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George III English Coinage

Started by Deeman, August 17, 2022, 07:58:18 PM

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Deeman

Milton 1798 pattern guinea

The designer John Milton (1759-1805) was employed by the Royal Mint in 1798 and worked alongside Lewis Pingo.
The obverse design is a laureate, draped bust of the king facing right inside a wide rim having a circumscription translating to 'George III, by the Grace of God'. The reverse design is a crowned spade-shaped Shield of Arms. The first quarter of the shield has the lions of England impaled with the Scottish lion, the lis of France are in the second, the harp of Ireland in the third and the Arms of the House of Hanover in the fourth. An abbreviated circumscription around the shield translates to 'King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg, High Treasurer and Elector of the Holy Roman Empire', with 1798 in the gap at the bottom of the shield. The abbreviated Latin in full reads Magnae Britanniae Franciae ET Hiberniae Rex Fidei Defensor Brun ET Lünebergen Dux Sacri Romani Imperii Archi-Thesaurarius ET Elector.

Both sides have their borders 'patterned' as if to simulate a wide rim.



1798/7 Milton pattern guinea, not adopted.
Obverse inscription is GEORGIVS III DEI GRATIA·.
Reverse inscription is ·M·B·F·ET·H·REX·F·D·B·ET·L·D·S·R·I·A·T·ET·E·.

Deeman

Third issue, half-guinea 1801-13

Fineness 22ct, diameter 20mm, weight 4.2g, en médaille, milled edge. Struck in 1801-03 (sixth bust) and 1804-13 except 07 and 12 (seventh bust).

The obverse design is a laureate bust of the king facing right within a circumscription translating to 'George III, by the Grace of God'. The reverse design is a quartered Shield of Arms enclosed by the Order of the Garter belt with motto HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE (Shame on he who thinks evil), crown above and date below. The first and fourth quarters of the shield have the lions of England, the Scottish lion is in the second, the harp of Ireland in the third and the Arms of the House of Hanover are represented on an inescutcheon surmounted by an Electoral cap. The circumscription, continuing from the obverse, translates to 'King of the Britons, Defender of the Faith'.

The claim to the French throne was dropped by George III in 1801, at the same time Ireland was brought into the Union, hence the change of legend compared to earlier issues.





1801 half-guinea.
Obverse inscription is GEORGIVS III DEI GRATIA, sixth bust.
Reverse inscription is BRITANNIARUM REX FIDEI DEFENSOR.





1809 half-guinea, seventh bust.

Deeman

Third issue, third-guinea 1801-13

Fineness 22ct, diameter 17mm, weight 2.8g, en médaille, milled edge. Struck in 1801-03 (first bust) and 1804, 06, 08, 09, 10, 11 and 13 (second bust).

The obverse design is a laureate bust of the king facing right within a circumscription translating to 'George III, by the Grace of God'. The reverse design is a large crown with date below and a circumscription, continuing from the obverse, translating to 'King of the Britons, Defender of the Faith'. The reverse circumscription commences with a cross for the first bust pieces and a mullet for the second bust pieces.





1802 third-guinea.
Obverse inscription is GEORGIVS III DEI GRATIA, first bust.
Reverse inscription is + BRITANNIARUM REX FIDEI DEFENSOR.





1810 third-guinea, second bust.

Deeman

Wyon 1813 square shield pattern guinea

The engraver was Thomas Wyon. The obverse design is a laureate bust of the king facing right, letter 'W' below truncation, within a circumscription translating to 'George III, by the Grace of God'. The reverse design is an ermine crowned, garnished square-topped quartered Shield of Arms with the Arms of the House of Hanover represented on an inescutcheon surmounted by an Electoral cap. The date, 1813, flanks the crown. The circumscription, continuing from the obverse, translates to 'King of the Britons, Defender of the Faith'.

Four versions of this design exist: plain edge, diagonally milled edge, straight milled edge and edge with curved milling.



1813 Wyon pattern square shield guinea, not adopted.
Obverse inscription is GEORGIVS III DEI GRATIA, sixth bust.
Reverse inscription is BRITANNIARVM REX FIDEI DEFENSOR.

Deeman

Wyon 1813 floral shield pattern guinea

The engraver was Thomas Wyon. The obverse design is a laureate bust of the king facing right, letter 'W' below truncation, within a circumscription translating to 'George III, by the Grace of God'. The reverse design is an ermine crowned, plain quartered Shield of Arms resting on sprays of rose, thistle and shamrock, with the Arms of the House of Hanover represented on an inescutcheon surmounted by an Electoral cap. The date, 1813, flanks the crown. The circumscription, continuing from the obverse, translates to 'King of the Britons, Defender of the Faith'. Edge plain or diagonally milled.





