Almost 20 years on from switching to the Euro, collectors are now saying that some of the more scarcely produced Irish currency from before the switch could fetch a pretty penny. Coins from as recent as the 1980s and 1990s are valued at thousands of euros today.
Despite the fact that Ireland officially joining the Euro in 19998, there is still up to “€300m worth of punts are still unclaimed for” according to the Central Bank of Ireland. While many of the unclaimed coins and notes probably haven’t changed much in value, some of the more rare pieces have skyrocketed in price today.
For example, the 1985 copper-colored 20p piece that depicts a horse could be worth at least €10,000 in auction. Similarly, the 1992 10p coin could bring in between €5,000 and €10,000. Both of these coins were only produced in very small quantities, making them rare today.
"It's their very scarcity that makes them so collectable," said Mike Kelly, one of Ireland's foremost coin collectors and numismatic experts, speaking to the Irish Independent. "The fact that anomalies like those coins exist gets collectors really excited.”
Kelly went on to explain how he met with many people who were in possession of old-era Victorian coins, believing that such coins would be worth a small fortune. Not so, says Kelly, who points to their relative common occurrence as a factor in determining their value.
“Sometimes it's the coins you don't think much of that can be the very desirable ones. A 1938 penny is worth between €12,000 and €14,000,” said Kelly.
Again, not all valuable coins were made from eras long ago. "If you have a €500 note with a serial number T - the letter for Ireland - that's worth about €800," says Kelly.
"Some of the Series A banknotes - the 'Ploughman' and 'Lady Lavery' ones that were used from the foundation of the State until the mid-1970s - can command up to €5,000 if they are in a flawless condition."
Kelly went on to say that with the introduction of the Euro, the practice of coin collecting is bound to change. “Factor in all the different designs and years minted and you have a huge number of different 1c or 5c coins.”
The recession, as well, has turned many people on to coin collecting, hoping to find an elusive coin that could be worth exponentially more than it was originally supposed to be.
*Originally published in 2012.