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This article is about the decimal coin issued from 1971 to 1986. For other Irish coins of the same denomination, see Irish ½ penny coin.
½ penny
Ireland half penny 1980
1980 coin
General information

Flag of Ireland Ireland





Measurements and composition

1.78 g


17.15 mm


1.05 mm










Celtic harp, state title, year


Ornamental bird, value

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The ½ penny coin (½ pingin), known colloquially as a "halfpenny" in English and leathphingin in Irish, is a former circulation piece of Ireland. It was issued by the Central Bank of Ireland in a single type from 1971 to 1986, during the existence of the current Republic. It was initially struck at the Royal Mint of the United Kingdom from 1971 to 1976, and then at the newly established Currency Centre in Dublin from 1978 to 1986.

The coin, released into circulation on Decimal Day on February 15, 1971, initially circulated for a nominal value of 0.005 pounds in its country of origin. However, as years of inflation gradually reduced the its purchasing power, the piece began to disappear from circulation in larger numbers. In response, Minister for Finance John Bruton (1947–) issued the Coinage (Calling In) Order on May 23, 1986, which authorized the withdrawal and demonetization of the coin on January 1, 1987.

The piece is composed of a bronze alloy of 97 percent copper, 2.5 percent zinc, and 0.5 percent tin and measures 1.78 grams in mass, 17.145 millimeters in diameter, and 1.05 millimeters in thickness. It has medallic alignment and a plain edge, and like most coins, is round in shape. Both of its rims are raised and undecorated.

The obverse, designed by Irish artist Gabriel Hayes (1909–1978), features a Celtic harp in its center. A national symbol of Ireland, such an illustration has appeared consistently on Irish heraldry and coins for centuries. Printed clockwise along the rim to the left is the Irish name of Ireland, Éire, which is stylistically rendered as "éIRe" with a combination of lowercase and uppercase lettering. Engraved in the same direction at the periphery to the right is the Gregorian date of minting.

The reverse, also designed by Gabriel Hayes, features an ornamental bird in the shape of a "D" in its center. This depiction, based on an illustration in a manuscript (Codex 213) in the Cologne Cathedral Library, appears above the face value "½ P", which is abbreviated for ½ pingin or ½ penny.

Around 169,894,000 examples of the coin were manufactured, including several business strikes, a handful of Brilliant Uncirculated pieces (dated 1971, 1978, and 1982), and around 56,750 proofs. All of the uncirculated and proof coins were distributed in official mint and proof sets by the Central Bank of Ireland.

Only around 12,250 pieces were struck in 1986 without a proof finish. An unknown number of these were sold in specimen sets to tourists; the remainder were presumably melted down.

Year Mint Mintage
1971 Royal Mint
1971 Proof 50,000
1975 10,500,000
1976 5,464,000
1978 Currency Centre
1980 20,615,000
1982 9,660,000
1985 2,784,000
1986 12,250
1986 Proof 6,750
Total 169,894,000


External links[]

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