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Dictionary of the Coins of the World [G]

This is an ongoing work (one of those never-ending projects) consisting of a compilation of all known names used for coins from the ancient times to the present. Where possible, a description of coins of that name is given, as well as the most likely origin of the name, including translations. In many cases, links are made to pages which will show various examples of that denomination. Obviously, the images not all-inclusive but hopefully will give the user an idea of what some of the coin denominations looked like and how coins of the same name differ from country to country and through time.


Gabellotto - Variant name for the barile.

Gazetta - A small copper coin valued at ten centesimi.  It was minted from 1632 until the late eighteenth century by Venice for her colonies.  These colonies included Crete, several of the Ionian islands and much of the Dalmatian coast.  The gazetta weighed just under 5 grams and had a diameter of about 27 millimeters.  The obverse featured the winged lion of St. Mark—the patron saint of the Republic of Venice.  In the exergue were the letters II, signifying that the coin was equal to two soldi.  The reverse simply stated for which of the colonies the coin had been struck.  The coin did not carry a date.  Later, in 1801 when the Russians occupied the Ionian islands, another coin, also called a gazetta, was struck.  Unlike its Venetian namesake, this coin does feature a date.

{According to one legend, the first newspaper of Venice cost two soldi or one gazetta.  The name has stuck, and ever since, a newspaper has often been called a gazette.}

[Italian States-Venice]

Gazette - Plural of gazetta.

Genovini - Plural of genovino.

Genovino - A gold trade coin struck in Geona from the late 1250's until 1415.  Its weight was about 3.5 grams and it had a diameter of about 20 millimeters.  The central type of the obverse is a gate, which is a play on words since the Latin word for gate, ianua, and the name of the city, Genua, sound so much alike.  The reverse features the cross that is so common on coins of this time.  The early genovini had simple legends.  The obverse IANVA is simply a reference to the gate and the city.  The reverse carries the name of the Holy Roman Emperor Conrad III who first granted coinage rights to the city in 1139.  The coin remained almost unchanged until 1339, when the city no longer associated itself with The Holy Romam Empire.  After 1339, the legends on the genovini featured the title of the ruler of the city.  Strangely, though, they do not mention the ruler by name.  Rather the legend gives the ordinal position of the ruler, for example, DVX IANVESIVM PRIMVS or The First Doge of Genoa.

{From Latin ianua, Genua gate, Genoa.}

[Italian States-Genoa]

Genovoise - [Switzerland-Cantons]

Gentil - Also called a dobra gentil.  A gold coin of Ferdinand I (1367-1383) of Portugal depicting the King seated under a canopy on the obverse and the usual five shield reverse.  They were struck in Lisbon.

{From Portuguese gentil noble; see noble.}


George - Slang.  A coin bearing the Image of St George; a half crown.  (Yellow) george, a guinea.  Variant name of the English noble

{From English George referring to Saint George.}

[England, Great Britain]

George d'or - A gold coin of Brunswick-Luneburg, struck under George III of England (1760-1820).  The obverse features the bust of George, and the reverse shows arms.

{From George + d'or of gold.}

[German States]

George Florin - A gold coin of France having on the obverse St George on a horse and on the reverse, a cross in quadrilobe.


George Noble - A gold noble of England, struck under Henry VIII (1509-1547).  It features Saint George on horseback spearing a dragon.

{From Saint George + noble noble.}



Ghirsh - [Saudi Arabia, Sudan]

Gigliato - The carlino.  It took the name when, in 1303, it had on the reverse the croce accantonata of lilies.  The gigliato was imitated by the Grand Masters of Rhodes and by other mints, especially eastern.  Fiorino gigliato was how the florin of Florence with the lily emblem of the city was called.

{From Italian giglio lily.}

[Italian States-Naples, Italian States-Florence]

Gigot - Obsolete.  A small piece of money; the later French liard.  Equal to 6 mites.

{From French gigot lamb, leg of mutton???}

Gin - {From Japanese gin silver}


Giorgino - A coin of Modena valued at the fourth part of a lira.

[Italian States-Modena]

Girsh - Variant form of qirsh.

[Hejaz, Saudi Arabia]

Giulio - [Ferrara]


Goldflorin - Variant name of goldgulden.

