The Wolfhound on the Sixpenny

Since its independence, there have been three sets of coins issued in Ireland, and all three showed a Celtic harp on the obverse side of the coin. For clarity, one side of a coin – the obverse side – is commonly tails, the other, heads, because it often depicts the head of a prominent person.

Int Ch Finbarr Boroimhe, Thomas W. Corcoran,Percy Metcalfe,Publio Morbiducci 

Publio Morbiducci’s Irish Wolfhound coin

But not always.

Pre-decimal coins of the Irish pound, like the sixpenny, sometimes depicted animals, and five of the early coins designed by Publio Morbiducci showed an Irish Wolfhound looking over his back. These coins are quite valuable (estimated to be worth several thousand euro) and remain in the hands of collectors. It’s said that they were never put into circulation.

The general design of another sixpenny coin was created by Percy Metcalfe, an English artist, sculptor and designer best known his coin designs. A panel selected his design (seen at the top) from entries submitted by sculptors invited to create designs for the new Irish Free State’s coinage. The stipulation was that design of the sixpence feature an Irish Wolfhound.

Metcalfe used as his model for the coin the Wolfhound, Int Ch Finbarr Boroimhe, a dog bred by C. E. Donnelly and born in 1925. Finbarr was out of CH Patrick Of Ifold x Jilldon, and would come to be owned by Thomas W. Corcoran ((Clontarf), founder of the Irish Wolfhound Club of Ireland. Curiously, the club’s current website does not mention Corcoran in its page on the club’s history, but Corcoran’s name is found on other sites, including one page that reported the following:

Int Ch Finbarr Boroimhe, Thomas W. Corcoran,Percy Metcalfe,Publio Morbiducci 

Int CH Finbarr Boroimhe

“(Clontarf) has suffered a big loss by the sudden death of his well-known winning five-year-old Irish Wolfhound Con Boroihme, which he purchased at three months old. He dropped dead without a struggle…near his home, on returning from his customary evening exercise. Con was bred by Mr. J.T. Dobbin (Dublin), an enthusiastic breeder of Wolfhounds, and was by Boru ex that good winning typical bitch, Slainte. He was a typical hound – one of the best in the Green Isle. Con was very much attached to Mrs. Corcoran, who feels his loss keenly. Many good offers time after time were refused for this typical hound. At seven months he won a second at Dublin; the next year, at Dublin, winning two firsts, two specials and the Graham Cup. At Kilkenny he bagged two firsts, first at Manchester, also scoring at Birmingham, Bray, and two firsts at last year’s Dublin Show. He sired a litter of thirteen to Lord Gormanston’s Sheelah. He also is the sire of Brian Boroihme, winner of first and second at Dublin, first time shown, also a winner at Manchester, Bray, etc. Mr. Corcoran has a young son of his that money would not tempt him to part with.”One can still find the coins on Ebay and the like, and we even found them made into cufflinks.

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2 thoughts on “The Wolfhound on the Sixpenny”

  1. Interesting that both coin artists carried the initials PM, appearing on the 6p coin below Finbarr’s hind feet

    • A coincidence that both artists’ ‘initials were PM?

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