The guinea was a coin of approximately one quarter ounce of gold that was minted in Great Britain between 1663 and 1814. The name came from the Guinea region in West Africa, where much of the gold used to make the coins originated. It was the first English machine-struck gold coin, originally worth one pound sterling, equal to twenty shillings, but rises in the price of gold relative to silver caused the value of the guinea to increase, at times to as high as thirty shillings. From 1717 to 1816, its value was officially fixed at twenty-one shillings.
When Britain adopted the gold standard the guinea became a colloquial or specialised term. Although the coin itself no longer circulated, the term guinea survived as a unit of account in some fields. Notable usages included professional fees (medical, legal etc), which were often invoiced in guineas, and horse racing and greyhound racing, and the sale of rams. In each case a guinea meant an amount of one pound and one shilling (21 shillings), or one pound and five pence (£1.05) in decimalised currency. The name also forms the basis for the Arabic word for the Egyptian pound الجنيه el-Genēh / el-Geni, as a sum of 100 qirsh (one pound) was worth approximately 21 shillings at the end of the 19th century.
The first guinea was produced on 6 February 1663; a proclamation of 27 March 1663 made the coins legal currency. One troy pound of 11⁄12 (0.9133) fine gold (22 carat or 0.9167 pure by weight) would make 44 1⁄2 guineas, each thus theoretically weighing 129.438 grains (8.385 grams crown gold, 7.688 grams fine gold, or 0.247191011 troy ounces fine gold).
The denomination was originally worth one pound, or twenty shillings, but an increase in the price of gold during the reign of King Charles II led to the market trading it at a premium. The price of gold continued to increase, especially in times of trouble, and by the 1680s, the coin was worth 22 shillings. Indeed, in his diary entries for 13 June 1667, Samuel Pepys records that the price was 24 to 25 shillings.
The diameter of the coin was 1 in (25.4 mm) throughout Charles II's reign, and the average gold purity (from an assay done in 1773 of samples of the coins produced during the preceding year) was 0.9100. "Guinea" was not an official name for the coin, but much of the gold used to produce the early coins came from Guinea in Africa.
The coin was produced each year between 1663 and 1684, with the elephant appearing on some coins each year from 1663 to 1665 and 1668, and the elephant and castle on some coins from 1674 onward. The elephant, with or without the castle, symbolises the Royal African Company (founded in 1660), whose activities on the Guinea Coast of Africa resulted in the importation of much gold into England.
The obverse and reverse of this coin were designed by John Roettier (1631–c. 1700). The obverse showed a fine right-facing bust of the king wearing a laurel wreath (amended several times during the reign), surrounded by the legend CAROLVS II DEI GRATIA ("Charles II by the grace of God"), while the reverse showed four crowned cruciform shields bearing the arms of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, between which were four sceptres, and in the centre were four interlinked "C"s, surrounded by the inscription MAG BR FRA ET HIB REX ("Of Great Britain, France, and Ireland King"). The edge was milled to deter clipping or filing, and to distinguish it from the silver half-crown which had edge lettering. Until 1669 the milling was perpendicular to the edge, giving vertical grooves, while from 1670 the milling was diagonal to the edge.
John Roettier continued to design the dies for this denomination in the reign of King James II. In this reign, the coins weighed 8.5 g (0.30 oz) with a diameter of 25–26 mm (0.98–1.02 in), and were minted in all years between 1685 and 1688, with an average gold purity of 0.9094. Coins of each year were issued both with and without the elephant and castle mark. The king's head faces left in this reign, and is surrounded by the inscription IACOBVS II DEI GRATIA ("James II by the grace of God"), while the reverse is the same as in Charles II's reign except for omitting the interlinked "C"s in the centre of the coin. The edge of the coins are milled diagonally.
