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FM21256

William III 1701 Half-Guinea, final year for reign

Regular price £1,950
Regular price Sale price £1,950

William III (1694-1702), gold Half-Guinea, 1701, first laureate head right, legend surrounding, GVLIELMVS. III.DEI. GRA., toothed border around rim both sides, rev. crowned cruciform shields, sceptres in angles, lion of Nassau at centre, later harp in Irish arms, date either side of top crown, MAG. BR. FRA. ET. HIB. REX. weight 4.14g (Schneider 522; Bull EGC 422; MCE 196; S.3468). Toned, with a pleasing red tinge to reverse, streak of back across front of bust otherwise good fine, reverse better.

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

The gold output was very high in 1701 at £1,190,019 worth of gold coins produced across the four denominations of that year. Sir Isaac Newton was by now the Master Worker of the Mint since 1699 and had applied his mind to the problem of circulating foreign gold coin in the UK which was prevalent at this time with French Louis d'Or and Spanish Pistoles both circulating in commerce at 17/6d each when compared to a freshly minted Guinea at 21/6d. Newton tested the worn foreign coin and typically found it to be worth 17/1d and emphasised to the Treasury secretary that such coin was merely bullion and not official coin of the realm. A resulting Proclamation of 5th February 1701 brought the value of the foreign coin down to 17 Shillings, with the consequence that many were sent to the Mint for converting to current coin, and some £1,400,000 worth accounted for more or less the whole coinage of 1701 and 1702.

This would explain why the five guinea of this year is the most common for the whole denomination with two reverse varieties, with the two guineas and half-guineas perhaps the hardest denominations to find, the latter being not a fine work issue. The Guinea dated 1701 comes with two different busts of which this coin herewith is an example of the more commonly seen. There was also a small output of rare Royal African Company Guineas with the elephant and castle provenance mark dated 1701.

Provenance:

Ex Spink Coin Auction, 27th March 2018, lot 23.

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