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Wood’s Hibernia Coinage – 1722 – 1724

Wood’s 1722 – 1724 Hibernia Halfpennies and Farthings

William Wood was a copper and tin mine owner in Ireland. He was able to purchase the Royal Patent in 1722 which allowed him to produce up to 360 tons of copper halfpence and farthings for use in Ireland. But because his copper coins were heavier than those copper coins already in use, they were in demand and that would continue. In fact, had he produced all that he had permission to strike, he would have lost money over the period of time it would have taken him to fulfill that contract. 

Wood first struck a Farthing in 1722. The Farthing is One-Quarter of a Penny. The obverse of the coin has a portrait of King George I, facing right. Around the periphery is, in Latin, “GEORGIVS. DEI. GRATIA. REX” which translates to: “GEORGE, BY THE GRACE OF GOD, KING.”

The reverse of the coin pictures a full figure of Britannia, facing left, holding a Harp in her hands with “HIBERNIA” (IRELAND) and the date on it.

(A 1722 Wood’s Hibernia Farthing – Obverse [left] – Reverse [right].)

Additionally in 1722, Woods struck at least four different dies varieties of Hibernia Halfpennies that were about the size of a US quarter. The designs were the same as the Farthing only larger in diameter.

(A 1722 Halfpenny – Obverse [left] – Reverse [right].)

In 1723, Woods again struck 3 types of Farthings, including a scarce Silver Pattern as well as striking three types of Halfpennies also including a silver pattern. During the last year, 1724, one Farthing and Two Halfpennies were struck.

(A 1723 Wood’s Hibernia Silver Specimen Farthing – Obverse [left] – Reverse [right].)

 The coins circulated well in Ireland, due to Ireland’s severe shortage of all coinage. In the American Colonies, there was also a shortage of small coinage for small transactions. Since New York was the largest trading partner around that time with Ireland, the coins were very popular in New York.

The Irish potato famine in the 1720s rapidly encouraged emigration from Ireland to New York and the coins were continually popular in that Colony. However, New England, with its puritanical views, was not so welcoming of the Irish immigrants or their Hibernia Copper Coin money and it circulated at a discount there when it was accepted at all. Hibernia and the harp are now synonymous with Ireland.  

DateTypeMintageVG ValueUnc Value
1722Farthing D. G. REXUnknown$2,750$17,500
1722Halfpenny D. D. REX – Rocks RtUnknown$4,000$25,000
1722Halfpenny Harp at LeftUnknown$100$1,500
1722Halfpenny, Harp at RightUnknown$90$1,300
1722Halfpenny, DEII (Blunder)Unknown$200$3,200
1723Farthing, D. G. REXUnknown$350$2,250
1723Farthing Dei Gratia RexUnknown$65$750
1723Farthing Silver Specimen PatternUnknown$700$7,500
1723Halfpenny 3/2Unknown$75$2,000
1723Halfpenny, Silver PatternUnknownPricelessPriceless
1724Halfpenny DEI Above HeadUnknownPricelessPriceless

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