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Research Coins: Feature Auction

CNG 91, Lot: 1588. Estimate $750.
Sold for $475. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

IRELAND, The Great Rebellion. Issues of the 'Cities of Refuge'. 1642-1649. Square Æ Farthing (14x15mm, 0.94 g, 5h). Youghal issue. Dated 1646. Large Y T; above, bird right; 1646 below; all within double linear border / Ship right; all within double linear border. D&F 319; SCBC 6565. Fine, somewhat rough. Very rare.

From the Innisfree Collection.

Following the increase in racial and religious discrimination against the native Irish population during the first third of the seventeenth century, an open rebellion exploded in October 1641 as two Protestant Lords Justices had prevented the Irish parliament from passing a bill which would have alleviated Catholic grievances. Though the rebel forces failed in their attempt to seize Dublin Castle, they quickly found success at Ulster, whence the rebellion spread around the countryside. Following the outbreak of civil war between King Charles and the English parliament the next year in 1642, the rebel forces of Irish Catholics gave their support to the King, further placing them at odds with the English Protestants.

Responding to the acts of the Lords Justices, the Irish Catholics established their own council, the Catholic Confederacy at Kilkenny in 1642, as well as their own coinage during this rebellious period. Imitating royal designs, they halfcrowns, halfpence, and farthings – the so-called ‘Blacksmiths’ Money’ due to their crude manufacture. Following these centrally-produced issues, many of the ‘Cities in Refuge’ joined in coining their own local minor currency, often cruder than the Blacksmiths Money or even appearing as a counterstamp upon another coinage.