September 1689 ½ Crown Gun Money

In this month’s iAuction featuring world coins, scheduled to close on Sunday, November 2, we are offering a relatively high quality example of an Irish “Gun Money” ½ Crown. Struck in Ireland during the Williamite War by the forces of James II, the appellation is derived from one of the sources of the brass (and other base metals) used to strike the coins, the cannons that were captured in battle (other sources included church bells).

The obverse features a left facing portrait of King James II, and the reverse has a crown superimposed on crossed scepters. The date, 1689, and denomination XXX (30 Pence) are above, with Sept. in script below. The idea behind the specified month was that in the event that James’ forces were victorious, the coins would be redeemable by month, for proper royal issue silver coinage. As fate would have it, James’ forces were defeated, and the Gun Money was never redeemed, but continued to circulate at discounted rates alongside regal coppers.

Because of the low quality metal used to strike them, most Gun Money coins are seen with porous planchets, corroded surfaces, and are usually low grade. This NGC-certified AU-53 is a nice exception, and is a very nice example for type purposes. This is a surprisingly affordable piece from a series that is historically important and perhaps overlooked by specialists in Irish and British numismatics. View this and all the world and United States coins in our current iAuction at

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