Bank of Ireland • from 1783

Banknotes issued by Joint Stock Banks prior to 1929
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Mac
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Bank of Ireland • from 1783

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The Bank of Ireland issued Old Notes from 1783 to 1928 in Ireland. It issued Consolidated notes 1929-1939 in the Irish Free State, and Northern Ireland notes from 1929 to the present day.

An early Bank of Ireland General Issue 1 Pound note 1878, the multibranch design.
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Re: Bank of Ireland from 1783

Post by esnible »

Why did the Bank of Ireland use a Medusa vignette on its notes? It seems like a Greek motif.
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Re: Bank of Ireland from 1783

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They are actually not Medusa heads—catalogues that state that the are Medusa heads are mistaken—they are Mercury heads. Mercury was the Roman God of financial gain and commerce among other things. The bank also used the head of Mercury on the reverse of its 1922 issue, and on its early Northern Ireland issue. It is still lurking in the background on its current modern issues also.
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Re: Bank of Ireland from 1783

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Thank you for the explanation! Mercury makes more sense than Medusa.
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Re: Bank of Ireland from 1783

Post by DOC »

When did the Bank of Ireland introduce £1 notes? The earliest date I have seen is 1801.
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Re: Bank of Ireland from 1783

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I haven't seen one earlier than Sept 1801.
Just guinea denominations from 1797 up to 1801.
Very few examples of any of the notes have survived, so there's not much to go on.
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Re: Bank of Ireland • from 1783

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There are reports of a Bank of Ireland £2 note dated 2nd December 1815 based on an illustration in a contemporary newspaper (PMI). I came across this image of an unissued £2 note recently which would fit this time period. A surprising feature is the use of colour. It is more ornate than examples of other denominations issued at the time so it may be a trial design.
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Re: Bank of Ireland • from 1783

Post by Mac »

There is a £1 note design also, which is similar to the colour £2 note pictured above.

Here's a pic of the £2 note dated 2 December 1815, a scan of a photocopy of a newspaper image!
Looks like a genuine note to me.

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Re: Bank of Ireland • from 1783

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Wow, that is interesting. A number 1 note :) I have seen the G.Symes signature on other notes. Looks genuine.

So the coloured £2 note above is a trial design. Amazing to hear that there is a £1 note of this design also !
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Re: Bank of Ireland • from 1783

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The ‘PAID’ stamp is consistent with the note having been withdrawn by the bank after circulation; as are the ink annotations, suggesting a period in circulation.

This note might be in an archive, having been retained on account of being number 1.
It would be nice to come across an example of the denomination.
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Re: Bank of Ireland • from 1783

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An amazing report has recently come to light providing evidence that The Bank of Ireland issued £1,000 notes in the 1830’s. The story from ‘Historical Irish Oddities’ by Allen Foster describes the mysterious disappearance of a £1,000 note in Dublin and the efforts of the bank’s governor, William Chaigneau Colvill, to solve the mystery.
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Re: Bank of Ireland • from 1783

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That's interesting. It is recorded that the Bank issued note up to £1,000 in its early days, the 1780s.
However, a £1,000 note dated in the 1830s would be a very interesting find. I wonder which design it might be. The Hibernia Statues and row of Mercury heads came in in 1838, and there is a £500 note dated 1869, printed in 1877 of this design.

I wonder what are our chances of a picture of a £1,000 note turning up!
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Re: Bank of Ireland • from 1783

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William Chaigneau Colvill was governor from 1832-1833 which narrows the timeframe and suggests that the £1,000 note would be part of Series C with twin Hibernia vignettes. My suggestion would be a design similar to that of the £50 note.

If anyone has an example, it would be great to see it !
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Bank of Ireland 50 Pounds 5th May 1827.jpg
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Re: Bank of Ireland • from 1783

Post by Mac »

It is something which ought to be in the bank's own archive in some form or another.
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Re: Bank of Ireland • from 1783

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I have not seen any evidence that the Bank of Ireland issued £1000 notes at any stage in its history. Could it be that the reference is to a Bank of England note for £1000 which happened to be in their possession at the time? They were certainly issuing them from as early as 1699 and last issued them in the late 1930s.

The image posted by Mac on 26 Jan 2020 is of a trial or essay. Around the same time a £1 essay was prepared by Sir William Congreve and is illustrated in PMI, page 106 ref BA 21. This is a similar design but the £2 note does not deploy the compound printing press Congreve patented in 1819.

Mac, do you have a better resolution image of the £2 note? Or any further info on it and where it could be found? Bank's archives probably (notoriously difficult to get into).
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Re: Bank of Ireland • from 1783

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callahiljo wrote: 05 Sep 2021 16:43 I have not seen any evidence that the Bank of Ireland issued £1000 notes at any stage in its history. Could it be that the reference is to a Bank of England note for £1000 which happened to be in their possession at the time?
Yes, that thought had occurred to me that the story could relate to a £1,000 Bank of England note. However, the account mentions that the Governor confirmed the paper fragments found as being the paper that ‘the bank’ used, and when the serial number was confirmed issued a replacement. Not conclusive evidence for a Bank of Ireland £1,000 note but it should be possible to check the details in the bank’s archives given the specific information regarding the people involved and the timeframe.
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Re: Bank of Ireland • from 1783

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callahiljo wrote: 05 Sep 2021 16:43
The image posted by Mac on 26 Jan 2020 is of a trial or essay. Around the same time a £1 essay was prepared by Sir William Congreve and is illustrated in PMI, page 106 ref BA 21. This is a similar design but the £2 note does not deploy the compound printing press Congreve patented in 1819.

Mac, do you have a better resolution image of the £2 note? Or any further info on it and where it could be found? Bank's archives probably (notoriously difficult to get into).
I originally posted that £2 colour trial, spotted on the net some time ago. The image quality was not great but I subsequently tracked down the original source to a tweet by The Bank of England Museum. A better quality image is attached. The tweet also provides some interesting extracts from a scrapbook illustrating early experimentation with colour.
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Re: Bank of Ireland • from 1783

Post by Mac »

I must look up where I came across mention of a Bank of Ireland £1000 note — I would go with Hall on this kind of information if the stated £500 as the highest denomination.

There is another design of Bank of Ireland £2 note known, dated 2 Dec 1815. This is a picture of a photocopy. It looks like an issued and redeemed note.

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Re: Bank of Ireland • from 1783

Post by callahiljo »

Doc, thanks for posting the £2 essay image. I have now found the Bank of England Museum tweet which included this image. The full image is now attached as it shows where it was sitting in their archive. When I started researching PMI many years ago they told me they didn't have any Irish notes. I guess they had not stumbled across this at the time. What a pity there isn't more info on it but I will ask them if they have any related material. Numismatically it is a very interesting addition to the Bank of Ireland story.
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Re: Bank of Ireland • from 1783

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I have a photocopy of the same Bank of Ireland issued £2 note, taken by a good friend of mine who managed to talk his way into the BoI archives about 15 years ago and was allowed to photocopy all the notes he could find. Hence we listed it in PMI 1st edition. The original must still be in there and intriguingly it is mounted on paper with an extract from an undated unsourced German language newspaper on the back! The article and the note are completely unrelated!!
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