With the removal of James II in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, his daughter Mary and her husband Prince William of Orange reigned jointly as co-monarchs. Their heads appear conjoined on the guinea piece in Roman style, with William's head uppermost, with the legend GVLIELMVS ET MARIA DEI GRATIA ("William and Mary by the grace of God"). In a departure from the previous reigns, the reverse featured a totally new design of a large crowned shield which bore the arms of England and France in the first and fourth quarters, of Scotland in the second quarter, and of Ireland in the third quarter, the whole ensemble having a small shield in the centre bearing the rampant lion of Nassau; the legend on the obverse read MAG BR FR ET HIB REX ET REGINA (Of "Magna Britannia" Great Britain, "Francia" France and "Hibernia" Ireland King and Queen) and the year. By the early part of this reign the value of the guinea had increased to nearly 30 shillings. The guineas of this reign weighed 8.5 g (0.30 oz), were 25–26 mm (0.98–1.02 in) in diameter, and were the work of James and Norbert Roettier. They were produced in all years between 1689 and 1694 both with and without the elephant and castle; in 1692 and 1693 the mark of the elephant alone was also used.
Following the death of Queen Mary from smallpox in 1694, William continued to reign as William III. The guinea coin was produced in all years from 1695 to 1701, both with and without the elephant and castle, the design probably being the work of Johann Crocker, also known as John Croker, since James Roettier had died in 1698 and his brother Norbert had moved to France in 1695.
The coins of William III's reign weighed 8.4 g (0.30 oz) with an average gold purity of 0.9123. The diameter was 25–26 mm (0.98–1.02 in) until 1700 and 26–27 mm (1.02–1.06 in) in 1701. William's head faces right on his coins, with the legend GVLIELMVS III DEI GRATIA, while the reverse design of William and Mary's reign was judged to be unsuccessful, so the design reverted to that used by Charles II and James II, but with a small shield with the lion of Nassau in the centre, with the legend MAG BR FRA ET HIB REX and the year. The coin had a diagonal milled edge.
The reign of Queen Anne (1702–1714) produced guineas in all years between 1702 and 1714 except for 1704. The 1703 guinea bears the word VIGO under the Queen's bust, to commemorate the origin of the gold taken from Spanish ships captured at the Battle of Vigo Bay.
With the Acts of Union 1707 creating a unified Kingdom of Great Britain through the union of the Parliament of Scotland with the Parliament of England, the design of the reverse of the first truly British guinea was changed. Until the Union, the cruciform shields on the reverse showed the arms of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland in order, separated by sceptres and with a central rose, and the legend MAG BR FRA ET HIB REG ("Of Great Britain, France, and Ireland Queen") and the year. With the Act of Union, the English and Scottish arms appear conjoined on one shield, with the left half being the English arms and the right half being the Scottish arms, and the order of arms appearing on the shields becomes England and Scotland, France, England and Scotland, Ireland. The elephant and castle can appear on the coins of 1708 and 1709. The centre of the reverse design shows the Star of the Order of the Garter.
The coins weighed 8.3 g (0.29 oz), were 25 mm (0.98 in) in diameter, and had a gold purity of 0.9134. The edge of the coin is milled diagonally.
King George I's guinea coins were struck in all years between 1714 and 1727, with the elephant and castle sometimes appearing in 1721, 1722, and 1726. His guineas are notable for using five different portraits of the king, and the 1714 coin is notable for declaring him to be Prince Elector of the Holy Roman Empire. The coins weighed 8.3–8.4 grams, were 25–26 millimetres in diameter, and the average gold purity was 0.9135.
The 1714 obverse shows the right-facing portrait of the king with the legend GEORGIVS D G MAG BR FR ET HIB REX F D ("George, by the grace of God of Great Britain, France, and Ireland King, Fidei Defensor"), while the later coins bear the legend GEORGIVS D G M BR FR ET HIB REX F D. The reverse follows the same general design as before, except the order of the shields is England and Scotland, France, Ireland, and Hanover, with the legend in 1714 BRVN ET LVN DUX S R I A TH ET PR EL ("Duke of Brunswick and Lueneburg, Arch-Treasurer and Prince Elector of the Holy Roman Empire") and the year, and in other years BRVN ET L DUX S R I A TH ET EL ("Duke of Brunswick and Lueneburg, Arch-Treasurer and Elector of the Holy Roman Empire") and the year. The edge of the coin is milled diagonally.
