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HM32230

George I 1714 'Prince Elector' Guinea, one year type, first year for reign

Regular price £6,500
Regular price Sale price £6,500

George I (1714-27),gold Guinea, 1714, "Prince Elector" type, first laureate head right, Latin legend and toothed border surrounding, GEORGIVS. D.G. MAG.BR.FR. ET. HIB. REX. F.D.,rev.first reverse with Prince Elector title, crowned cruciform shields, incorporating the Arms of Hanover, sceptres in angles, garter star at centre, date either side of tope crown, Latin legend and toothed border surrounding, BRVN. ET LVN. DVX S.R.I.A.TH ET. PR. EL., edge milled, weight 8.27g (Schneider 544; Bull EGC 502; Farey 0580; MCE 245; S.3628). Toned with traces of lustre in the recesses, some wear to the high points, otherwise a pleasing example on a fully rounded flan with clear definitive legends and a good portrait, almost very fine, reverse better with a fully struck up garter star, rare.

This one year only type represents an unusual juncture in the date of the British coinage where the last issue of the previous monarch Queen Anne is of the matching date 1714 and is the only denomination of George I to be dated 1714, he having ascended the throne on the 1stAugust 1714 with the Coronation on the 20thOctober. The output of gold during this year was the largest of the reign with a calendar year output for the whole of 1714 of £1,313,907.

These gold Guineas are the only coins to carry the "Prince Elector" title. The Latin legends translates as on the obverse "George, by the grace of God, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith" and on the reverse "Duke of Brunswick and Luneberg, High Treasurer and Prince Elector of the Holy Roman Empire."

Following the Glorious Revolution of 1688, James II and his wife, Mary of Modena, fled to the continent in an attempt to escape capture from Anglo-Dutch forces. The 1689 Bill of Rights declared that this escape effectively amounted to an abdication of the throne. James's daughter Mary II succeeded alongside her husband William III, Prince of Orange, re-establishing Protestant supremacy in Britain. The Bill of Rights also dictated that the line of succession would go through the Protestant descendants of William and Mary, and failing that through her sister Anne and her descendents. There was talk of including another line, the Hanoverians, but this was deemed to be unnecessary at the time.

Over a decade later, however, the issue returned to the forefront of British politics. Having died without producing an heir in 1694, Mary II's husband never remarried nor produced an heir of his own. In addition, Anne, by now 36, had recently lost her son William, Duke of Gloucester aged 11 who had been the only child to survive his first decade of life in contrast to Anne's twelve miscarriages, as well as four other babies who didn't make it past infancy. Upon the death of Prince William it became clear that the issue of succession needed to be reassessed to ensure James II and his Jacobite descendants didn't try and reclaim the throne without resistance. In February 1701, Parliament established the Act of Settlement, coming into effect on the 17th June. This replaced the Bill of Rights by including the Hanoverian branch through Anne's cousin Sophia Electress of Hanover.

Sophia of Hanover born in 1630 was the closest living Protestant relative to Anne and Mary II through her maternal line with her mother, Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia, being the eldest daughter of James I/VI. However, by the time of her becoming the heir assumptive to the British throne, however, Sophia was already in her 70s. She had lived a long and healthy life given the time period but did not ever accede to the throne dying on the 8th June 1714 not long before Queen Anne herself, who died on the 1st August 1714. The throne thus went to Sophia's son, the little known Prince George Ludwig of Hanover. George was understandably an unknown figure in Britain, with few people having ever heard of him, even amongst the aristocracy and political establishment who helped secure his accession.

George's accession and rapidly arranged Coronation was initially marked by widespread civil disobedience in England and parts of Scotland. From the death of Queen Anne until the summer of 1715, major rioting broke out across the country. The largest were the Coronation Riots in October 1714, and the Summer Riots of 1715, whereby Anglican traditionalists and Jacobite sympathisers attacked pro-Hanoverian meeting houses and churches. The riots were also in protest of the new Whig government, who, after winning the 1715 General Election overwhelmingly supported the new King. The riots occurred on symbolic days: the 28th May being George I's birthday, the 29th being the Anniversary of the Restoration, and the 10th June being the birthday of James Francis Edward Stuart, the famed Jacobite Old Pretender. Order was finally reestablished thanks to the passing of the Riot Act in August that year; and for the remainder of George's reign, any civil disobedience in England at least was largely restrained.

Initially though, in an urgent attempt to get his name and likeness out to the public as soon as possible, the Royal Mint ordered the striking of a Guinea to be made almost immediately after the death of the late Queen, perhaps in time for the imminent coronation. This one year only type represents an unusual juncture in the traditional dating of British coinage, with the last issue of the previous monarch matching date of their successor. What the Guinea is perhaps most known for, however, is the inclusion of the title 'Prince Elector' in the heavily abbreviated reverse legend.

GEORGIVS. D.G. MAG.BR.FR. ET. HIB. REX. F.D. BRVN. ET LVN. DVX S.R.I.A.TH ET. PR. EL.

The Latin legend translates in full as "George by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, Duke of Brunswick and Luneberg, High Treasurer and Prince Elector of the Holy Roman Empire.' All future issues of George's coinage omit Prince Elector, though he retained the title de jure throughout his reign.

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