at 400 dots / inch
This coin is a proof Irish threepence - struck at the British Royal Mint in 1950.
The reverse legend 'Leath Reul' (the dot - or builte - above the final 't' is representd by a h in modern Irish) is the Irish for half a real - the Spanish Real denonimation was widely used in Europe and America between about 1500 and 1820. A 1 real piece corresponded to the value of sixpence and as the Spanish coins circulated widely in Ireland the Irish language adopted the word 'real' for a sixpence. It is interesting to note that the same Spanish real was called a 'bit' in the US and the 8 real coin was the forerunner for the US dollar - A 'bit' in modern US terms is 12 1/2 cents and is never used, but the expression 'two bits' for a quarter dollar is still in use.
With the exception of the 1928 proofs (of which 6,001 (+50) sets were made) and the proof 1966 10 shillings (of which 20,000 were made) Irish pre-decimal proofs are scarce.
It is important to distinguish between a proof striking and a high quality circulation strike - the frosted devices, mirror fields and the sharply defined edge are characteristics of the proof coins.
This example is in slightly impaired proof condition - There is some discolouration in the area of the hare's back and the end of the word 'Reul'.
Proof coins tend to be of little consequence if they have inadvertently slipped into circulation and been worn or damaged. In most cases an Irish proof coin of this series would become indistinguishable from a circulation striking after a very short time in circulation.
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