The value of the guinea had fluctuated over the years from 20 to 30 shillings and back down to 21 shillings and sixpence by the start of George's reign. In 1717, Great Britain adopted the gold standard, at a rate of one guinea to 129.438 grains (8.38 g, 0.30 oz) of crown gold, which was 22 carat gold, and a royal proclamation in December of the same year fixed the value of the guinea at 21 shillings.
King George II's guinea pieces are a complex issue, with eight obverses and five reverses used through the 33 years of the reign. The coins were produced in all years of the reign except 1742, 1744, 1754, and 1757. The coins weighed 8.3–8.4 g (0.29–0.30 oz), and were 25–26 mm (0.98–1.02 in) in diameter except for some of the 1727 coins which were 24–25 mm. The average gold purity was 0.9140. Some coins issued between 1729 and 1739 carry the mark EIC under the king's head, to indicate the gold was provided by the East India Company, while some 1745 coins carry the mark LIMA to indicate the gold came from Admiral George Anson's round-the-world voyage. In the early part of the reign the edge of the coin was milled diagonally, but from 1739 following the activities of a particularly bold gang of guinea filers for whom a reward was posted, the milling was changed to produce the shape of a chevron or arrowhead. In 1732 the old hammered gold coinage was demonetised, and it is thought that some of the old coins were melted down to create more guineas.
The obverse has a left-facing bust of the king with the legend GEORGIVS II DEI GRATIA (GEORGIUS II DEI GRA between 1739 and 1743), while the reverse features a single large crowned shield with the quarters containing the arms of England+Scotland, France, Hanover, and Ireland, and the legend M B F ET H REX F D B ET L D S R I A T ET E ("King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg, Arch-Treasurer and Elector of the Holy Roman Empire").
The guineas of King George III weighed 8.4 g (0.30 oz) and were 24 mm (0.94 in) in diameter, with an average gold purity (at the time of the 1773 assay) of 0.9146 (meaning it contained 7.7 g (0.27 oz) of gold). They were issued with six different obverses and three reverses in 1761, 1763–79, 1781–99, and 1813. All the obverses show right-facing busts of the king with the legend GEORGIVS III DEI GRATIA with different portraits of the king. The reverse of guineas issued between 1761 and 1786 show a crowned shield bearing the arms of England+Scotland, France, Ireland and Hanover, with the legend M B F ET H REX F D B ET L D S R I A T ET E and the date ("King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg, Arch-Treasurer and Elector of the Holy Roman Empire"). In 1787 a new design of reverse featuring a spade-shaped shield was introduced, with the same legend; this has become known as the spade guinea.
In 1774 almost 20 million worn guineas of King William III and Queen Anne were melted down and recoined as guineas and half-guineas.
Towards the end of the century gold began to become scarce and rise in value. The French Revolution and the subsequent French Revolutionary Wars had drained gold reserves and people started hoarding coins. Parliament passed a law making banknotes legal tender in any amount, and in 1799 the production of guineas was halted, although half- and third-guineas continued to be struck. Following the Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland in 1800, the king's titles changed, and an Order in Council of 5 November 1800 directed the Master of the Mint to prepare a new coinage, but although designs were prepared, the production of guineas was not authorised.
In 1813 it was necessary to strike 80,000 guineas to pay the Duke of Wellington's army in the Pyrenees, as the local people would accept only gold in payment. This issue has become known as the Military Guinea. At this time, gold was still scarce and the guinea was trading on the open market for 27 shillings in paper money, so the coining of this issue for the army's special needs was a poor deal for the government, and this was the last issue of guineas to be minted. The reverse of the military guinea is a unique design, showing a crowned shield within a Garter, with HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE on the Garter, and BRITANNIARUM REX FIDEI DEFENSOR ("King of the Britains, Defender of the Faith") around the edge, and "1813" between the edge inscription and the garter.
Even after the guinea coin ceased to circulate, the name guinea was long used to indicate the amount of 21 shillings (£1.05 in decimalised currency). The guinea had an aristocratic overtone, so professional fees, or prices of land, horses, art, bespoke tailoring, furniture, white goods and other "luxury" items were often quoted in guineas until a couple of years after decimalisation in 1971. The guinea was used in a similar way in Australia until that country converted to decimal currency in 1966, after which it became worth A$2.10.
