Scotland William III 1701 gold Half Pistole

Scotland William III 1701 gold Half Pistole

William II of Scotland (1694-1702), gold Half-Pistole, 1701, issued by the Darien Company, Scottish value of £6, laureate head left, rising sun over a sea below, Latin legend and toothed border surrounding, GVLIELMVS . DEI. GRATIA. rev. struck en medaille, crowned quartered shield of arms, crowned W to left, crowned R to right, Latin legend with date and toothed border surrounding, MAG. BRIT. FRA. ET. HIB. REX. 1701. edge grained, weight 3.41g (Burns 2 fig. 1079; S.5677). Toned, with rim nick and edge knock, dig behind bust, otherwise practically very fine, though with a good face, very rare, much rarer than the companion Pistole.

The Darien Company, formerly known as the Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies came into being in 1695 and was an attempt to form a Colony on the Panama Isthmus which was already predominately Spanish territory. Over the next few years three expeditions were sent with over nine fine ships sunk and over two thousand men, women and children never to return. The financial burden was so heavy it paved the way toward the eventual Union of England with Scotland in 1707. Before this, an expedition along the coast of Guinea to trade and raise money had brought back some 70 pounds in weight of unrefined gold dust aboard the "African Merchant" captained by one William Bell. The Privy Council ordered this gold dust to be refined and turned into a coinage, the tools for which were ordered of James Clark of the Scottish Mint on the 6th January 1701. The result was the extremely rare coinage of gold £12 and £6 pieces which honoured and displayed the badge of the Company of a rising sun over a sea. The coinage was supposed to represent a 10% profit for the company as the issue had an intrinsic value 10% below face value, however at least a third of the profit was lost in the refining process. The mintages resulting from this one time consignment of gold into the two denominations were very small compared to other coinage of the time, and represents the last gold currency coins issued in Scotland.



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