The Year of King George III

Ruling from October 1760 to January 1820, George III saw many key moments during his time as king. As well as welcoming in a new century, he also reigned during the Acts of Union 1800, which made him the first King of Great Britain and Ireland as a united realm.

George III was the first Hanoverian monarch to be born in Britain and speak English as a first language. He became one of Britain's longest reigning monarchs, serving almost 60 years on the throne. More widely known for his well-documented mental illness, towards the end of his life the king became so ill that his son, the Prince Regent, ruled on his behalf.

Today, we have a much more rounded view of George III, as a busy and thoughtful monarch. He devoted himself to his wife and thirteen surviving children and took his duties as king seriously, striving for unity in politics, advancement in science and refinement in culture.

As George III ruled before decimalisation took place, coins baring his image include original guineas and crowns from the eighteenth and nineteenth century. As well as crowns and guineas, you can also discover a range of gold Sovereigns minted during George III’s reign. The George III Half-Sovereigns were the first ‘modern’ Half-Sovereigns, bearing the crowned shield design by William Wyon RA on the reverse of the coin.

In 2020, we paid tribute to this complex monarch with a £5 coin that reflects George III's multifaceted life and pursuits. 

Just as George III had many passions and interests, there are several ways to celebrate his story. The Sovereign 2020 features a special mint mark alongside the familiar St George and the Dragon design. George III’s royal cypher appears below the defeated dragon, making this a very special issue of the coin of the monarch.

Just like his predecessors, George III embraced his ancient heraldry and retained the White Horse within his Coat of Arms. Our Queen’s Beast’s Collection celebrates George III through the White Horse of Hanover. You can see this within the elaborate shield that the White Horse holds on the coins struck in its honour.

 

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