The Gold Guinea | The Royal Mint

The Gold Guinea

The gold guinea was undoubtedly the major British coin of the eighteenth century. It was born in the aftermath of the English Civil War when the republican issues were replaced with a more impressive coinage bearing the portrait of the newly restored King Charles II. Romantically named ‘guinea’, since gold for coining was then supplied by the Royal African Company operating along the Guinea Coast, it was given a nominal value of 20 shillings. Its actual value fluctuated until finally stabilising, in 1717, at 21 shillings, a monetary unit used up until decimalisation in 1971.

The last guinea was struck in 1813 and we have a selection of historic coins from the guinea family to delight our customers. All were originally struck for circulation – the earlier ones at The Royal Mint in the Tower of London and the final pieces at the new  Royal Mint on Tower Hill – and so their weight may have been diminished slightly by wear; however, they are guaranteed to be in at least fine condition.

George III  Guinea ‘Rose’ Shield

In the reign of George III (1760-1820) guineas were struck from 1761 to 1786 and the earlier dates would have circulated in North America before the War of Independence.  . The ‘rose’ guinea features on its reverse a crowned shield of the Royal Arms elaborately garnished, a design which has been likened to an open rose. The obverse features a portrait of George III by the engraver Richard Yeo.

The coin comes in a handsome display case complete with informative Certificate of Authenticity guaranteeing its provenance.

Denomination: Guinea – issued 1761-1786 inclusive

 Alloy: 22 carat gold

 Weight: 8.4g

 Diameter: 25.00mm

 Obverse design: A portrait of George III

 Reverse design: An embellished and crowned shield of the Royal Arms

 

George  III Guinea Spade Shield

George III came to the throne in 1760 and reigned until his death on 29 January 1820. During his long reign, numerous coin portraits were used. The effigy on the spade guinea shows the King laureated in the classic fashion and was created by Lewis Pingo, Chief Engraver of The Royal Mint from 1779 to 1815.

The King's early guineas had borne on the reverse a garnished shield of the Royal Arms but from 1787 a simple crowned shield was adopted which, from its resemblance to the old style long-handled spades, earned the coin its famous nickname - 'spade guinea'.

The coin comes in a handsome display case complete with informative Certificate of Authenticity guaranteeing its provenance.

Denomination: Guinea (twenty-one shillings)

 Alloy: 22 carat yellow gold

 Weight: 8.35g

 Diameter: 24.00mm (approx.)

 Obverse design: A portrait of George III

 Reverse design: Crowned Shield of the Royal Arms 

 

George III Half-Guinea Garter Shield

The guinea was an extremely popular coin whereas the half-guinea, although struck regularly throughout the reign, was not issued in such great quantities. Initially, the value of both coins varied widely depending on the price of gold at any given time, but in 1717 the guinea became fixed in value at 21 shillings and the half-guinea at 10s 6d. This half-guinea was struck from 1801 until 1803 and, on the obverse, a portrait of the king by Lewis Pingo and was based on a model by Nathaniel Marchant. The reverse of the coin shows a shield of the Royal Arms within a Garter bearing the motto ‘honi soit qui mal y pense’ (evil to him who evil thinks).

The coin comes in a handsome display case complete with informative Certificate of Authenticity guaranteeing its provenance.

Denomination: Half-guinea – issued 1801-1803

 Alloy: 22 carat gold

 Weight: 4.20g

 Diameter: 20.50mm

 Obverse Design: A portrait of George III

 Reverse Design: A crowned shield of the Royal Arms

 

George III Spade Half-Guinea

This half-guinea was struck from 1787 until 1800 and the designs followed that of the guinea. The obverse by Lewis Pingo, shows the king in profile and laureated in the classic fashion. The reverse of the coin shows a crowned shield of the Royal Arms which, from its resemblance to the old style long-handled spades, earned the coins the nickname ‘spade’ guinea and half-guinea.

The coin comes in a handsome display case complete with informative Certificate of Authenticity guaranteeing its provenance.

Denomination: Half-guinea – issued 1787-1800

 Alloy: 22 carat gold

 Weight: 4.20g

 Diameter: 20.50mm

 Obverse Design: A portrait of George III

 Reverse Design: A crowned shield of the Royal Arms

 

George III Half-Guinea Military Portrait 

This half-guinea was struck from 1804 until 1813 (not 1807 or 1812) and, on the obverse, shows the king in profile and laureated in the classic fashion. It was a portrait subsequently used on the guinea struck in 1813 to pay Wellington’s troops in Europe and which was henceforth dubbed the ‘military’ guinea. The reverse of the coin shows a shield of the Royal Arms within a Garter bearing the famous motto ‘honi soit qui mal y pense’ (evil to him who evil thinks).

