What Currency Used In Dublin Ireland - Since I was born in 1960, I am very comfortable changing currencies, having used three completely different currencies in my life. Of course there was a slight change in 1978 where the money in our pockets remained the same but the design of the banknotes changed. Although things were still going well in Ireland, our new notes were worth much less in the UK, so technically I had changed four currencies.
Until 1977, every coin issued for use in Ireland was produced by the Royal Mint in London. When the Royal Mint of the Central Bank of Ireland opened its new mint in Sandyford, County Dublin in 1978, all Irish coins and banknotes were produced there. Prior to this, all Irish banknotes were produced by the Bank of England in London.
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Most Irish people don't know this, but the simple fact is that until 1978 we were pegged to the British pound and the Irish currency was pegged 1:1 to the British pound. We were all shocked that our currency was worth half its previous value when we broke sterling, and it wasn't until the early 1990s that we finally achieved parity with sterling. Like the Cypriot pound, the Irish pound, or punt, even surpassed its former colonial monetary master in the mid-1990s.
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Even more surprising to most Irish people is that until 1960 all Irish banknotes were guaranteed by the Bank of England and were labeled "sterling payable to bearer in London". This panel quietly disappeared from view in 1961 and no real changes occurred. This is why so-called English coins continued to circulate in Ireland alongside ours until 1971. Most of our coins were the same size, shape and weight as English coins, with the exception of threepenny and sixpenny coins.
Even today, shops and service providers in London refuse to accept banknotes other than Bank of England notes. It is a source of inconvenience for tourists from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man when their banknotes are not accepted. Although they don't lose anything in the exchange, they still have to go to the bank (and possibly stand in line) to exchange them.
In February 1971, Ireland and the UK switched from the old imperial currency of pounds, shillings and pence to a decimal currency. The old currency was simply unregulated. For example,
Centuries, many of the old royal coins disappeared, and we in Ireland, when we had our own currency in 1928, had 8 coins. We did not issue crowns (5 shillings) or gold coins, but our silver coins contained 75% silver, compared to 50% in British coins of the same period. We stopped minting silver coins in 1943 and the British stopped minting shortly after 1946.
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To make matters worse, some of the old names were still in use even though the coins had disappeared, for example. Red, Corona and Guinea.
There were coins in denominations of C, half guinea and one third guinea in denominations of ten shillings, six pence and seven shillings. These were gold coins and were rarely seen in pocket coins, but by the 1970s the Irish were buying houses, cars, horses and fur coats from Guinea. It may be a throwback to the old British class system, but people considered themselves more important when they bought goods and services from Guinea. Lawyers, accountants and other professionals billed their clients in guineas, even though the coins were minted in the mid-1800s.
Amazingly, the value of these coins remained over a century after they were withdrawn from circulation - even today the first two classes of the horse racing season are still denominations of 1000 and 2000 guineas. Needless to say, the prize money is well in excess of 2,000 guineas (£2,100 in Irish pennies or €2,667 in today's money).
In 1916, the anniversary was approaching, and he was not popular with the public. In 1967, with the outbreak of the Israeli-Arab War, the price of silver rose and the coin was worth more than its silver bullion content. In 1972, during the new Israeli-Arab War, the price of silver rose again and a ten shilling coin (face value 50p) cost £3.50 per piece of the precious metal.
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In 1971, there were some irregularities when changing from a 240 pence pound to a 100 pence pound. The old penny was 1 penny, and the new penny became 1 penny. The old penny is known as the 1 penny and dates back a thousand years ago when the penny was silver and contained silver in the penny (dwt). Although the amount of silver decreased over time, the letter "D" still represented a penny. The shilling was denoted by the letter "S" and the pound by the letter "L" on the original gold pound coin known as the livre, an Anglo-Norman term coined by the French kings of England in the Middle Ages. With the loss of French lands they changed the name to Pound, but the abbreviation for Pound, Shilling and Pence remained "LSD".
I remember everyone wondering how much prices had gone up since the changes. For example, one old penny = one new halfpenny, or ½ penny. Obviously, 2 old pence and 3 old pence were worth 1 new penny, or 1 pence. In theory, assuming one has enough patience, time and old coins (one can trade 2 old coins for 1p and keep coming back with 2 more old coins), then this should bring in 20% more than one, i.e. 240 old coins coins = 120. new coins if you exchange 2 at a time, but if you exchange them all at once you will only get 100!
So in 1971 we had a new currency, but the coins looked different and had different denominations. In previous coinage, Irish coins were of the same size, weight and value as their English counterparts. Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales did not have their own coins, but over time these one and two pound coins began to have regional designs.
Another interesting twist occurred in the 1970s when people began to travel and work in the newly expanded EEC (now known as the EU) without the need for visas or work permits. There were 20 5p coins in a pound, but Irish and British pounds were worth c. 3 DM, and the Germans were not too happy when they discovered that their vending machines were full of 5p coins that could not be exchanged in German banks. Irish and British tourists are happy to exchange 5p for goods (cigarettes, condoms, etc.) or services (telephone calls, train tickets, bus tickets and parking) worth 33p.
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It wasn't until 1990 that we changed the size of our 5p coins - in the meantime German vending machine operators suffered and Irish/British tourists got an 80% discount by bringing bags of 5p coins.
Something similar happened here in 1990, when new pound coins were introduced into circulation. To some astute people, the new pound coins had the same consistency and weight as the old coins. They experimented with vending machines and were able to buy old coins for 20p each at collector's fairs and use them in newly calibrated vending machines throughout Ireland. Cigarette machines in pubs were particularly hard hit, with publishers losing thousands of pounds in the first few weeks after the new coins were introduced.
Once again, the 80% discount was achieved through an old coin scam. Unlike the old 5p and Deutsche Mark coins, there was little difference in weight and thickness between the old 1p coin and the new £1 coin, so vending machines were calibrated to be sensitive enough to detect the difference.
In 2002, a completely new currency was introduced when Ireland (and 11 other EU countries + 4 non-EU countries) joined the eurozone. 1 of 16 countries using the euro
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January 2002 issued only 15 of its own coins - Andorra decided not to mint coins. The other three non-EU countries were Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City, which issued a limited number of coins but did not necessarily have some or all of them in circulation. More details can be found in my next blog post on the Eurocoin.
This, like the change to decimal coinage in 1971, cost a new currency, and people again wondered how much prices had actually risen. Governments tried to stop this, but many sellers and service providers continued to raise prices - surprisingly, no one succeeded!
Unlike the 1971 changes, there were also new banknotes, so it was truly a completely new currency. Each country had an alpha code to designate its banknotes, but many printed their own banknotes to reduce production costs. Theoretically, every country prints banknotes, but for now
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