Top Guinea Coins

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Top Guinea Coins

British gold coins known as guineas were minted in the United Kingdom between 1663 and 1814. They were originally worth 20 shillings, or one pound sterling. During the Great Recoinage of 1816, the sovereign replaced the guinea and gold guinea coins became popular collector's items. Buyers should learn to identify the era of top guineas from the head of the monarch, year, and characteristics of the coins in order to choose authentic and valuable items.


17th Century Guinea Coins

John Roettier designed the original gold guinea from 1631 to 1700. One side of the coin featured the face of King Charles II, while the other featured four crowned shields bearing English, Scottish, French, and Irish arms. From 1685 to 1688 guineas essentially remained the same, but featured the face of King James II. Some of these coins had the elephant and castle mark. The reign of Queen Mary and Prince William, from 1689 to 1694, saw their faces on the country's guineas.

 

18th and 19th Century Guinea Coins

After the death of Queen Mary, King William III produced guineas until 1701. From 1702 to 1714, Queen Anne coins were minted, and these guineas are still quite valuable. Five different portraits of King George I featured on guinea coins from 1714 until 1727. In 1721, 1722, and 1726 the coins had the elephant and castle mark. King George II minted guineas from 1727 to 1760, except in the years 1742, 1744, 1754, and 1757. King George III's first design of the guinea was minted from 1761 until 1786, except the years 1762 and 1780. A second design, known as the spade guinea, was produced from 1787 until 1799. King George III minted the last guinea in 1813 to finance the Peninsular War.


Most Valuable Guineas

Of all the guineas minted, some are scarce, rare, or very rare and, therefore, extremely valuable. The following are among the most valuable in existence:
 

Monarch

Year

Coin Description

Rarity

Charles II

1663

Plain

Scarce

Charles II

1668, 1677, 1678

Elephant

Scarce

Charles II

1674

Elephant and castle

Scarce

Charles II

1664

Elephant

Rare

James II

1686

Elephant and castle

Scarce

William and Mary

1693

Elephant

Elephant and castle

Scarce

William III

1696, 1699

Elephant and castle

Scarce

William III

1701

Elephant and castle

Rare

Anne

1703

Vigo

Very Rare

Anne

1707

Elephant and castle

Later, the queen on the obverse

Scarce

Anne

1708

Plain

Scarce


When looking for rare coins, ensure that you check any potential purchases carefully to ensure that they are authentic. Use the monarch, year, and description as a guide.


Identifying Valuable Guinea Coins

In addition to a guinea's age, buyers should consider its condition. The closer the coin is to mint condition, the more valuable it becomes. If an old coin appears to be dirty, it is better to have it appraised before it is cleaned because cleaning could affect its value.

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