The Guinea

1813 George III Gold 'Military' Guinea Obverse. Image: M J Hughes Coins
1813 George III Gold 'Military' Guinea Obverse. Image: M J Hughes Coins
1813 George III Gold ‘Military’ Guinea Obverse. Image: M J Hughes Coins

The Guinea is a famous British gold coin minted between 1663 and 1814. The coin was originally created as a one pound coin (20 shillings) but is better known as being worth One Pound and One Shilling (21 shillings).

After the English Civil War, King Charles II introduced new coinage. A gold coin, approximately a quarter of an ounce, was issued and for the first time it was not hammered. Made by machine using gold from the Guinea Coast of West Africa the coin probably became the most important coin of the realm.

1813 George III Gold 'Military' Guinea Reverse. Image: M J Hughes Coins
1813 George III Gold ‘Military’ Guinea Reverse. Image: M J Hughes Coins

Originally 20 shillings, the coin actually fluctuated with the gold price, at times being as high as 30 shillings. In 1717 the Guinea became fixed at 21 shillings (in today’s money that is £1.05). Other coins of the family were also minted, such as half-guinea, two-guinea and five-guinea.

In the Great Recoinage of 1816 the Guinea was replaced by the Pound and the Sovereign became the gold coin in use. Long after the Guinea was retired the name continued to be used, especially for prestige purchases intended for the more wealthy. Even now racehorses are still sold in Guineas (the auctioneer traditionally taking the 5p as commission).

Guineas are 25mm in diameter, weigh about 8.38g and are 22 carat gold (91.6%). Prior to 1717 they weighed slightly less (around 8.3g) and were made of 91.34% gold.


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1797 George 3rd III Spade Half Guinea. 22ct GOLD. PENNY START. NOT gaming token!
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1794 King George III Gold Guinea
£1.00 (1 Bid)
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Rare 1790 King George 111 Gold Guinea Coin
£999.00 (0 Bids)
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NICE, PROBLEM-FREE 1774 King George III Gold Guinea
£785.00
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KING WILLIAM III GOLD GUINEA COIN
£125.45 (3 Bids)
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*** VERY RARE - 1798 - King George 111 Gold Guinea
£450.00 (0 Bids)
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1776 Gold Half Guinea
£400.00 (0 Bids)
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1790 KING GEORGE III GOLD GUINEA  SHEILD BACK
£103.00 (2 Bids)
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1810 GOLD PCGS CERTIFIED AU-55 GREAT BRITAIN 1/3 GUINEA COIN
$445.00 (0 Bids)
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Great Britain 1798 1/2 Guinea Gold George III Coin PCGS AU58 Fr-362 KM-608 S3735
$749.99
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AH1370 (1950) Saudi Guinea Gold MS66 NGC. Exceptionally nice and high grade.
$459.99 (0 Bids)
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1738 British King George II Shield Two Guinea Gold Coin ANACS VF-30 Details
$898.00 (15 Bids)
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Equatorial Guinea Gold 500 Pesetas NGC PF-69 Ult. Cameo "Abraham Lincoln"
$399.99
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Great Britain Gold Guinea 1785 AU 55 NGC
$795.00 (0 Bids)
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1787 GEORGE III FULL GUINEA Gold - PCGS AU Details
$600.00 (0 Bids)
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Great Britain 1784 George III gold Guinea NGC MS-63
$4,749.99
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