May 1690 Ireland ½Cr
MS63 [PCGS Secure]
KM-101 variety, with an obverse portrait of King James II, and Crowned Swords on the reverse with the year date above, and month below.
Month? Why are these dated by month? Lets find out:
King James II of England was deposed and fled to France in 1688. In 1689 he surfaced in Ireland in an attempt to reacquire his throne. Short of money, he issued a series of coins struck in base metal to pay for the supplies he needed. These coins are known as 'gun money' because legend has it that they were struck on planchet stock produced from melted down cannons.
The coins are dated by year and month based on James' commitment to redeem them (one month's allotment at a time) for proper precious metal coins after he was back in power.
Alas, with his defeat at the Battle of Boyne in 1690, James II lost his bid to re-ascend to the throne and the coinage issue became worthless (except to collectors, a few hundred years later).
As for the coin itself, this is as nice as you'll find any example of this type, about as made, with a sharp strike and considerable golden luster remaining on the obverse and reverse.
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