Charles II (1649-1685), Irish halfpenny, Armstrong and Legge's regal coinage, 1680-84.
This coin offers an example of Irish regal coinage struck during the reign of Charles II.
The laureate and draped bust of King Charles II is at design on the obverse. The reverse bears a crowned harp at its centre.
The Latin inscription is at legend on both sides, on the obverse it reads: CAROLVS II DEI GRATIA, which translates as 'Charles II by the grace of God'. The legend on the reverse reads: MAG BR FRA ET HIB REX, which means ' [King of] Great Britain, France and Ireland'.
Religious and civil dissent made the royal coinage unpopular in Ireland. As a consequence large numbers of private merchants’ tokens were put into circulation. In 1660 Charles II granted a patent to Sir Thomas Armstrong and Col. George Legge for issuing regal coinage for a term of twenty-one years. These coins were considerably large and heavy to discourage counterfeiting and successfully drove the merchants' tokens out of circulation.
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