Goldgulden - The name given to the German copy of the Florentine florin, introduced during the 14th century.  By a convention of 1386, 66 goldgulden were to be struck from a Cologne mark of gold, 23 carats fine (3.543 grams gross, 0.956 fine).  Before the end of the 15th century, however, the goldgulden had sunk so that, now, 107 were struck from 1 1/2 Cologne marks, 18 1/2 carats fine (3.28 grams gross, 0.772 fine).  It was replaced by the ducat in the next century.  Despite its supersession, the goldgulden appeared occasionally as late as the 18th century.


Gopik - Coin of Azerbaijan worth 1/100th manat.


Gosken - [German States]

Gosler - [German States]

Gourde - The Franco-American name for a dollar, in use in Louisiana, Cuba, Haiti, etc.  Also, a paper money and monetary unit of Haiti, equal to 100 centimes.

{From French noun use of feminine of gourd dull slow heavy from Latin gurdus dull obtuse.}



Gramos - [Bolivia]

Grams - [Afghanistan]

Grand Chevalier - A gold coin of Hainaut, struck by Count William III (1356-1389) showing on the obverse the William on a horse.  The reverse has a cross.

{From French chevalier knight.}

Grana - Plural of grano.

Grano - A small billion coin of Alfonso V (1442-1458) of Aragon struck for Naples and Sicily.

{From Italian grano grain.}

[Italian States-Sicily, Order of Malta]

Grave - A billion coin of Ferdinand I (1367-1383) of Portugal utilizing a crowned letter F as the reverse type.


Greschel - Variant form of groeschel.  Also greshl.

Greshl - Coin worth 3 haler.

Grivennik - A coin of Tsarist Russia equal to 1/10 ruble.

[Tsarist Russia]

Grivna - Cast ingot that was used for precious-metal exchange in 11th through 13th century Russia.


Groat - A four-pence coin of England and later Great Britain.

{From Middle English grote groot from Middle Danish groot grot modification of Middle High German gros from Middle Latin (denarius) grossus thick (denarius).}

[England, Great Britain]

Groeschel - Originally a small groschen, first struck in South Germany with the value of 2 kreuzers or 1/2 batzen.  In 1524, however, the name was given to the 1/84 thaler.  This small billion coin went out of circulation in Germany about 100 years later, but not before it had migrated to Silesia.  Silesian groeschel, minted as late as 1809 in 0.125 fine silver, were worth 3/4 kreuzer.

Groeschelein - Variant form of groeschel.

Groot - The Dutch grote.  It was worth 8 pfennig (4 duit) or 1/2 stuiver.  The groot and double groot were popular during the 14th and 15th centuries, but after that time, the groot was mostly a money of account and not coined.


Groschen - The first grosso, or large silver coin worth several denarii, was struck in Venice about 1200.  Its French counterpart, the gros tournois valued at 12 deniers, appeared in 1266.  By the 14th century most of the pricipal German states were striking versions of this coin, generally weighing about 2.5 grams, but broad (about 27 millimeters) and thin.  Usually, they were equivalent to 12 pfennigs, though this relationship varied according to the time and state.

At the outset of the thaler period in the late 15th century, most of the current 12-pfennig groschen were valued at 21 to the guldengroschen.  This ratio was confirmed by imperial edict in 1524, but in 1551 another edict upped the number to 24 groschen in the thaler.  In general this relationship held until 1821 when Prussia adopted a new unit, the silbergroschen, worth 12 pfennig or 1/30 thaler.  By 1837/38 most of the other German states accepted the new 30 to the thaler valuation for their groschen, though some called the unit neugroschen (saxony) or merely groschen, while others equated it to 12 hellers (Hesse-Cassel) or 10 pfennig (Saxony).

By 1873, when the last German groschen  was coined, the unit had shrunk to about 12 millimeters in diameter and was composed of extremely low-grade silver.  After 1873, the name groschen was unofficially transferred to the imperial nickel 10-pfennig  piece.  Officially, the groschen returned as the hundredth part of the Austrian schilling in 1923.

{From Middle High German dialect (Bohemia) grosch, grosche from Czech groš from Middle Latin grossus thick.}

[Austria, German States, Poland, Switzerland-Cantons]

Groscher - ? [German States]

Grosetto - [Italian States, Ragua, Lucca]

Groshen - [Austria]

Groshove - A silver coin of the Second Bulgarian Empire that imitated the Venetian grosso.

[Second Bulgarian Empire]

Grosso - A Portuguese coin also called alfonsim and real grosso.  A silver coin of Alfonso V of Portugal (1438-1481) valued at eleven dinheiros and utilizing the quartered lions and castles of Castile and Leon as the reverse type.  They were issued from several mints.

Also the name of an Italian coin...

