Charles Vallancey, the son of a wealthy Irish landowner, was the first librarian at the Royal Literary and Scientific Society in Dublin. He was a naturalist who specialised in entomology – the study of insects – and he also had an interest in rare books. Vallancey began collecting books when he was only 14 years old, and by the time he was 20, his collection included more than 800 volumes dealing with Irish history, genealogy and antiquities. These were later donated to Royal Dublin Society library when Vallancey became its librarian in 1817. In addition to being a bibliophile with a large personal collection of rarities, Vallancey was also an author with several publications on natural history under his belt. In 1823, he published “Observations on the Means of Preserving Insects” as well as “The History and Poetry of Ireland” which is still considered a primary source for researchers today.
What is the Vallancey Shilling?
The Vallancey Shilling was an Irish coin that was inspired by Charles Vallancey’s book “Observations on the Means of Preserving Insects”. In it, Vallancey suggested that a coin with a picture of a bee on it would be a good idea as coins with pictures of kings on them would be too expensive to produce. In 1825, the Irish parliament commissioned Royal Mint to produce coins with bees on them. Royal Mint designed the coin for Vallancey. The obverse side of the coin depicts a bee with Vallancey’s name inscribed below it. The reverse side of the coin depicts a bee hive with a plant growing from it. Underneath the hive is written “Industry”, and above it is written “Eureka”, which is Latin for “I have found it.” The coin also has the inscription “In pollendo hoc signum“ which translates to “In pollinating this sign”.
Why was the Shilling made?
The Vallancey Shilling was made to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Charles Vallancey’s birth. Vallancey died in 1817, and the coin was made between 1825 and 1826. It was part of a larger initiative to commemorate the birth of famous Irish people, the others being Edmund Burke (1729), Oliver Goldsmith (1728), Jonathan Swift (1667), and Thomas Moore (1779). The shilling was designed as a commemorative coin that was not meant to be used as currency like the modern day Irish one pound coin. However, it was also not meant to be collected as a curiosity like the 1906 Irish one pound coin. Instead, the coin was designed to be used as a commemorative shilling that would have been used in everyday transactions.
The Shilling in Detail
The coin is silver in colour, and it weighs 13.4 grams. The diameter of the coin is 25 mm, and it is 2 mm thick. The coin’s composition is 91% silver and 9% copper. The coin is worth around €25 to €30 depending on its condition. The obverse side of the coin features a bee with the name Charles Vallancey inscribed below it. Below Vallancey’s name, the coin also has a Latin inscription that translates to “In pollendo hoc signum“. The reverse side of the coin depicts a bee hive with a plant growing from it. Underneath the hive is written “Industry”, and above it is written “Eureka”, which is Latin for “I have found it.” The coin also has the inscription “In pollendo hoc signum” which translates to “In pollinating this sign”.
Who is on the Vallancey Shilling?
The bees featured on the Vallancey shilling are native Irish bees. The bees on the coin have a single yellow stripe on their abdomens, and they have black and yellow stripes on their thoraxes. The bees on the coin have been in decline since the 19th century. As a result, the bees seen on the Vallancey shilling are now called “endangered”. The bees on the Vallancey shilling were chosen as they were easy to depict on the coin. The design of the bee hive on the coin is also accurate as beekeepers of Vallancey’s time used to keep their bees in hives like the ones depicted on the coin.
The Vallancey Shilling is important because it was the first commemorative coin produced in Ireland. The coin is also rare because it was only produced for one year. Only three copies of the Vallancey Shilling are known to exist, and one of them is kept at the National Museum of Ireland. The Vallancey Shilling is worth an estimated €2,000.