From soon after the restoration of Charles II, the gold coinage had become dominated by a new coin of 20 shillings. At this time, gold for minting was supplied by the Africa Company that traded along the Guinea Coast of West Africa. As a result, the new coin was soon named ‘the guinea', first by popular use and then officially. The coin’s actual value fluctuated until finally stabilising at 21 shillings, but it was to become one of the most important coins in British history. It was struck by each monarch in turn until the coinage reform that came following the Napoleonic Wars. In the reign of George III, guineas were struck nearly every year between 1761 and 1799. At this point, their minting ceased due to the hazards of importing gold from overseas during the war with France. The last guinea, sometimes known as the 'military' guinea as it was largely struck to pay for the expenses of war, was issued in 1813.
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