It is still quoted in the pricing and sale of racehorses at auction, but not livestock at which the purchaser will pay in guineas but the seller will receive payment in an equal number of pounds. The difference (5p in each guinea) is traditionally the auctioneer's commission (which thus, effectively, amounts to 5% on top of the sales price free from commission). Many major horse races in Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and Australia bear names ending in "1,000 Guineas" or "2,000 Guineas", even though the nominal values of their purses today are much higher than the £1,050 or £2,100 suggested by their names.
In 2013 the Royal Mint issued a £2 coin to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the minting of the first guinea coin. The new coin was designed by the artist Anthony Smith and features a reworking of the spade guinea from the late 18th century. The edge of the coin contains a quote from the writer Stephen Kemble (1758–1822); "What is a guinea? ‘Tis a splendid thing." This was the first time in the United Kingdom that one coin has been used to celebrate another.
The coins were named because much of the gold used to produce them came from the Gold or 'Guinea' Coast of West Africa and was provided by the Royal African Company, which had been granted a monopoly of the Africa trade from 1672 until 1698. Coins produced from African gold bore the company's distinctive emblem below the monarch's head: an elephant or elephant and a castellated howdah, an ornate canopied seat used for riding on elephants and camels.
Events from the year 1663 in England.Anthony Smith (sculptor)
Anthony Smith (born 9 February 1984) is a British sculptor who works in bronze. He is known for his wildlife sculptures as well as his depictions of well-known figures, including Charles Darwin, Ian Fleming, and Alfred Russel Wallace. He has been awarded major public commissions including the design of a new £2 coin for the Royal Mint, the first new statue for London's Natural History Museum in more than eighty years, and a life-sized statue of Charles Darwin for Christ's College, Cambridge, which was unveiled by HRH Prince Philip in 2009.
In addition to his sculpting work, he is also an award-winning photographer, specialising in wildlife photography.Egyptian pound
The Egyptian pound (Egyptian Arabic: جنيه مصرى Genēh Maṣri [ɡeˈneː(h) ˈmɑsˤɾi]; sign: E£, L.E. ج.م; code: EGP) is the currency of Egypt. It is divided into 100 piastres, or ersh (Egyptian Arabic: قرش [ʔeɾʃ]; plural قروش [ʔʊˈɾuːʃ]), or 1,000 milliemes (Egyptian Arabic: مليم [mælˈliːm]; French: millième).
The Egyptian pound is frequently abbreviated as LE or L.E., which stands for livre égyptienne (French for Egyptian pound). E£ and £E are commonly used on the internet. The name Genēh [ɡeˈneː(h)] is derived from the Guinea coin, which had almost the same value of 100 piastres at the end of the 19th century.Five guineas (British coin)
The British Five Guinea coin was a machine-struck currency produced from 1668–1753. It was a gold coin 37 millimetres in diameter and weighing between 41 and 42 grams. Although the coin is now known as the "five guinea" piece, during the 17th and 18th centuries it was also known as a five-pound piece, as during the reign of Charles II a guinea was worth twenty shillings — until its value was fixed at twenty-one shillings by a Royal Proclamation in 1717 the value fluctuated rather in the way that bullion coins do today.
This denomination shows the year of striking on the reverse; but also the edge inscription DECUS ET TUTAMEN ANNO REGNI — An ornament and a safeguard, in the year of the reign... — is followed by the regnal year of the monarch, in Latin words. In the case of Charles II, the regnal year is calculated from the execution of Charles I, so 1668 is ANNO REGNI VICESIMO, the twentieth year of the reign. The edge inscription was put on the coin before the other two sides were struck — in the early years the blanks were cut out from a strip of gold which had been produced by horse power, then the blanks were sent to have the edge inscriptions impressed by a secret process devised by one Pierre Blondeau, a former engineer from the Paris mint who jealously guarded his methods. The blanks were then returned to the mint to have the obverse and reverse struck in a hand-operated press. Samuel Pepys gives a long and detailed description of the rolling, cutting, and striking of the blanks in his diary entry for 19 May 1663.
