James II (1685 -1688)
Brass/Copper 'Gunmoney' Emergency Coinage 1689 -1691
Gunmoney was minted in Ireland by James II from June 1689 to October 1690 during the conflict with William III that followed the Glorious Revolution of 1688 (William & Mary)
James was short of the silver needed to mint money to pay his troops, and to pay for supplies.
He addressed this by issuing a token coinage made from obsolete cannon and other metallic scrap, to be redeemable later in silver. This coinage is referred to as gunmoney.
The coinage is unusual in a number of respects. The month of issue was shown on the coin as well as the year. Initially, gunmoney was issued in three denominations - sixpence, shilling (twelve pence) and half crown (two and a half shillings). Later, shillings were issued in the size of the original
sixpence, half crowns were issued in the size of the original shilling,
and crowns were issued in the size of the original half crown. (Crowns were exceptional in that they did not show the month of issue.) Many of the later issues were over-struck on the earlier lower denominations of the same size, and in many cases parts of the original design survived the striking process.
After the Battle of the Boyne, in July 1690, William's forces captured the Dublin mint, ending the issuing of gunmoney from Dublin. Subsequent issues were minted in Limerick. Gunmoney was demonetised by William III in 1691
Gun money is a term for an esentially token coinage issued to pay the armies of James II during the Williamite War in Ireland between 1689 - 1691. Minted in base metal, these were designed to be redeemed for silver coins following a victory by James II and consequently bore the date in months to allow a gradual replacement. As James lost the war, that replacement never took place, although the coins were allowed to circulate at much reduced values before the copper coinage was resumed.They were mostly withdrawn from circulation in the early 18th century.
The name "Gun money" stems from the idea that they were minted from melted down guns. However, many other brass objects, such as church bells, were also used.
There were two issues. The first "large" issue consisted of sixpences, shillings and half crowns (2/6d). The second, "small" issue consisted of shillings, halfcrowns and crowns (5 shillings). Some of the second issue were overstruck on large issue pieces, with shillings struck over sixpences, half crowns on shillings and crowns on half crowns. The most notable feature of the coins is the date, because the month of striking was also included.
Nice examples can be obtained at coin fairs & on online auction sites. Knowledgable collectors will be aware of the large numbers of varieties in this beautiful late seventeenth century coinage.