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.
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.’