Irish Republic 10 Dollars Note 1866 Fenian Bond

Irish Republic currency 10 Dollars Note 1866 Fenian Bond
Republic of Ireland 10 Dollars Note Fenian Bond 1866-1867 "National Bond" Issue
Fenian bond ten dollars 1866
Fenian bond for ten dollars 1866
Irish Republic 10 Dollars Note 1866 Fenian Bond

The Republic of Ireland Fenian Bond was printed by the Continental Banknote Company of New York and has an ornate border around it with a vignettes of an eagle, portrait of Theobald Wolfe Tone and Thomas Davis. This item has been signed by JJ Sullivan and Michael Scanlon.

Theobald Wolfe Tone, posthumously known as Wolfe Tone (Bhulf Tón in Irish) (20 June 1763 – 19 November 1798), was a leading Irish revolutionary figure and one of the founding members of the United Irishmen and is regarded as the father of Irish republicanism. He was captured by British forces at Lough Swilly in Donegal and taken prisoner. Before he was to be executed, it is believed that Wolfe Tone attempted suicide. He subsequently died from mortal wounds eight days afterwards, thus avoiding being hanged as a convicted traitor to the British Crown for his involvement in the 1798 Irish Rebellion.

Thomas Osborne Davis (14 October 1814 – 16 September 1845) was an Irish writer who was the chief organiser and poet of the Young Ireland movement.

Irish Republic Bonds, 1860s – 1880s

The mid-19th century was a tough time for Ireland.  Relations with England were deteriorating, famines and a growing population created torturous living conditions,  and the United States of America – a rapidly destabilizing young nation on the verge of civil war – looked, comparatively, like a nice place to move your family to.   These were, of course, the prime conditions to disenfranchise, mobilize, and encourage radicalism.   Ireland wanted its freedom from England, but small skirmishes, the rumblings of a full-fledged rebellion, were quickly quashed and the rabble-rousers arrested.

The Irish Republican Brotherhood was the biggest successful attempt, at the time, of a large-scale organized revolution, but fear of prosecution spread the rebellion’s leaders around Europe.   A handful ended up in the United States and found a wealth of support in the Irish expatriates on the East Coast.  Taking the name of a mythical king in Celtic literature, Irish Republican John O’Mahony called the American offshoot of the IRB the Fenian Brotherhood.

O’Mahony was no fool – he recognized that any rebellion needed to be financed somehow.  The United States was still a wealthier nation than Ireland was at the time, so O’Mahony found great support in selling “war bonds” to fund the activities of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.   Supporters in the United States would buy one of these bonds, commonly in a $5, $10, or $20 increments (when, at the time, even $5 was a sizeable chunk of money), on promise of receiving repayment, plus interest, six months after the date Irish freedom was finally achieved.   O’Mahony then John O'Mahony forwarded the money to their compatriots in Ireland, funding their insurgency.  Some funds were kept in the United States, offering a ‘skirmishing budget’ for the local Fenian Raiders, whose objective became to take over Canada and hold it for ransom, in exchange for Ireland’s freedom.    Fenian bonds also bankrolled one of the earliest attempts to build a functioning combat submarine.  If one thing can be said about the Fenians, it’s that they heartily embraced lofty goals.

Thousands of these bonds were sold by O’Mahoney and his stateside supporters, but they are relatively rare today.   This is partly because of age, but also – inconcievably – many were actually redeemed for their value.  After the Irish Civil War, one of the factions, led by Republican Eamon De Valera, recalled many of the bonds to be redeemed; some of the money, held by banks in New York, was decided by the Supreme Court to be repaid to bondholders directly, rather than turning the funds  over to either Irish faction.  Time passed, Ireland continued to change and grow into its new statehood, and the remaining unredeemed bonds became void. Those unredeemed bonds are still available to collectors.