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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george iii 1806 1/3 guinea 22ct gold ngc ms61 mint condition one of 2 only rare!
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GUINEA 1773 GEORGE III GOLD BRITISH COIN
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1700 KING WILLIAM III 3RD FULL 22CT GOLD GUINEA COIN BRITISH MILLED 8.3g/ S.3460
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Great Britain 1695 William III Gold Guinea NGC AU-53 UNDERGRADED!!
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1776 GOLD Guinea Great Britain PCGS XF45
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1975 Papua New Guinea .900 Gold 100 Kina .2769 oz. NGC PF69 Ultra Cameo
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Rare 1809 Great Britain Gold 1/3 Guinea NGC MS63 BU Brilliant Uncirculated
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King George III Spade Shaped Shield, 1788 Full Gold Guinea Pendant, 8.97 grams
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1977 Gold Guinea, 2000 Sylis, Mao Tse Tung (China), Low 200 Mintage, Gold Coin
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