Irish Coinages of Elizabeth I (1558 - 1602)
Introduction to the Irish Coinages of Elizabeth I (1558 - 1602)
Elizabeth initially followed Mary's coinage with an issue of base shillings and groats in 1558.
This coinage was only produced in 1561 and comprised groats (four pence) and shillings (twelve pence).
It is referred to as the 'fine issue' becasue the coins are struck from silver of 9 oz fineness which is much better quality than any issues since the early harp groats of Henry VIII.
These coins did not survive in circulation for very long as Gresham's Law applies "Bad money chases out good". The existing poor quality coinage of Elizabeth's previous base issue and the earlier coinages meant that people hoarded and melted these pieces.
Towards the end of her reign Elizabeth introduced yet another base coinage for Ireland of shillings, sixpences and threepences. This coinage was augmented by an issue of pennies and halfpennies in copper (the first token coinage since Edward IV in 1467).