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BM01205

William III 1701 "Fine work" Five Guineas

William III (1694-1702), gold Five Guineas, 1701, fine work style with ornamental sceptres on reverse, laureate head right, abbreviated Latin legend and toothed border surrounding, GVLIELMVS. III. DEI. GRA. rev. crowned cruciform shields, ornamental sceptres in angles, Lion of Nassau at centre, date either side of top crown, abbreviated Latin legend and toothed border surrounding, .MAG BR.FRA ET.HIB REX, edge inscribed in raised letters, inverted orientation to obverse, +DECVS. ET. TVTAMEN. ANNO. REGNI. DECIMO. TERTIO+, weight 41.90g (MCE 172; S.3456). Dig on cheek and short hairline on face, a few other light ticks or marks, some flecking inherent in the flan on the reverse, otherwise retaining mint brilliance with a light overtone, touch of friction to the high points of the hair only, otherwise extremely fine and very desirable, the ornamental sceptre reverse much rarer than the more common plain version.

The Samuel King Survey co-written by this cataloguer and published in May 2005 recorded the 1701 fine work Five Guineas as one of the most prolific whilst being highly desirable for the detailed design, with a wholesome rendition of William of Orange. 256 examples of the 1701 piece were recorded in commerce over a 45 year period, though a breakdown of sceptre variety was not possible. The Samuel King Collection only contained a plain sceptre variety and from a quick straw poll of what is demonstrated on coin archives over a 15 year period it seems the plain sceptre variety outnumbers the ornamental version significantly.

In fact for every eight plain sceptre coin you see one ornamental reverse variety.

The abbreviated Latin legends translate as "William the third by the grace of God" on the obverse, and "King of Great Britain, France and Ireland" on the reverse; with the Latin on the edge meaning "an ornament and a safeguard in the thirteenth year of the reign."

The old claim to the French Kingdom dating back to the time of the Wars of the Roses, when King Henry VI had regnal jurisdiction over a portion of France, and a number of Mints including Paris. Subsequently the last French possession of Calais had been physically lost in the time of Mary Tudor on January 7th 1557/8.

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