[Italy, Portugal]

Grosso d'oro - A gold coin of Lucca, struck under Frederick II (1190-1250) having the bust of Christ facing or to the left on the obverse, and a monogram and name of Otto IV on the reverse.

{From Italian grosso grosso + d'oro of gold.}

[Italian States-Lucca]

Grosz - The name given to the Polish groschen, introduced about 1300 as the equivalent of 3 Teutonic Order schillings.  After the advent of the thaler in about 1500, the grosz was equated to the gulden and to the thaler at about the contemporary German rates.  Shortly afterwards, however, inflation set in.  The grosz and the gulden (zlot) maintained a more or less constant relationship of 15-18:1 with each other, but both sank rapidly with respect to the thaler  Because of this, by the mid 17th century the thaler, still struck at the German standard, was worth about 4 zlote.  Depreciation continued, so that at the time of the end of the Polish kingdom in the late 18th century, 8 zlote made one speciethaler.  In Prussian Poland 90 grosze equaled 6 zlote or 1 reichsthaler.  The Saxon grand duchy of Warsaw maintained this zlote-thaler ratio, but increased the number of grosze in the zlot  to 30.  Under the Russians, the value of the zlot dropped to 15 kopecks or 1/10 thaler, so that the grosz equaled 1/300 thaler.  After 1848 Poland ceased to have its own coinage, and when it was again resumed in 1923, 100 grosze were set equal to one zlot.

{From Polish from Czech groš from Middle Latin grossus thick.}


Grosze - Plural form of grosz.

Groszy - Plural form of grosz.

Grote - A small groschen used along the North Sea coast from the early 14th century until 1873.  It was originally coined as the 32nd part of the Bremen mark and it equaled 5 schwaren in and around Bremen and 8 pfennigs in Holland.  As usual, inflation set in, but by the mid 17th century the grote was stabilized at 72 to the thaler, where it remained until the formation of the German Empire.  During this period, the grote was a billion coin of about 16 millimeters in diameter and weighting 0.7 gram.

[German States]

Groten - [German States]

Guarani - Plural guaranis.  A paper money and monetary unit of Paraguay equal to 100 centimes.

{From Spanish after Guarani the indians of the region.}


Guaranies - [Paraguay]

Guerche - [Egypt]

Guilder - Dutch gulden or florin.


Guilders - [Guyana, Netherlands Antilles]

- A gold coin worth twenty-one shillings.  It was minted from 1663 to 1813.

{So called because it was first minted from gold brought back from Guinea.}

[Great Britain, Saudi Arabia]

Gulden - A contraction of the names guldenar and guldengroschen, proper titles of the silver equivalent of the goldgulden, first struck in 1484 in the Austrian Tyrol.  From its inception, the gulden was set equal to 60 kreuzer, and this ratio remained constant until 1857, though the value of both gulden and kreuzer soon sank in unison with respect to the thaler.

[Austria, Curacao, Indonesia, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Netherlands East Indies, Poland, Surinam, Switzerland-Cantons]

Guldenar - Variant names of the guldengroschen and guldenthaler.

Guldengroschen - The original name of the first dollar-sized silver coin.  It was struck in 1484 in the Tyrol, gross weight 31.94 grams, 15/16 fine.  It was designed as the silver equivalent of the goldgulden, valued at 60 kreuzers in current coin.  The guldengroschen was by weight the predecessor of the thaler, while by name it was the ancestor of the gulden.

[German States]

Guldenthaler - A guldengroschen first struck by the counts of Schlick at Joachimsthal, Bohemia, in 1519.  Because of its fine quality, this coin gained wide acceptance, and its name "joachimsthaler guldengroschen," soon contracted to guldenthaler, supplanted that of guldengroschen and was the origin of our word dollar.

[German States]

Guigino - ? [Italian States]

Gunmoney - Coins produced by James II in his attempt to regain the throne of Ireland in 1689-1690.  These six pence, shilling, half and full crowns were struck in base metal taken from the melting of old cannon.  Upon Jame's restoration, they were to be exchanged for good money.  They had the month as well as the year of their issue stamped upon them.


Gute Groschen - Good + groschen

[German States]

Gute Kreuzer - Good + kreuzer

[German States]

Gute Pennig - Good + Penning

[German States]

Guter Groschen - [German States-Wolfenbuttel]

Guyennois - A gold coin of Aquitaine, struck under Edward III (1317-1355) and Edward, the Black Prince (1355-1375).  The obverse has the ruler walking, and the reverse has a cross.

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