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EM17898

James II 1685 Guinea Elephant and Castle below first bust AU55

James II (1685-88), gold Guinea, 1685, struck from 22 carat gold supplied by the African Company, elephant and castle below first laureate head left, Latin legend and toothed border surrounding both sides, IACOBVS. II. DEI. GRATIA, rev. crowned cruciform shields, emblematic sceptres in angles, four interlinked Cs at centre, date either side of top crown, .MAG. BR. FRA. ET. HIB REX. weight 8.41g (Schneider 456; Farey 265 R; MCE 124 VR; Bull EGC 322 R2; S.3401). Light red copper tone, some dark blemishes on reverse, otherwise practically extremely fine, has been graded and slabbed by NGC as AU55, very rare.

NGC Certification 5880730-002.

The Latin legends translate as on the obverse "James the Second, by the Grace of God," and abbreviated on the reverse as "King of Great Britain, France and Ireland."

The elephant and castle provenance mark is indicative of being issued by the "Royal African Company of England" as it had been so reconstructed by the Duke of York from 1672. The "R.A.C." was quite a success trading with Africa and the New World through the 1670s and 1680s. For further reading see the new publication by Graham Birch "The Metal in Britain's Coins" Chapter Three - The Royal African Company and the Golden Guineas p.33-57.

The total gold output for the calendar year of 1685 totalled £537,338 which was the second lowest of this short reign. Thomas Snelling in his 1763 publication "A View of the Gold Coin and Coinage of England from Henry the Third to the Present Time" reproduces a table from the London Advertiser of 23rd January 1755 which heralds that £46,066 of gold coin was struck from the company in 1685, meaning if accurate that less than 10% of the total output was elephant and castle marked gold coins.

Provenance:

Ex A H Baldwin and Sons, purchased 1944 for £15.

Ex Slaney Collection, part I, Spink Coin Auction, 15th May 2003, lot 72.

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