Many of the coins produced up to 1699 have an elephant and castle beneath the monarch's head, indicating that the gold was provided by the Africa Company. Coins of 1703 (Queen Anne ANNO REGNI SECVNDO) have the word VIGO under the Queen's head, indicating that the gold was captured from Spanish galleons in the Battle of Vigo Bay in October 1702, but very few of these coins now remain in existence and they are extremely valuable (up to £50,000).GNS
GNS may refer to:
Binaka Airport, in Gunung Sitoli, Nias Island, Indonesia
Gainesville station (Georgia), an Amtrack station in Georgia, United States
Gelfand–Naimark–Segal construction, a type of functional analysis
General News Service, a BBC-internal news-distribution service
GEOnet Names Server, a database of place names and locations
Gesellschaft für Nuklear-Service, a German nuclear-waste services company
Ghana Nuclear Society, nuclear energy advocacy organization
Glenlyon Norfolk School in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Global Namespace, computer networking concept
GNS Healthcare, an American data analytics company
GNS Science, a New Zealand earth-science research institute
GNS theory, in role-playing game design
GNU Name System, a decentralized name-system
Gordon-North Sydney Hockey Club, based in Sydney, Australia
Government of National Salvation, in Serbia during the Second World War
Guinea (coin), a former Great Britain currancy
Gunns, a defunct Australian timber company
N-acetylglucosamine-6-sulfatase, an enzymeGeorge I of Great Britain
George I (George Louis; German: Georg Ludwig; 28 May 1660 – 11 June 1727) was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1 August 1714 and ruler of the Duchy and Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) in the Holy Roman Empire from 1698 until his death in 1727.
George was born in Hanover and inherited the titles and lands of the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg from his father and uncles. A succession of European wars expanded his German domains during his lifetime, and in 1708 he was ratified as prince-elector of Hanover. At the age of 54, after the death of his second cousin Anne, Queen of Great Britain, George ascended the British throne as the first monarch of the House of Hanover. Although over 50 Roman Catholics were closer to Anne by primogeniture, the Act of Settlement 1701 prohibited Catholics from inheriting the British throne; George was Anne's closest living Protestant relative. In reaction, Jacobites attempted to depose George and replace him with Anne's Catholic half-brother, James Francis Edward Stuart, but their attempts failed.
During George's reign, the powers of the monarchy diminished and Britain began a transition to the modern system of cabinet government led by a prime minister. Towards the end of his reign, actual political power was held by Robert Walpole, now recognised as Britain's first de facto prime minister. George died of a stroke on a trip to his native Hanover, where he was buried. He was the last British monarch to be buried outside the United Kingdom.Guinea pig
The guinea pig or domestic guinea pig (Cavia porcellus), also known as cavy or domestic cavy, is a species of rodent belonging to the family Caviidae and the genus Cavia. Despite their common name, these animals are not in the pig family Suidae, nor do they come from Guinea in Africa, and the origin of their name is still unclear; they originated in the Andes of South America and studies based on biochemistry and hybridization suggest they are domesticated descendants of a closely related species of cavy such as C. tschudii, and therefore do not exist naturally in the wild.In Western society, the domestic guinea pig has enjoyed widespread popularity as a household pet, a type of pocket pet, since its introduction by European traders in the 16th century. Their docile nature; friendly, even affectionate, responsiveness to handling and feeding; and the relative ease of caring for them have made and continue to make guinea pigs a popular choice of pet. Organizations devoted to the competitive breeding of guinea pigs have been formed worldwide, and many specialized breeds with varying coat colors and textures are selected by breeders.
The domestic guinea pig plays an important role in folk culture for many indigenous Andean groups, especially as a food source, but also in folk medicine and in community religious ceremonies. The animals are used for meat and are a culinary staple in the Andes Mountains, where they are known as cuy. A modern breeding program was started in the 1960s in Peru that resulted in large breeds known as cuy mejorados (improved cuy) and prompted efforts to increase consumption of the animal outside South America.Biological experimentation on domestic guinea pigs has been carried out since the 17th century. The animals were so frequently used as model organisms in the 19th and 20th centuries that the epithet guinea pig came into use to describe a human test subject. Since that time, they have been largely replaced by other rodents such as mice and rats. However, they are still used in research, primarily as models for human medical conditions such as juvenile diabetes, tuberculosis, scurvy (like humans, they must get vitamin C), and pregnancy complications.Half guinea
The half guinea gold coin of the Kingdom of England and later of Great Britain was first produced in 1669, some years after the Guinea entered circulation. It was officially eliminated in the Great Recoinage of 1816, although, like the guinea, it was used in quoting prices until decimalisation.History of money
The history of money concerns the development of social systems that provide at least one of the functions of money. Such systems can be understood as means of trading wealth indirectly; not directly as with barter. Money is a mechanism that facilitates this process.
