THE Limerick artist who designed the Central Bank-commissioned coins commemorating the 90th anniversary of the death of Michael Collins has said they were “curiously difficult” to design.
Thomas Ryan RHA, originally from Davis Street and a Freeman of the City who now lives in Co Meath, was tasked with designing the double set of limited edition collector coins.
A €20 gold proof coin and a €10 silver proof coin have both been issued and are available individually and as a set - the latter which is now sold out - and feature a portrait of Collins.
But Mr Ryan said it wasn’t easy to capture the likeness, a nod to the Corkman’s famous propensity for keeping his face out of the public eye during the War of Independence.
“It was curiously difficult to start,” said Mr Ryan. “If Collins had a big flat nose or a cascade chin or a beard, that would be easy enough. One of things he was able to do was flit around on a bicycle and no-one ever noticed him - he had nature’s disguise in that he was unremarkable.
“He had a very good head of hair, but the rest of his face was unremarkable, really for a caricaturist, there wasn’t anything to focus on. It was the assemblage of all these parts that gave the identity and yes, I got a likeness all right,” added Mr Ryan, president of Limerick Art Society.
The artist has previously designed coins for the bank, including one commemorating the Book of Kells, and created five designs for the coins remembering Collins.
“You couldn’t use abstract art because no-one would know who it was, it has to be Michael Collins himself. He is a symbol, an icon,” said Mr Ryan.
“People buy them because inevitably they are going to have a son or daughter and it is an ideal thing to give them.”