1813 Wyon pattern floral shield guinea, not adopted.
Obverse inscription is GEORGIVS III DEI GRATIA, sixth bust.
Reverse inscription is BRITANNIARVM REX FIDEI DEFENSOR.





1813 Wyon pattern bronzed copper floral shield guinea.

Deeman

'Military' guinea issue 1813

Fineness 22ct, diameter 25mm, weight 8.4g, struck en médaille, milled edge. Known as the 'Military' guinea because 80,000 were struck to pay the Duke of Wellington's army in the Pyrenees as the local people would accept only gold in payment.

The obverse design is a laureate bust of the king facing right within a circumscription translating to 'George III, by the Grace of God'. The reverse design is a quartered Shield of Arms enclosed by the Order of the Garter belt with motto HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE (Shame on he who thinks evil), crown above and date below. The first and fourth quarters of the shield have the lions of England, the Scottish lion is in the second, the harp of Ireland in the third and the Arms of the House of Hanover are represented on an inescutcheon surmounted by an Electoral cap. The circumscription continuing from the obverse, translates to 'King of the Britons, Defender of the Faith'.





1813 Pingo pattern guinea, smaller lettering on the reverse.
Obverse inscription is GEORGIVS III DEI GRATIA, sixth bust.
Reverse inscription is BRITANNIARUM REX FIDEI DEFENSOR.





1813 proof guinea.

Deeman

Curio, Mills pattern 'petition' copper guinea/sovereign 1816 (undated)

Struck at the time the Royal Mint were experimenting in transitioning from the guinea in 1816 to the sovereign in 1817. It was by George Mills, who wasn't working for the Royal Mint (and never did), with the goal of obtaining the post of engraver. A poor effort to impress!

The design features a short-haired bust of George III with MILLS engraved along the truncation with a 'C' below. It has the usual obverse inscription translating to 'George III, by the Grace of God'. The reverse design is a crowned square-topped quartered Shield of Arms with laurel wreath around. The first and fourth quarters of the shield have the lions of England, the Scottish lion is in the second, the harp of Ireland in the third and the Arms of the House of Hanover are represented on an inescutcheon surmounted by an Electoral cap. The circumscription, continuing from the obverse, translates to 'King of Great Britain, Defender of the Faith'



1816 (undated) pattern 'petition' copper guinea/sovereign.
Obverse inscription is GEORGIVS III DEI GRATIA.
Reverse inscription is MAGNÆ BRITANNIÆ REX FIDIE DEFENSOR (fidei misspelt).
 

Deeman

Silver Overview

The first silver coin produced under George III was a threepence in 1762. Prior to the 'Great Recoinage', shillings for circulation were only minted in 1763 and 1787, and sixpences only in 1787. The halfcrown, not issued since 1751, only appeared after the 'Great Recoinage' in 1817 under the new pound standard.

The 1763 shilling is known as the 'Northumberland' shilling because the Earl of Northumberland had been appointed viceroy in Dublin and some 2,000 shillings were distributed by him to supporters in Ireland. Pattern shillings were subsequently struck in 1764 and 1778.

From the mid-1760s until the Great Recoinage, Government generally could not agree on what should be the correct standard nor on the number of shillings to be struck from a pound of silver to bring them more into line with the market price. Small silver denominations of fourpences, threepences, twopences and pennies in the 'Maundy' style were struck for circulation (mintage figures unknown) quite regularly up to 1800, but not in sufficient quantities to have much impact on the chronic shortage of small change. After a break in production from 1801 to 1816 inclusive, they continued to be issued regularly from 1817 onwards. However, silver coins were available to the public in the form of small Spanish silver coins, especially the réal and two réales, which circulated fairly widely as they did in Colonial America. The Spanish dollar (eight réales) was also often used in commerce, especially by the more affluent classes of society.

A major barrier to silver coinage was the fixed Mint price of 5/2d per oz paid for bullion brought in for coining. In 1757-58 the Bank of England had sixpences and shillings struck from bullion they supplied, not with any intention of issuing it in general to the public, but were doled them out sparingly to customers wanting freshly minted coins probably for special occasions. By 1786 the 1757/8 George II coins had been exhausted and the Bank of England was becoming embarrassed by customer requests for a continuing supply of coins for gifts. The Bank therefore petitioned the Treasury for permission to have another issue of shillings and sixpences struck from bullion they would provide. During 1786 the market price of silver bars remained quite steady, although slightly above the official Mint price, and the Bank was willing to absorb the difference. These shillings and sixpences were struck in 1787.

