Monday 22 January 2018

WB Yeats: The poet who made our money

WB Yeats chaired the committee that chose the designs for the first coins for the Free State government in 1926.
WB Yeats chaired the committee that chose the designs for the first coins for the Free State government in 1926.
Kim Bielenberg

Kim Bielenberg

WB Yeats played the leading role in the creation of the first coins for the Free State government in 1926.

He chaired a committee that chose the designs, with a harp on one side and animals for the different denominations on the other.

These included a woodcock for a farthing, a hen for the penny, a pig for a ha'penny, a bull for a shilling, and a salmon for two shillings.

Yeats wanted simple symbols, and some of the chosen designs by Englishman Percy Metcalfe survived decimalisation in 1971 and lasted until the introduction of the Euro.

The coins stood the test of time, despite criticisms from a chief livestock inspector from the Ministry of Agriculture, who said the bull was "all wrong".

Irish Independent

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