A Mystery Unsolved – Sydney F. Martin at NSI-NB in the Footsteps of 17th Century Saint Patrick’s Coi

On Saturday night of May 27th, 2017, the Northern Branch of the Numismatic Society of Ireland hosted a talk presented by Sydney F. Martin, President, American Numismatic Society (Fourth term). The speaker is an international authority on the colonial coinage of the 17th through 18th centuries and the author of (inter multa alia) The Hibernia Coinage of William Wood, 2007, and The Rosa Americana coinage of William Wood, 2011. He is currently writing what promises to be a similarly influential work on the Saint Patrick’s coinage of 17th century.

Sydney approach is based on the meticulous analysis of the coin dies from various private and museum collections in the USA, UK and Ireland, aided by the metallographic studies and research of the historical records. For his new research catalogue, Sydney has identified over 400 different die varieties of the “farthing” alone. Despite what seems to have been a large coinage, judging from the number of dies used, no one seems to know with certainty when, where, or by whom, and why they were struck. On the basis of the extended material and literary evidence, Sydney has proposed a new framework of the Saint Patrick’s “coinage” which challenges both historical opinions and modern scholarly views.

The meeting was convened at Denman International Ltd, Clandeboye Road, Bangor, Co. Down, and attended by the members of both Northern Branch and parental society in RoI. The venue was made available by the courtesy of John Rainey, MBE, member of the NSI-NB and an avid collector of the 17th century Irish coinage. More details of the meeting and discussions that followed are available here.

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