A Dec 1787 Mint survey of the silver coins in circulation estimated their deficiency, which amounted to 20.6% light for shillings and 35.25% light for sixpences. The Treasury simply permitted the public supply of money to deteriorate. This had an increasing impact on the country's internal economy throughout the second half of the 18th century. The silver coinage in particular was in dire straits, only extremely worn, lightweight pieces circulated. By the 1790s, the coinage situation had become desperate. There was no shortage of silver bullion in Britain, but its price had reached a point where the intrinsic value of silver coins exceeded their face value. It was uneconomic to mint silver.

Pattern sixpences by Jean Pierre Droz, with a crowned GR cypher instead of the royal portrait, were produced by the Soho Mint in 1788, 90 and 91. A narrative about Droz is within the 'Copper Overview'. The 1788 and 91 issues were also stuck in gold, but the reason is unknown.

The series of invasion attempts by French naval forces around the end of the 18th century made the British people become concerned about the threat of war from Napoleon and the Bank of England's reserves suffered from extraordinary withdrawals as people chose to store their wealth themselves. Following a Privy Council meeting, this resulted in the issuance of an order to the Bank to cease making cash payments until Parliament could decide a further course of action.

In 1797, the Government decided on a short-term solution to bolster the supply of currency by co-opting the Bank of England to forward its supply of silver dollars to the Royal Mint to be countermarked with the goldsmith's mark of George III (a small oval right-facing bust) thus converting them to 'coin of the realm' and allowing their release into circulation. This decision was inadvertently encouraged by Spain who in 1796 abandoned its alliance with England and declared war, thus giving the English the right to engage and plunder Spanish galleons of their hoard of silver dollars minted in the colonies. It was done over a period of 237 days from 9 Mar to 31 Oct 1797. Nearly 3 million newly countermarked Bank of England dollars had a stable value of 4/9d, whereas Spanish dollars that did not have a countermark continued to fluctuate in value. Small numbers of other silver trading coins of similar size, US dollars, Italian crown-sized coins and French écus, were scattered amongst the dollars plundered from the galleons and were caught up in the mix of countermarked coins.

The value of Spanish dollars on the London bullion market fell to 4/6d in Jun 1797, which meant that if a counterfeit punch could be used on a genuine dollar, it would yield an immediate profit of about a 5%. When silver prices dropped further that summer, the counterfeiter's profit rose to be closer to 10%. With the size of the countermark being rather small, it was easy for the counterfeiters to fool the general public. The prevalence of counterfeit dollars was such that the Bank of England decided to recall the dollars from circulation from late September of that year. Whether genuine or counterfeit, the Bank chose to accept all Spanish dollars at 4/9d.

The price of silver had dipped below the critical coinage price of 62/- per oz in the summer of 1797. On 30 Mar 1798, a group of bankers saw the opportunity for a quick profit and notified the Mint that they intended to exercise a historic legal right to take bullion to the mint for coining. One of those individuals was Magens Dorrien Magens, described as 'the most vociferous of their number.' He was originally known as Magens Dorrien, but in 1788 adopted the surname of Magens by special license.

On April 4, the first bars arrived at the Mint and by the beginning of May, the bankers learned they could expect to receive their first coins by the middle of the month. Meanwhile, the Committee on Coin was well aware of what was going on. They had profound reservations about the new coins. They saw them as premature. On May 8, the Prime Minister told the House of Commons a bill was to be introduced to stop the coining of all silver without a Royal Proclamation (assented late June). In part, the committee's concern had arisen from the possibility of the new silver coins being exchanged for gold coins and these being melted down and exported as bullion. This would cause a significant reduction in gold coinage. Further, any rise in the price of silver could lead to a return to the original situation of undervalued silver coins, and the last thing the country needed was a series of coinage fluctuations.

The order to stop coining silver produced no great reaction. All the bankers wanted was the value of their silver back ASAP and at the coinage price of 62/- per oz. In the end, they were not paid until Aug. 24, and then in Exchequer Bills. The shillings that were produced remained in the moneyers' hands for about a year. It totalled over 682lbs. When returned to the Mint Office in the summer of 1799, it weighed just over 677 pounds. This implies silver equivalent to 285 coins had gone AWOL. The shilling became known erroneously as the 'Dorrien and Magens' shilling, an attribution to two individuals!