Money may take a physical form as in coins and notes, or may exist as a written or electronic account. It may have intrinsic value (commodity money), be legally exchangeable for something with intrinsic value (representative money), or only have nominal value (fiat money).Howdah
A howdah, or houdah (Hindi: हौदा haudā), derived from the Arabic هودج (hawdaj), that means "bed carried by a camel", also known as hathi howdah (हाथी हौदा), is a carriage which is positioned on the back of an elephant, or occasionally some other animal such as camels, used most often in the past to carry wealthy people or for use in hunting or warfare. It was also a symbol of wealth for the owner and as a result was decorated with expensive gemstones.
Most notable are the Golden Howdah, the one used in display at the Napier Museum at Thiruvananthapuram which was used by the Maharaja of Travancore and the one used traditionally during the Elephant Procession of the famous Mysore Dasara. The Mehrangarh Fort Museum in Jodhpur, Rajasthan has a gallery of royal howdahs.
In the present time, howdahs are used mainly for tourist or commercial purposes in South East Asia and are the subject of controversy as animal rights groups and organizations, such as Millennium Elephant Foundation, openly criticize the use of the howdah, citing information that howdahs can cause permanent damage to an elephant's spine, lungs, and other organs and can significantly shorten the animal's life.Margaret Dawson
Margaret Dawson (c.1770 – 16 February 1816) was a convict on the First Fleet sent from Great Britain to New South Wales in 1787. She had a long-term relationship with the surgeon, William Balmain and is considered as one of Australia's 'founding mothers', whose descendants still live in Australia, others in Britain.
Unusually for a transported convict, she returned from New South Wales and died in England.Mary II of England
Mary II (30 April 1662 – 28 December 1694) was Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland, co-reigning with her husband and first cousin, King William III and II, from 1689 until her death; popular histories usually refer to their joint reign as that of William and Mary. William and Mary, both Protestants, became king and queen regnant following the Glorious Revolution, which resulted in the adoption of the English Bill of Rights and the deposition of her Roman Catholic father, James II and VII. William became sole ruler upon her death in 1694. He reigned as such until his own death in 1702, when he was succeeded by Mary's sister Anne.
Mary wielded less power than William when he was in England, ceding most of her authority to him, though he heavily relied on her. She did, however, act alone when William was engaged in military campaigns abroad, proving herself to be a powerful, firm, and effective ruler.Stephen Kemble
George Stephen Kemble (21 April 1758 – 5 June 1822) was a successful English theatre manager, actor, and writer, and a member of the famous Kemble family.
He was born in Kington, Herefordshire, one of 13 siblings and the second son of Roger Kemble and Sarah "Sally Ward". His siblings included Charles Kemble, John Philip Kemble and Sarah Siddons. He and his brothers were raised in their father's Catholic faith; his sisters were raised in their mother's Protestant faith.
George Kemble wed prominent actress Elizabeth Satchell (1783). His niece was the actress and abolitionist Fanny Kemble. His daughter Francis Kemble married Richard Arkwright Jnr's son, Capt. Robert Arkwright. Kemble's son Henry was also an actor.Third guinea (British coin)
A seven shilling piece was introduced in Great Britain by a proclamation of 29 November 1797. It has been called a third guinea, a guinea being worth 21 shillings. The gold coin was minted only in the reign of George III.Two guineas (British coin)
What is nowadays known as the Two Guineas coin was first minted in 1664, in England, when it had a nominal value of forty shillings and it was known as a forty-shilling piece, then it was later called a double-guinea or two guinea piece, worth forty-two shillings after the Proclamation of 1717 finally settled the value of a guinea. The term "guinea" indicates the source of the gold used to strike the coin, i.e. from west Africa. For most of its period of production the coin weighed 16.7 - 16.8 grams and was 31-32 millimetres in diameter, although the coins of Charles II were about 0.1 grams lighter and 1 millimetre smaller.
