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FM21237

George III 1813 "Military" Guinea AU55, final year of denomination

Regular price £9,250
Regular price Sale price £9,250

George III (1760-1820),gold "Military" Guinea, 1813, sixth laureate head right, legend surrounding, GEORGIVS III DEI GRATIA,rev.quartered shield of arms within crowned garter, French legend on garter HONI. SOIT. QUI. MAL. Y. PENSE, date below, legend commences upper right, BRITANNIARUM REX FIDEI DEFENSOR (Schneider 613; Bull EGC 737; Farey 1390; S.3730).Toned with light surface marks, has been slabbed and graded by NGC as AU55.

NGC certification 6318356-003.

The Guinea in popular culture immediately puts forward twee evocations of Hanoverian London, perhaps more accurately Hogarth's 'A Rake's Progress' [1732-34], or neo-classical Georgian stately homes. We have seen it cross referenced in plays, poems, art and costume drama. Famously in Dicken's 'Great Expectations' Miss Haversham had paid Joe the sum of twenty-five Guineas for Pip to commence his apprenticeship. The pound note was officially the currency of the time and the penultimate Guinea had been struck in 1799, before the "Military" Guinea made its appearance in 1813, fourteen years later as the last Guinea ever struck.

Challis in the 'History of the Royal mint' mentions the following in relation to Gold at the time "Domestic demand for gold coin remained negligible with the continuing suspension of cash payments - a few half and third guineas were coined in the closing months of 1811. No Gold was struck in 1812, but the following year saw a demand for more than £500,000 in Guineas - to meet the needs of the allied armies advancing against Napoleon." Hence the byname of 'Military' Guinea. The 1813 Guinea ultimately was only struck for this reason, to pay for and assist Wellington's army.

A series of interesting Patterns dated 1813 had also been put forward one of which dated as early as 1804 went forward for use as currency, the rationale being clear; that during the later recoinage of 1816 the denomination would ideally continue though in real terms we witnessed the introduction of the Sovereign from 1817. William Wellesley Pole, Master of the Mint at the time had been in favour of the Guinea, however the majority support of the House of Commons was for a 20 shilling denomination - naturally ushering in the Sovereign.

Logistically, the following data has been put forward: 7,455 pounds weight of gold was minted in London in 1813 into Anglo-Hanoverian Five Thaler pieces, for the use of the Kings electorate at Brunswick Luneberg in the process of being liberated by the British forces which occurred by 1815. A total of £519,722 worth of gold Guineas, Half-Guineas and Third-Guineas were struck in this calendar year which was the largest output since 1804, and there was no gold output at all in 1807 or 1812.

Numismatically important the Military Guinea of 1813 is the last Guinea struck with a nominal value of twenty-one shillings, just four dates shy of the great recoinage the denomination is then replaced by the twenty shilling milled Sovereign of 1817, at the same fineness but slightly lower weight of 7.98g. Based on Nathaniel Marchant's work on the Half-Guinea and Third-Guinea busts from 1804 the design was engraved by Lewis Pingo for a pattern in 1804 which led to the currency issue of 1813 as well as proofs of that year, being the last guinea was struck at 44½ to the pound troy, giving a standard weight of 24/89 troy ounce (129.4 grains).

Biographical Notes:

Lewis Pingo [1743-1830] : engraver and medallist of Camberwell, South London. Fourth son to Thomas Pingo. Assistant engraver at the mint 1776, Chief engraver 1799-1815, though his hand had reportedly become infirm by 1811 and had to be supervised. Perhaps best known for the Guinea patterns that led to the Military Guinea and the earlier Copper Pattern 1788 Halfpenny and Farthing with a standing Britannia.

Nathaniel Marchant (1738/9-1816) Medallist and Gem Engraver of New Somerset House worked and studied in Italy 1772-88, Associate of the Royal Academy 1791 and Fellow as of 1809, appointed probationer engraver 1797 and later second engraver to Lewis Pingo. Appointed His Majesty's Engraver of Seals in 1801 and his effigy of the King adapted for the gold currency coinage from 1804-13. Declining an appointment in the move to the new Tower Hill Mint in 1812 he was superannuated in 1815 due to poor health.

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