The coin comes in a handsome display case complete with informative Certificate of Authenticity guaranteeing its provenance.

Denomination: Half-guinea – issued 1804-1813

 Alloy: 22 carat yellow gold

 Weight: 4.2g

 Diameter: 20.5mm

 Obverse Design: A portrait of George III

 Reverse Design: A crowned shield of the Royal Arms

 

George III Third-Guinea - The First Portrait 1797-1800

This particular third-guinea was struck between 1797 and 1800 and bears a royal portrait created by the engraver Lewis Pingo. Pingo was also responsible for the reverse which shows a royal crown. The original inscription, MAG BRI FR ET HIB REX with the date, was changed following the Union of Great Britain and Ireland and from 1801, the inscription read BRITANNIARUM REX FIDEI DEFENSOR with the date of the coin beneath.

The coin comes in a handsome display case complete with informative Certificate of Authenticity guaranteeing its provenance.

Denomination: Third-guinea

 Alloy: 22 carat gold

 Weight: 2.78g

 Diameter: 17.5mm (approximately)

 Obverse Design: A portrait of George III

 Reverse Design: A royal crown 

 

George III Third-Guinea - The First Portrait 1801-1803

This particular third-guinea was struck between 1797 and 1800 and bears a royal portrait created by the engraver Lewis Pingo. Pingo was also responsible for the reverse which shows a royal crown. The original inscription, MAG BRI FR ET HIB REX with the date, was changed following the Union of Great Britain and Ireland and from 1801, the inscription read BRITANNIARUM REX FIDEI DEFENSOR with the date of the coin beneath.

The coin comes in a handsome display case complete with informative Certificate of Authenticity guaranteeing its provenance.

Denomination: Third-guinea

 Alloy: 22 carat gold

 Weight: 2.78g

 Diameter: 17.5mm (approximately)

 Obverse Design: A portrait of George III

 Reverse Design: A royal crown 

 

George III Third-Guinea Military Portrait

The third-guinea, or seven shilling piece as it was more commonly known at the time, is something of a curiosity. Introduced in 1797 as part of the Government’s response to the dramatic currency crisis of that year, it survived for only a handful of years, the final pieces being struck in 1813. This particular third-guinea was struck between 1804 and 1813 and bears a royal portrait created by Lewis Pingo and was based on a model prepared by the gem engraver Nathaniel Marchant. The reverse continued to show the royal crown created for earlier third-guineas.

The coin comes in a handsome display case complete with informative Certificate of Authenticity guaranteeing its provenance.

Denomination: Third guinea

 Alloy: 22 carat gold

 Weight: 2.78g

 Diameter: 17.5mm (approximately)

 Obverse Design: A portrait of George III

 Reverse Design: A royal crown

 Period of Issue: 1804-1813

 

George I Quarter-Guinea First date of issue

When a quarter-guinea was issued in 1718, its denominational value was set at 5s 3d. It was a more convenient value for everyday use and an alternative for the 5s silver crown which, due to a steep rise in the price of silver, was in short supply. Its small size, however, was far from convenient and, being easily lost, it did not endear itself to the public. Less than 40,000 quarter-guineas were struck in 1718 and the coin was not struck again during this reign or the next. The coin bears a portrait of King George I by John Croker on the obverse while the reverse shows a cruciform arrangement of the Royal Arms.

The coin comes in a handsome display case complete with informative Certificate of Authenticity guaranteeing its provenance.

Denomination: Quarter-Guinea – issued 1718 only

 Alloy: 22 carat gold

 Weight: 2.10g

 Diameter: 16.00mm

 Obverse Design: A portrait of George I

 Reverse Design: A cruciform arrangement of the Royal Arms

 

George III 1762 Quarter-Guinea First date of issue

When a quarter-guinea was issued in 1762, its denominational value was set at 5s 3d, a more convenient value for everyday use it was thought. Being directly proportionate to the guinea and half-guinea, however, its small size meant it was never popular. Only 1,135,000 quarter-guineas were struck in 1762 and the coin was never struck again. This quarter-guinea was struck in 1762 and bears a portrait of King George III by Richard Yeo and, on the reverse, a crowned and elaborately garnished shield of the Royal Arms.

The coin comes in a handsome display case complete with informative Certificate of Authenticity guaranteeing its provenance.

Denomination: Quarter-guinea – issued 1762 only

 Alloy: 22 carat gold

 Weight: 2.10g

 Diameter: 16.00mm

 Obverse Design: A portrait of George III

 Reverse Design: An embellished and crowned shield of the Royal Arms

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