Many of the coins produced up to 1694 have an elephant and/or castle beneath the monarch's head, indicating that the gold was provided by the Royal African Company.
The two guinea coin was produced in 1664, 1665 (possibly only 1 coin), 1669, 1671, and 1675-1684 inclusive; until 1669 the weight limits were 16.6-16.8 grams, afterward 16.5-16.7 grams. The obverse and reverse of this coin were designed by John Roettier (1631-c.1700). The obverse showed a fine right-facing bust of the king wearing a laurel wreath, surrounded by the legend CAROLVS II DEI GRATIA, while the reverse showed four crowned cruciform shields bearing the arms of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, between which were four sceptres, and in the centre were four interlinked "C"s, surrounded by the inscription MAG BR FRA ET HIB REX date. The coin was considered too thin to have an edge inscription like the Five Guineas coin had, so to avoid confusion with gilded half-crown coins the edge was milled to deter clipping or filing (and to distinguish it from the silver half-crown which had edge lettering) -- until 1669 the milling was perpendicular to the coin, giving vertical grooves, while from 1671 the milling was diagonal to the coin.
John Roettier continued to design the dies for this denomination in the reign of King James II. In this reign, the coins weighed 16.7 grams, and were only minted in 1687 and 1688. By the early part of this reign the value of the guinea had increased to nearly thirty shillings. The kings' head faces left in this reign, and is surrounded by the inscription IACOBUS II DEI GRATIA, while the obverse is the same as in Charles II's reign except for omitting the interlinked "C"s in the centre of the coin. The edge of the coins are milled diagonally.
With the removal of James II in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, his daughter Mary, and her husband Prince William of Orange ruled jointly by agreement as co-monarchs. Their heads appear conjoined on the two guinea piece in Roman style, with William's head uppermost, with the legend GVLIELMVS ET MARIA DEI GRATIA. In a departure from the previous reigns the reverse featured a totally new design of a large crowned shield which bore the arms of France in the first quarter, of Scotland in the second quarter, of Ireland in the third quarter, and of England in the fourth quarter, the whole ensemble having a small shield in the centre bearing the rampant lion of Nassau; the legend on the obverse read MAG BR FR ET HIB REX ET REGINA date. The weight tolerance of the coin in this reign was 16.7-16.8 grams. The two guinea coin of this reign was probably the work of James and/or Norbert Roettier and, apart from a rare issue in 1691, it was only produced in 1693 and 1694.
Following the death of Queen Mary from smallpox in 1694, William continued to reign as William III. The Two guinea coin was only produced in 1701, the design probably being the work of Johann Crocker a.k.a. John Croker, since James Roettier had died in 1698 and his brother Norbert had moved to France in 1695.
The coins of William III's reign weighed 16.7 grams. William's head faces right on his coins, with the legend GVLIELMVS III DEI GRATIA, while the reverse design of William and Mary's reign was judged to be unsuccessful, so the design reverted to that used by Charles II and James II, but with a small shield with the lion of Nassau in the centre, with the legend MAG BR FRA ET HIB REX date. The coin had a diagonal milled edge.
The reign of Queen Anne (1702-1714) did not produce any two guinea coins until after the Union of England and Scotland, the coins being produced in 1709, 1711, 1713 and 1714. The obverse of the coin throughout her reign shows the left-facing effigy of the queen, with the legend ANNA DEI GRATIA. The design of the reverse was similar to that of the previous reign, with four crowned cruciform shields bearing the arms of England and Scotland joined, Ireland, and France, separated by sceptres and with a central rose, and the legend MAG BRI FR ET HIB REG date. With the union, the English and Scottish arms appear conjoined on one shield, with the left half being the English arms and the right half being the Scottish arms, and the order of arms appearing on the shields becomes England+Scotland, France, England+Scotland, Ireland. The centre of the reverse design shows Star of the Order of the Garter. The edge of the coin is milled diagonally.
