JAMES II (1685-1691) GUN MONEY

Ireland, 1689 & 1690



Large Halfcrown Dated 1690, King on Horseback Obverse

Small Halfcrown Dated May 1690, XXX Reverse and Jacobus II Obverse

Shilling Dated 1689, with Date Above the Crown, 9 Below Reverse, and Jacobus II Obverse

Also a James II Threepence dated 1687



James II Gunmoney (1685-1691) LARGE Halfcrown Dated 1690,




The obverse king on rearing horse left, and ∑MAG∑BR∑FRA∑ET∑HIB∑EX∑ ; reverse with crown at center, surrounded 

by crowned cruciform shields, dated 'ANNO/ DOM/ 16/ 90 in the angles and CHRISTO∑VICTORE∑TRIUMPHO;

wear to high places; detail of rider lost and reverse crown, and some text on obverse lost




James II Gunmoney (1685-1691), Small Halfcrown Dated May 1690


The obverse with Laureate head of James II left and IACOBVS∑II∑ DEI∑GRATIA, the reverse with XXX 

over crowned scepters and May, ∑MAG∑BR∑FRA∑ET∑HIB∑REX∑; light wear to high places




James II GUNMONEY(1685-1691), SHILLING DATED 1689    


The obverse with laureate head left, IACOBVS∑II∑ DEI∑GRATIA, outer beaded border both sides;

reverse with crown on crossed sceptres, XII above, 9 below, date 1689 at top, MAG.BR.FRA.ET.HIB.REX;

good detail




James II (1685-1691) Silver Threepence, Dated 1687


The obverse with the laureate head of James II left and IACOBVS∑II∑ DEI∑GRATIA; the reverse with III,

1686 and  ∑MAG∑BR∑FRA∑ET∑HIB∑REX∑ ; good detail with single scratch to reverse 







In 1689, James II, after only 2 years on the throne, was deposed from the English throne by his son-in-law William of 

Orange.  James had converted to Catholicism, infuriating his Protestant subjects. Further, his son promised a Roman  

Catholic succession, and the Protestants subjects invited the Protestant William of Orange to become their King. 

Ironically, William was married to the daughter of James II - Mary.


 He took refuge in Scotland, Ireland and on the Continent. James landed in Ireland in March of 1689 intent on using

it as a base to recover the throne of England. He quickly established mints at Dublin and Limerick, and issued a token

coinage struck, to be exchanged for sterling silver upon his return to the English throne. The term "Gun Money"

originates from the use of canons in the production of the coins. However other implements - including bells, cooking

pots, pans and scrap - provided the bulk of the bullion. The use of these domestic utensils led to the term “brassmoney”

which was the dominant and more accurate description of the coins in Ireland at the time. The total worth of the coins

produced is said to have been in the region of £1,100,000.


Gun money struck between March 1689 and late 1691 bore not only the year but also the month of manufacture. 

The month placed on the coins indicated how long the coin had been held and how much it could be redeemed for.


It should be noted, that the calendar in use at the time was called “Old Style” or OS. According to this calendar, the

New Year  started on March 26th. Thus the tokens struck in March 1689 were actually struck in the same month in 1690.

A production of smaller coins followed the larger ones, as a result of a shortage of materials. Coinage minted in Dublin

 between May and July 1690 were not dated by month.


William invaded and defeated James II who fled to France after the Battle of the Boyne. He immediately seized the mint in

Dublin and halted production of the coins soon afterward in late July 1690. Two years later the Capel Street establishment

resumed the striking of copper but this time in the names of William and Mary.

In Limerick, which was the last city to fall to the Williamite forces, the mint there continued to produce gun money until late 1691.

However, the military defeat of the Jacobites under Patrick Sarsfield inevitably brought about their discredit and their

formal demonetization by a proclamation of February 1692.


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