Gold coin: Denomination: 5 Guineas
Tower Mint, London
King William III (1694-1702)

For reasons of politics Mary, daughter of James II, had married William of Orange, Charles II nephew and left England to live with him. On the death of Charles his brother James became King but soon lost control. Mary and her husband were invited to England to take over the throne. Mary died from smallpox on 28 December 1694 and William then ruled alone as William III.

The legend on the coin reads as a single title from front to back, it translates: William III by the Grace of God King of Great Britain, France and Ireland. The elephant and castle below the King's bust indicates that the gold used to strike this coin was supplied by the Africa Company.

At the beginning of William's sole reign the current value of the guinea, originally 20 shillings, was 30 shillings. In 1696 to remedy this it was decided that old silver coins (including all coins made by the old 'hammered' method) would be removed and re-coined. As the quality new silver coins became available the value of the guinea was gradually reduced until 1698 when it stood at 21 shilllings and 6 pence. It remained at that value until 1717 when it was reduced again to its final value of 21 shillings.

Obverse Description

Laureate head of William III right; below, elephant and castle; around, GVLIELMVS . III . DEI . GRA.

Reverse Description

Crowned shields of England, Scotland, Ireland and France forming a cross shape, with the arms of the House Nassau at the centre. In the angles between the shields are four sceptres with different heads, an orb, a thistle, a lis and a harp; around, MAG. BR. FRA ET. HIB REX 1699, the date being divided by the crown above the English arms.

Edge Description

In raised lettering, +..+ DECVS . ET . TVTAMEN . ANNO . REGNI . UNDECIMO

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