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Quote Gets Extra Word on 10 Euro
By Dr. Kerry Rodgers, World Coin News
May 08, 2013

The Central Bank of Ireland has released a silver 10 euro commemorating James Joyce and his novel “Ulysses,” considered the most important work of Modernist literature and a sublime jewel in Eire’s literary crown.

The reverse design features a stylized portrait of the author and a short quotation taken from the book’s third chapter. Unfortunately, the quotation is in error. An extra word has been added.

The mistake was picked up within hours of the coin being launched at Joyce’s alma mater, Newman House, University College Dublin. Joyce’s words as published are: Ineluctable modality of the visible: at least that if no more, thought through my eyes. Signatures of all things I am here to read, seaspawn and seawrack,” … On the design the second sentence reads, “Signatures of all things that I am here to read"...

It may seem a minor matter but the story promptly went viral. The Central Bank of Ireland put out a statement regretting the error but claiming the design is intended solely as an artistic representation of the author and the text, and “not intended as a literal representation.”

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This is the same justification resorted to in recent years by a number of mints after they have issued flawed designs. Britain’s Royal Mint played this card some years back when several people drew attention to the gear train shown on the reverse of the standard issue £2, KM#994 (World Coin News, July 2011 pp.75-76).

As shown, the gear train is mechanically defective. It cannot possibly rotate and consequently has afforded fodder for numerous online jokes given that it is intended to represent British industry. One suspects, however, that former Master of the Royal Mint, Sir Isaac Newton, is rotating in his grave.

The Central Bank of Ireland is offering to give a full refund on the 46 euro purchase price of the error coin. However, if anything, the publicity has fueled demand. The coins are flying out the bank’s door. The mintage, by the way, is 10,000.

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