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Though it has not been struck for over two centuries, the guinea holds a place in hearts and minds of all British people. It is remembered and even still mentioned in quotes, for it is a coin that speaks of elegance, prestige and romance. 350 years after its first striking, we are proud to honour this legendary coin with a UK £2 coin. The gold Proof coin marks the 350th anniversary of the ‘golden guinea’ in the sumptuous style that it deserves.
The history of the guinea
In 1663, a new golden pound coin was struck. Alongside its portrait of Charles II, the coin would often bear a small elephant mark: the mark of the Africa Company. It would inspire the coin’s very name – the guinea, named after the Guinea Coast that supplied gold to The Royal Mint. From the very beginning it was minted in 22 carat gold, making it one of the finest and most opulent coins around. This alloy is used once more to strike the 2013 £2 coin, in tribute to a numismatic great.
The guinea today
Sculptor Anthony Smith turned to a famous guinea for his reverse design. When it was created in 1827, the spade-guinea was named for the crowned shield that bore the arms of George III. Resembling the lowly garden spade, it was nevertheless sought after – reportedly often by the wives of the country gentry. It probed to be so popular that it was recreated for gaming tokens and costume jewellery.
It will undoubtedly be popular once again, particularly due to the re-design that includes the current Royal Arms, as well as its impeccable Proof standard. On this £2 commemorative coin, the bright yellow inner circle is offset beautifully with the rose gold outer – a striking take on the common £2 coin that we see in circulation today.
The coin comes beautifully presented, and with a Certificate of Authenticity to confirm that it is a product of extremely high quality, and meets The Royal Mint’s famous standards. It is a beautiful addition to the range of 2013 Commemorative Coins that The Royal Mint has released to mark this incredibly special year of 2013.