The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 16, Number 22, June 2, 2013, Article 24


CoinUpdate has an update to an interview by Michael Alexander with Mary Gregoiry, Designer of 2013 James Joyce 10 Euro Coin. Here's an excerpt. -Editor

mary-gregiory I’m pleased to share my interview with Mary Gregoiry, the talented artist who designed the Central Bank’s latest collector coin which honors writer and native son James Joyce. Our discussion is the only interview Mary sat for during (and after) the Joyce coin launch at Newman House, St. Stephen’s Green.

Shortly after the launch, it was inadvertently discovered that there was a mis-quote from a passage of “Ulysses” which appears on the coin as part of the design. The story made headlines in both numismatic and mainstream news but this did absolutely nothing to deter coin collectors from their interest in this well-designed and artistic coin as all 10,000 pieces in the limited mintage were sold out in just 3 days, a record-sale for the Central Bank.

Mary studied fine art at the Crawford College of Art and Design from 1995-1999 opting for a post grad year in 2000 in which she specialized in Foundry. She has a BA in fine art/sculpture from CCAD. Mary has worked mainly in the medium of bronze, metals or ceramic sculpture though in recent years - she has been drawing and doing linocut prints as well as designing from home.

Those collectors familiar with recent Irish collector coins will know of her earlier work for the Central Bank. She entered the design competition in 2007 with a winning concept for the €10 silver crown on the subject of Ireland's Celtic Culture and influence. I’m pleased to add that she kindly followed up on our discussion after the discovery of the mis-quote on this excellent coin and added some extra poignant comments for which I’m grateful for, I hope you enjoy our conversation!

MA: When you describe his words as “tumbling over” is that why you portrayed the passage or words from “Ulysses” as literally tumbling over out from the top of his head?

MG: Exactly! (smiles)

MA: When you were designing the coin, what was it for you that was the most obvious physical trait or something which you wanted to include in his depiction or “get across” on the coin?

MG: I wanted to “get across” his eyes, specifically the glasses because he had those fantastic spectacles which sometimes magnified his eyes and other times, they actually hid his eyes – which gave him a sort of internal looking vision. I felt it would be his eyes first, then he had that rather long wonderful face with his distinctive facial hair, the hairs almost having a life all their own and I wanted to make sure that they stood out, those were the main features I wanted to highlight, those were the main features which attracted me to his image in the first place.

MA: I know readers will want to know a little something about the error which is now part of the coin’s lore, so to speak, but even though it has been pointed out that the coin carries a mis-quote regarding the passage from Ulysses, do you think it takes anything away from your conception of the design?

MG: No, I do not think that the error takes anything away from the concept of this design. I obviously wished it had not happened as I pride myself on my attention to detail as well as to grammar and spelling etc… when I write. But, everybody is fallible - that is a certainty. And nobody who is human has never made a mistake.

MA: No, I don’t think the error takes anything away from your excellent design either, the collector will make up their own mind! I have to say, my first impression of the coin is very positive indeed, I think it’s certainly a candidate for a Coin of the Year award, Mary Gregoriy, designer of the latest Irish collector coin, thank you very much for your time today.

MG: Thank you for your kind words about the coin, you’re very welcome.

To read the complete article, see: Interview with Mary Gregoiry, Designer of 2013 James Joyce 10 Euro Coin (


Get Your Young Numismatist Started With a Good Book. The Almanac of United States Coins is an entertaining, superbly illustrated guide to coin collecting from Whitman Publishing. 192 pages, softcover, perfectbound, full color. Order your copy for $9.95 at or call 800-546-2995.

Wayne Homren, Editor

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