Great Britain 1701 1/2 guinea Fr-315

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Heritage sale 3081, lot 30736
photo courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries

This specimen was lot 30736 in Heritage sale 3081 (New York, January 2020), where it sold for $5,040. The catalog description[1] noted, "Great Britain: William III gold 1/2 Guinea 1701 MS63 NGC. At the highest grade level for the type within both NGC and PCGS's databases, a fractional Guinea whose shallow engraving almost always places it in AU or lower. This portrait style was a reengraved remainder from James Roettiers' tenure as engraver, dismissed in 1697 under suspicion of counterfeiting. Croker, the German jeweler in charge of the reengraving, would produce the fantastic Fine Work series later this same year of 1701 and remain Chief Engraver throughout Anne and George I's reigns. This piece is stunning, as sharp as this portrait's engraving will allow, glowing with mint luster and dappled with golden brown patina; simply as appealing a Half Guinea as one can realistically envision. From the Caranett Collection." When milled coinage was introduced in 1663, the old unites, laurels, ryals and crowns were retired in favor of the guinea, its fractions and multiples. The guinea would be the basis for all gold issues until the reform of 1817 and took its name from the source of the original gold, the Gulf of Guinea in west Africa. After queen Mary's death in 1694, king William was featured alone on the coinage. This type is listed for 1697-1701 while the elephant-and-castle type (KM 487.4) is noted for 1698 only.

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: 4.175 g, .917 fine gold.

Catalog reference: KM 487.3, S-3468, Fr-315.


  • Michael, Thomas, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1701-1800, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2016.
  • Friedberg, Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg, Gold Coins of the World, From Ancient Times to the Present, 7th ed., Clifton, NJ: Coin and Currency Institute, 2003.
  • Lobel, Richard, Mark Davidson, Allan Hailstone and Eleni Calligas, Coincraft's Standard Catalogue of English and UK Coins, 1066 to Date, London: Coincraft, 1995.
  • Skingley, Philip, ed., Standard Catalogue of British Coins: Coins of England & the United Kingdom, 46th edition, London: Spink & Son, 2011.
  • [1]Bierrenbach, Cristiano, Warren Tucker and Sam Spiegel, Heritage World and Ancient Coins Auction 3081, featuring the Caranett Collection, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2019.

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