Irish modernist architect Eileen Gray remembered on new proof silver coin.

You can generally count the number of precious metal commemorative coins released each year by the Central Bank of Ireland on the fingers of one hand and this year has been no exception. The last of the few is a proof silver coin commemorating 40 years since the death of one of Irelands favourite architects, Kathleen Eileen Moray Gray, the first woman to appear on an Irish commemorative silver coin.

Born in 1878, Eileen Gray was an architect and furniture designer for much of her 98 years, working right up until her death in 1976. Spending most of her time after the second world war in France, she is noted for her modernist residential architecture and for the innovative furniture and decoration that she created for them. A piece of furniture she made between 1917 and 1919 called the Dragons armchair sold in February 2009 at auction for €21.9 million Euros, a record for 20th century decorative art. Her archive was purchased in 2002 by the National Museum of Ireland.

The coin is typical Irish fare, a standard ounce of sterling silver, devoid of any enhancement. The reverse depicts Eileen Gray in profile portrait form, with the background an image of one of her most iconic works called ‘Screen’, a brick pattern screen. Just her name and the denomination are inscribed on this face. The obverse carries the issuer and date upon it, with the Irish Harp in the centre and the Europa Star logo at the bottom, this coin being issued under this European coin programme. Indeed, the Europa Star logo is incorporated into the whole obverse face in simplified form as the background element.

Limited to 6,000 boxed examples, the coin is available to prder now for €60.00. It’s an incredibly niche subject for a coin with a mintage this high, but her current popularity in Ireland and France should go some way to giving sales a healthy kickstart.



The 2016 €10 silver proof coin is the first in a new five-year Europa Star silver coin programme commemorating the ‘Ages of Europe’. The 2016 theme is ‘Modern 20th Century Europe’ and is inspired by the architectural designs as featured on the €500 banknote. This coin is also the Central Bank of Ireland’s first collector coin to commemorate the achievements of an Irish woman.

Eileen Gray was born in Enniscorthy in 1878 but lived the majority of her life in France. She became a pre-eminent figure within the Modernist movement and was initially acclaimed for her work with lacquer. Her notable later works include the modernist villa E-1027, the accompanying ‘E-1027 table’ and her armchair ‘Fauteuil aux dragons’, which sold at auction in 2009 for €22m. Gray’s designs were often praised for their functionality in addition to their aesthetic form. Gray lived to see a resurgence of interest in her work in the 1970s and her famous Brick Screen has become an icon of modernist design.

This silver proof coin was designed by Sandra Deiana. Sandra says she was ‘immediately struck by the idea of designing a coin to pay tribute to a female artist who worked in a period when it was still difficult to succeed in the world of work, especially in the arts […]  I wanted to emphasize Gray’s great contribution to the “International Style” of twentieth century Europe […] Among her many works, I find “Screen” to be emblematic of her entire artistic career and therefore ideally represents the best of her artistic potential‘.


COMPOSITION 0.925 silver
WEIGHT 28.28 grams
DIAMETER 38.61 mm
BOX / COA Yes / Yes