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The Gold Coins of England

Robert Lloyd Kenyon, 1884
George I (1714-1727)

Table of Contents

GEORGE I, 1714 TO 1727.

No alteration was made during this reign in the weight or metal of the coins; but the value of gold coin as compared with silver had been steadily going down since the great re-coinage of silver under William III. A guinea, which was coined at the mint at 20s, but which in 1695 had passed current for 30s, was reduced in 1698 to 21s 6d, and although it was generally received and paid at this latter rate during the reign of Queen Anne, yet Sir Isaac Newton gave it as his opinion that it was not worth in silver bullion more than 20s 8d, and in consequence of an address from the House of Commons its current value was on December 22nd, 1717, reduced to 21s. The same proclamation ordered that the ancient gold coins of the kingdom which had been current at 23s 6d (which would be the unites from 1619 to 1661, the weight of which was 140 20/41grs.) should be received at 23s and no more, and those which had been current at 25s 6d (which would be the two first unites of James I, 1604 to 1619) at 25s and no more. The only other alterations in the coins during this reign were the issuing quarter guineas for the first time in 1718, and the changes in the royal arms and titles. The following is a description of the coins.

FIVE GUINEAS. Bust to right, laureate, a loop and one end of the tie appear behind, hair long and curly, one lock drawn forward on the shoulder, no drapery. GEORGIVS. D. G. M. BR. FR. ET. HIB. REX. F. D. Rev, four shields crosswise, each crowned; England and Scotland impaled above, France to right, Ireland below, the shield of the Electorate to the left; in the centre, between the shields, is the star of the Garter, from which issue four sceptres, terminating respectively in an orb, thistle, lis, and harp. BRVN ET. L. DVX S. R. I. A. TH ET. EL. with the date. On the edge DECVS ET TVTAMEN ANNO REGNI, &c. The meaning of the reverse legend is ‘Brunsvicensis et Lunenburgensis Dux, Sancti Romani Imperii Archi-Thesaurarius et Elector.” The F B on the obverse for Fidei Defensor appears now for the first time on the coins, though the title had been used on the great seal ever since it had been granted by the Pope to Henry VIII. The dates of the five-guinea pieces are 1716 SECVNDO; 1717 TERTIO; 1720 SEXTO; 1726 DECIMO TERTIO. The D upon the edge of the coin of 1717, and the Ns on that of 1726, are turned upside down. On those of 1716 and 1717 there is a cross before Decus and after Tutamen. (149) Rud. xvii. 12. All in MB.

TWO GUINEAS. Like the five guineas, but the edge milled with oblique lines, not inscribed. 1717, 1720, 1726. Rud. xvii. 13. All in MB.

GUINEAS. Bust to right, similar to that on the five guineas, laureate, two ends of the tye but no loop appearing behind, hair long and curly but not brought forward upon the shoulder, no drapery. GEORGIVS. D. G. MAG. BR. FR. ET. HIB. REX. F. D. Rev, like the five guineas but legend BRVN. ET LVN. DVX S. R. I. A. TH. ET PR. EL. 1714. Edge milled with oblique lines. (150) Rud. xvii. 16. MB. rare. The obverse of this is of much better workmanship than the other coins of this reign, and in higher relief. The letters PR mean Prince and appear on no other coins.

The next guineas resemble the five guineas, except that the edge is milled with oblique lines, not inscribed, and that two ends of the tye and no ioop appear behind. 1715, there are two different busts of this date, one larger and in rather less relief than the other. (151) (152) MB. The rest of this type have a head rather larger than either of those of 1715, and the tye has a loop and only one end. 1716, 1717, 1718, 1719, 1720, 1721; 1721 with elephant and castle below the bust; 1722, 1723. (153) Rud. xvii. 14, 18. MB. The following have a bust similar to the preceding, but the back of the neck is more bare, the hair curls back from the side of the face, and no lock is brought forward upon the shoulder; the tye has two ends and no loop, the face is older, and the relief higher. Dates 1723, 1724, 1725, 1726, 1726 with elephant and castle, 1727. All in MB.

There is also a guinea of 1727 with reverse from the same die as the last, and with the same obverse legend, but with a very different bust, which, and especially the neck, is longer than on any of the previous pieces and in much higher relief; the laurel has no berries, and its points extend into and divide the legend, the hair is long and in four ringlets, one of which comes forward on the breast, as in the five guineas. This cannot have been engraved by Croker, who executed the other dies, and it is evidently the work of some young artist, but it is not known who he was. There is nothing to show that pieces from this die were ever in circulation, and it was very likely executed as a pattern by some pupil of Croker’s. MB.

HALF-GUINEAS. Resembling the guineas of 1715, dates 1717, 1718, 1719, 1722. Rud. xvii. 15. Resembling the guineas of 1724, dates 1725, 1726, 1727. (154) All in MB.

QUARTER GUINEAS. These are all dated 1718, and resemble the guineas of 1724. (155) Rud. xvii. 17. MB. They were coined, no doubt, to supply the want of small money occasioned by the great scarcity of silver currency which was felt at that time, but as they were the first of their kind, a great number seem to have been laid by as curiosities, and they did not enter into circulation to any very appreciable extent. The amount of them coined was only 210 lb., or £37,380.

5 guas. 2 guas. 1 gua. ½ gua. ¼ gua.
1714 Tye with two ends, PR.EL. +
1715 Tye with two ends, lock on shoulder +
1715 Similar, but larger head +
1716 Tye with loop and one end, lock on shoulder + +
1717 Tye with loop and one end, lock on shoulder + + +
1717 Tye with two ends, lock on shoulder +
1718 Tye with loop and one end, lock on shoulder +
1718 Tye with two ends, lock on shoulder +
1718 Tye with two ends, no lock on shoulder, old head +
1719 Tye with loop and one end, lock on shoulder +
1719 Tye with two ends +
1720 Tye with loop and one end + + +
1721 Tye with loop and one end +
1721 As last, elephant and castle under bust +
1722 Tye with loop and one end, lock on shoulder +
1722 Tye with two ends, lock on shoulder +
1723 Tye with loop and one end, lock on shoulder +
1723 Tye with two ends, no lock on shoulder, old head +
1724 Tye with two ends, no lock on shoulder, old head +
1725 Tye with two ends, no lock on shoulder, old head + +
1726 Tye with ioop and one end, lock on shoulder + +
1726 Tye with two ends, no lock on shoulder, old head + +
1726 As last, elephant and castle under bust +
1727 Tye with two ends, no lock on shoulder, old head + +
1727 Long head, long points to wreath, lock on shoulder   +

Anne (1701-1714) | Table of Contents | George II (1727-1760)


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