Coin Hunter


The golden guinea, a coin with real prestige, commemorated on the 2013 UK £2 coin

Celebrate the anniversary of the guinea with a coinage first

200 years have passed since the guinea was last struck, but the romance of the coin endures. Steeped in mystique, from its fabled one pound and one shilling value to its association with the gentleman, gentility and good taste, the guinea was the principal gold coin of Britain for centuries. Now, for the first time ever, we celebrate one coin with another – in a commemorative £2 coin that proudly bears the iconic ‘Spade Guinea’ design of 1787 to mark the 350th anniversary of the guinea’s first striking.

350th anniversary of the first minting of the guinea

To celebrate the 350th anniversary of the first minting of the guinea, the 2013 UK £2 Coin is presented in a fittingly elegant pack that tells the story of this beloved coin. Housing a coin struck to sparkling Brilliant Uncirculated standard, the pack charts the guinea’s history from its name to the monarchs it served, its place in tradition right up to the modern day, where it still lends prestige to the sport of kings in horse races like the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.

The inscription ‘Anniversary of the Golden Guinea’ surrounds the reverse design of this £2 coin by sculptor Anthony Smith, who has recreated one of the most famous guinea designs: a shield with the arms of King George III, known as the Spade Guinea. It was nicknamed for the shape of its shield that so resembled the humble garden tool – the Spade Guinea would become hugely popular, rumoured to be sought after by the country set and often reproduced in brass even a hundred years later. The edge of the coin is finished with a tribute from contemporary writer, Stephen Kemble, ‘What is a guinea? ‘Tis a splendid thing.’

Since the guinea has not been struck since 1813, when it fell victim to the gold-hoarding that accompanied the Napoleonic Wars, the chance to add a little of this famous coin’s romantic history – a history that denotes gentility, prestige and taste – to your own collection, or to gift it to someone dear, is a special occasion indeed.

Images and text: © The Royal Mint Limited