So-Called Dollars


Medal commemorates and "typifies the spirit of the Irish renaissance" in both Ireland and America; also was intended to serve as "tribute to the indomitable spirit of the Irish race," honoring Irish and Irish-American peoples in United States. Issued privately by Thomas L. Elder, New York City coin dealer (see Part Ill for Elder biographical sketch) under auspices of New York Numismatic Club; designed by Frank C. Higgins; modeled by John Gelert, Swedish sculptor; struck by Medallic Art Co.

Son of King of Munster and called "George Washington of Ireland," Brian Boru (926-1014) was King of Ireland from 1002 to 1014. At age of 88 he broke Danish power in Ireland for all time at Battle of Clontarf, where he was slain on April 23, 1014.

While Elder sales catalogs, 1909 to 1912, provide somewhat contradictory information as to extent of issue, it obviously was very limited. Not more than 75 Silver and 225 Aluminum pieces were struck; sold for $2.25 and $1 respectively. Bronze medals, only 6 to 8 in number, apparently were trial pieces, not placed on public sale.

Photos courtesy of John Dean

Obv. King Brian Boru facing, holding sword in r. hand; above around, in Celtic Brian Boroime Ard Rig Eirinn (Brian Boru, High King, Erin); below MXIV-MCMX (1014-1910); microscopic H above dates; beaded border.
Rev. An involved Celtic design in form of a shamrock; in upper leaf (or circle) is sunburst of ancient flag of Ireland; in lower l. leaf is a ruined abbey and round tower; in lower r. leaf is miniature of a Celtic cross; superimposed on center is spread-winged American eagle resting talons on an Irish harp, below is a reclining Irish wolfhound--all within large decorated circle; outside, below circle, supporting stem of shamrock and base of harp, is the "red hand" of the arms of Ulster; hand separates AON (one) and Croin. (crown); legend around, in Celtic, Muintir Na H'eirann in Ameri'cea (the people of Ireland in America); beaded border.

HK-390 Silver, on edge T. L. Elder. 38mm. Only 75-200 struck. DeLorey 78.
HK-391 Bronze, no edge lettering. Only 1-8 struck. DeLorey 78.
HK-392 Aluminum, no edge lettering. Only 225 struck. DeLorey 78.

HK-389 to HK-389b