Good buy for Limerick art collector George

George Byrnes with his rare coin

 [Picture: Adrian Butle]r

George Byrnes with his rare coin [Picture: Adrian Butle]r


Retired traffic control employee at the University of Limerick Hospital Geroge Byrnes has his very own museum at his home in Janesboro.

And he is beaming with delight following his latest addition; a 300-year-old coin he picked up in a local charity shop.

“I bought it from the Oxfam shop in William Street for €100 and brought it a recent antiques fair to get it looked at by a coin expert,” he explained.

He was told that his coin is a gunmoney shilling dated November 1689 and made from old brass cannon and church bells minted in Dublin and Limerick.

“He [the coin expert] was very excited and said it was a very rare and valuable coin,” said George.

“It was issued by James II prior to the Battle of the Boyne and was to be redeemed in silver if James defeated William 111 (King Billy). Alas he lost,” the expert told George.

“He has a big coin collection but nothing this old. I have decided to keep it for my own museum in my house, to show my friends who call,” said Mr Byrnes.

As part of his collection in his own home George he has a Penny Farthing bike going back to Napoleon times, a First World War helmet, a Queen Victoria sword and much more.

He is also a very keen artist. “I have paintings done, originals of all the American presidents from Abraham Lincoln to John F. Kennedy, George Bush, Bill Clinton and the rest. I have also painted Irish presidents including Michael D Higgins and Mary McAleese,” he told the Leader.

Despite expressions of interests from people at the Antiques Fair held at the South Court hotel, George is holding onto his coin.

“I am not selling, I am going to keep it here in my own little museum in Janesboro,” he said his week. He hopes to add to his impressive lists of antiques in the coming year.




Back to the top of the page