After Napoleon shattered the fragile Treaty of Amiens in May 1803, the renewal of war brought on the usual rising prices and hoarding of what silver coin remained in circulation. On 2 Jan 1804, the Treasury issued a warrant to Royal Mint officials to countermark dollars and half-dollars with a larger octagonal head of George III adapted from the Maundy penny design. The supply of available Spanish dollars was no longer as plentiful as it had been in 1797. The countermarking was done over a period of 144 days to 2 Jun 1804. These dollars now had a stable value of 5/-. This didn't stop the counterfeiters and the second round of counterfeiting was such that plans for an amended stamping process for silver dollars was being actively discussed within a few short months.

A new strategy was adopted that ran from 12 May 1804 to 20 Mar 1817. Using Boulton's Soho Manufactory, dollars were overstamped with George III's head and an Inscription 'Georgius III Dei Gratia Rex' on the obverse, and Britannia with the words 'Five Shillings Dollar Bank of England, 1804' on the reverse. This overstamping completely obliterated all trace of the original Spanish emblems. These dollars were struck right through to 1811 and were not recalled from circulation until late 1816. When Boulton completed his contracts by Apr 1811, the Soho mint had produced some 4,496,162 of these dollars. These were augmented by Bank of England silver tokens issued 1811-16 having values of 3/- and 1/6d. Both were made at reduced weight by order of the Bank of England rather than the Treasury. These are now considered as coins.

The dollar was current for 5/- until 1811 when it was revalued at 5/6d until it was withdrawn from circulation. The Bank of England struck a pattern 5/6d token dated 1811. A pattern ninepence token was struck in 1812.

In 1816, under the stewardship of William Wellesley-Pole, production of new silver coins went into overdrive. Steam-powered technology transformed the production process at the new Royal Mint at Tower Hill. Coins of vastly superior quality were struck in record numbers, restoring faith in Britain's currency. The first issue of 1816 was a sixpence, shilling and half-crown, the latter bearing Pistrucci's infamous 'Bull' head portrait of the king. Unpopular and short-lived, it was replaced in 1817 after widespread public hostility.

Deeman

First small silver issue, fourpence 1763-86

These were struck in 1763, 1765, 1766, 1770, 1772, 1776, 1780, 1784, 1786. Diameter 19mm, weight 2g.
The rarest is 1765 with a total mintage of 310.

The obverse design is a laureate, draped young bust of the king facing right within a circumscription translating to 'George III, by the Grace of God'. The reverse design is a crowned 4 with date flanking the crown and with an abbreviated circumscription translating to 'King of Great Britain, France and Ireland' which in full Latin reads Magnae Britanniae Franciae ET Hiberniae Rex.



1765 fourpence.
Obverse inscription is GEORGIVS·III·DEI·GRATIA.
Reverse inscription is ·MAG·BRI·FR·ET·HIB·REX.

Deeman

First small silver issue, threepence 1762-86

These were struck in 1762, 1763, 1765, 1766, 1770, 1772, 1780, 1784, 1786. Diameter 17mm, weight 1.5g.
The rarest is 1765 with a total mintage of 537. The design is as the fourpence, but with numeral 3.



1765 threepence.
Obverse inscription is GEORGIVS·III·DEI·GRATIA.
Reverse inscription is ·MAG·BRI·FR·ET·HIB·REX.

Deeman

First small silver issue, twopence 1763-86

These were struck in 1763, 1765, 1766, 1772, 1776, 1780, 1784, 1786. Diameter 14mm, weight 1g.
The rarest is 1765 with a total mintage of 808. The design is as the fourpence, but with numeral 2.



1765 twopence.
Obverse inscription is GEORGIVS·III·DEI·GRATIA.
Reverse inscription is ·MAG·BRI·FR·ET·HIB·REX.

Deeman

First small silver issue, penny 1763-86

These were struck in 1763, 1766, 1770, 1772, 1776, 1779, 1780, 1781, 1784, 1786. Diameter 12mm, weight 0.5g. None rare. The design is as the fourpence, but with numeral 1.



1770 penny.
Obverse inscription is GEORGIVS·III·DEI·GRATIA.
Reverse inscription is ·MAG·BRI·FR·ET·HIB·REX.

Deeman

Early shillings 1763-78

A circulation issue was only struck in 1763. Plain edge patterns were struck in 1764 and 1778.

