[Copper coin]

Artist(s) : Thomas Dineley (Draughtsman)

Pen and ink sketch of Irish coin. Both faces are shown: on the obverse side, with the legend ‘FLOREAT REX’, King David appears as a crowned figure playing a harp while gazing upwards at a crown; the reverse, with the legend ‘QUIESCAT PLEBS’, shows St Patrick in front of a church, wearing robes and mitre and bearing a crozier.

This is the smaller of two copper coins of similar design struck for use in Ireland. Opinions differ as to when each was produced: the smaller may have first appeared during the exile of Charles II or after the Restoration. It was formerly thought to have been struck as a farthing, and was often referred to as ‘St Patrick’s farthing’. The consensus now is that it was simply a small halfpenny piece. In America, where it was imported in quantity in 1681 by Mark Newby, a Dublin Quaker, it was recognized in 1682 as legal tender, worth a halfpenny. Dineley’s text provides evidence that this was also its value in Ireland in 1680-1681.

Edward Colgan, For want of good money: the story of Ireland’s coinage (Bray, Co. Wicklow: 2003).
Oliver D. Hoover, ‘The chronology of the St Patrick coinage: a response’, C4 Newsletter, 18:2 (Summer 2010), 19-25.
J. N. Lupia, ‘The two St Patrick coinages: the smaller c. 1646-1660 and the larger c. 1688,’ C4 Newsletter, 17:4 (Winter 2009), 8-19.

Inscribed in Image

  • Text within boundaries of image – QVIESCAT PLEBS / FLOREAT REX
  • Text outside of boundaries of image – St PATRICK / K. DAVID

Image Details

Genre Scientific or Technical illustration
Technique Pen and ink drawings
Subject(s) Antiquities and archaeological sites
Keywords(s) Coins, Emblems, Heraldic devices, Inscriptions
Colour Monochrome
Dimensions 11.3 cm x 3 cm
Published / created 1681

Bibliographical Details

Travel Account Observations in a Voyage through the Kingdom of Ireland
Print or manuscript Manuscript
Location of image in copy p. 273
Source copy National Library of Ireland MS 392
Rights Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

Related text from travel account

The Copper halfe pence, made for the ready change of this nation were after this manner, but called in this Ao 1681 and in the place an half penny sett forth with his Maties head on ye one side and an harp on the other, with the Inscription of ye English halfpenny. [p. 273]