29, 1.12.41, 12.12.45, 13.08.46, 14.7.47, 10.2.49, 24.10.50. Several other dates are scarce and seldom offered.

10 Shillings 1929

Low Numbers of Irish Ten Shilling Notes

The very first Irish Lavery 10 Shilling note, number A/01 000001 was retained. It is now in the National Museum of Ireland.

Currency Commission Irish Free State 10 Shillings 10 September 1928

Examples of several denominations were retained by members of the Currency Commission, including some 10 Shilling notes with numbers below 000010.


1. [Last accessed 31.10.23].
2. [Last accessed 31.10.23].
3. Moynihan, Dr M. 'Currency and Central Banking in Ireland 1922–1960', Gill & Macmillan and The Central Bank of Ireland, 1975.
4. Image ©Karl Whitney. Riverine keystone head at the Custom House, Dublin, rendered in Portland stone by Edward Smyth, portraying one of the rivers of Ireland - in this case, the Blackwater. (Identified by Harold Leask). [Last accessed 31.10.23]
5. Auction Catalogue, Noonan's (DNW), London. Irish Banknotes, 12 March 2020.
6. Auction Catalogue, Noonan's (DNW), London. British, Irish and World Banknotes, 26 Aug 2021.
7. Auction Catalogue, Noonan's (DNW), London. British, Irish and World Banknotes,
24 Feb 2022.
8. Auction Catalogue, Noonan's (DNW), London. British and Irish Banknotes, 12 Oct 2023.


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