The obverse design is a laureate and cuirassed bust of the king facing right within a circumscription translating to 'George III, by the Grace of God'. The reverse design is crowned cruciform shields with garter star at the centre and date either side of top crown. The first shield has the lions of England impaled with the Scottish lion, the lis of France occupy the second, the harp of Ireland the third and the Arms of the House of Hanover the fourth. The abbreviated circumscription divided around the shield crowns translates to 'King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg, High Treasurer and Elector of the Holy Roman Empire'. The abbreviated Latin in full reads Magnae Britanniae Franciae ET Hiberniae Rex Fidei Defensor Brun ET Lünebergen Dux Sacri Romani Imperii Archi-Thesaurarius ET Elector.





1763 shilling. So called 'Northumberland' shilling because the Earl of Northumberland as the new Lord Lieutenant of Dublin in 1763 distributed some two thousand pieces whilst parading on the streets of Dublin.
Obverse inscription is GEORGIVS·III / DEI·GRATIA·, young bust.
Reverse inscription is ·M·B·F·ET· / H·REX·F·D·B· / ET·L·D·S·R·I· / A·T·ET·E·.
Edge is diagonally milled.





1764 pattern shilling, en médaille.
Obverse inscription is GEORGIVS·III / DEI·GRATIA, young bust.
Reverse inscription is ·M·B·F·ET· / H·REX·F·D·B· / ET·L·D·S·R·I· / A·T·ET·E·.
Edge is plain.





1778 pattern shilling.
Obverse inscription is GEORGIVS·III / DEI·GRATIA·, intermediate bust.
Reverse inscription is ·M·B·F·ET· / H·REX·F·D·B· / ET·L·D·S·R·I· / A·T·ET·E·.
Edge is plain.

Deeman

Bank of England funded shilling 1787

Only stuck in 1787 and was the last circulation shilling issued before the 'Great Recoinage.' Diameter 25mm, weight 6g, struck en médaille, milled edge. A proof issue with a plain edge was funded by the Bank of England along with proofs of the guinea, half-guinea and sixpence of 1787. Lewis Pingo struck 168 four-coin groups distributed as follows: 100 for the directors of the Bank of England, 18 for higher ranking officers, 38 for Royal Mint officials and 12 for the Company of Moneyers.

The obverse design is a laureate and cuirassed older bust of the king facing right within a circumscription translating to 'George III, by the Grace of God'. The reverse design is cruciform shields with garter star at the centre and crowns in the angles. The first shield has the lions of England impaled with the Scottish lion, the lis of France occupy the second, the harp of Ireland the third and the Arms of the House of Hanover the fourth. The abbreviated circumscription, running southwest to southeast with 1787 in the gap, translates to 'King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg, High Treasurer and Elector of the Holy Roman Empire'. The abbreviated Latin in full reads Magnae Britanniae Franciae ET Hiberniae Rex Fidei Defensor Brun ET Lünebergen Dux Sacri Romani Imperii Archi-Thesaurarius ET Elector.





1787 shilling, diagonally milled edge.
Obverse inscription is GEORGIVS·III·DEI·GRATIA·, older bust.
Reverse inscription is ·M·B·F·ET·H·REX·F·D·B·ET·L·D·S·R·I·A·T·ET·E·, no semée of hearts in Hanover shield.





1787 proof shilling, plain edge, semée of hearts in Hanover shield.





1787 shilling, diagonally milled edge, semée of hearts in Hanover shield.





1787 shilling, diagonally milled edge, no stop above head, no semée of hearts in Hanover shield.

Deeman

Bank of England funded sixpence 1787

Only stuck in 1787 and the only sixpence to enter circulation between George III's accession and the 'Great Recoinage.' Diameter 21mm, weight 3g, struck en médaille, milled edge. A proof issue with a plain edge was funded by the Bank of England along with proofs of the guinea, half-guinea and shilling of 1787. Lewis Pingo struck 168 four-coin groups distributed as follows: 100 for the directors of the Bank of England, 18 for higher ranking officers, 38 for Royal Mint officials and 12 for the Company of Moneyers.

The design follows the 1787 shilling.





1787 sixpence, diagonally milled edge.
Obverse inscription is GEORGIVS·III·DEI·GRATIA·, older bust.
Reverse inscription is ·M·B·F·ET·H·REX·F·D·B·ET·L·D·S·R·I·A·T·ET·E·, no semée of hearts in Hanover shield.





1787 proof sixpence, plain edge, perimeter dots, semée of hearts in Hanover shield.





1787 sixpence, diagonally milled edge, semée of hearts in Hanover shield.