George I's two guinea coins were only struck in 1717, 1720, and 1726, and they bear his abbreviated Hanoverian titles in addition to the usual British, French, and Irish title. The obverse bears a right-facing portrait of the king with the legend GEORGIVS D G M BR FR ET HIB REX F D. The reverse follows the same general design as before, except the order of the shields is England+Scotland, France, Ireland, and Hanover, with the legend BRVN ET L DVX S R I A TH ET EL date -- Duke of Brunswick and Lueneburg, Arch-Treasurer and Elector of the Holy Roman Empire. The edge of the coin is milled diagonally, and the coins of this reign weighed 16.8 grams.
The value of the guinea had fluctuated over the years from twenty to thirty shillings, and back down to twentyone shillings and sixpence by the start of George's reign. A Royal Proclamation of December 1717 fixed the value of the guinea at twenty one shillings.
George II's two guinea pieces mark the last of the denomination. The series began in 1734, and was also struck in 1735, 1738-1740, 1748, and for the last time in 1753. The coins weighed 16.8 grams. In the early part of the reign the edge of the coin was milled diagonally, but from 1739 following the activities of a particularly bold gang of guinea filers for whom a reward was posted, the milling was changed to produce the shape of a chevron or arrow-head.
The obverse has a left-facing bust of the king (with an "intermediate head" in 1739 and 1740, and an older head from 1748), with the legend GEORGIVS II DEI GRATIA (GEORGIUS II DEI GRATIA in 1739 and 1740), while the reverse features a single large crowned shield with the quarters containing the arms of England+Scotland, France, Hanover, and Ireland, and the legend M B F ET H REX F D B ET L D S R I A T ET E -- King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, Duke of Brunswick and Lueneburg, Arch-Treasurer and Elector of the Holy Roman Empire.£sd
£sd (occasionally written Lsd, spoken as "pounds, shillings and pence" or pronounced /ɛlɛsˈdiː/ ell-ess-dee) is the popular name for the pre-decimal currencies once common throughout Europe, especially in the British Isles and hence in several countries of the British Empire and subsequently the Commonwealth. The abbreviation originates from the Latin currency denominations librae, solidi, and denarii. In the United Kingdom, which was one of the last to abandon the system, these were referred to as pounds, shillings, and pence (pence being the plural of penny).
This system originated in the classical Roman Empire. It was re-introduced into Western Europe by Charlemagne, and was the standard for many centuries across the continent. In Britain, it was King Offa of Mercia who adopted the Frankish silver standard of librae, solidi and denarii in the late 8th century, and the system was used in much of the British Commonwealth until the 1960s and 1970s, with Nigeria being the last to abandon it in the form of the Nigerian pound on 1 January 1973.
Under this system, there were 12 pence in a shilling and 20 shillings, or 240 pence, in a pound. The penny was subdivided into 4 farthings until 31 December 1960, when they ceased to be legal tender in the UK, and until 31 July 1969 there were also halfpennies ("ha'pennies") in circulation. The advantage of such a system was its use in mental arithmetic, as it afforded many factors and hence fractions of a pound such as tenths, eighths, sixths and even sevenths and ninths if the guinea (worth 21 shillings) was used. When dealing with items in dozens, multiplication and division are straightforward; for example, if a dozen eggs cost four shillings, then each egg was priced at fourpence.
As countries of the British Empire became independent, some abandoned the £sd system quickly, while others retained it almost as long as the UK itself. Australia, for example, only changed to using a decimal currency on 14 February 1966. Still others, notably Ireland, decimalised only when the UK did. The UK abandoned the old penny on Decimal Day, 15 February 1971, when one pound sterling became divided into 100 new pence. This was a change from the system used in the earlier wave of decimalisations in Australia, New Zealand, Rhodesia and South Africa, in which the pound was replaced with a new major currency called either the "dollar" or the "rand". The British shilling was replaced by a 5 new pence coin worth one-twentieth of a pound.
For much of the 20th century, £sd was the monetary system of most of the Commonwealth countries, the major exceptions being Canada and India.
Historically, similar systems based on Roman coinage were used elsewhere; e.g., the division of the livre tournois in France and other pre-decimal currencies such as Spain, which had 20 maravedís to 1 real and 20 reals to 1 duro or 5 pesetas.