Military Guinea 2020, Coin from Saint Helena - detailed information

Military Guinea 2020, Coin from Saint Helena
CoinMilitary Guinea 2020

Saint Helena is a small island in the South Atlantic Ocean which is part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. The currency of the island is the Saint Helena pound, fixed at parity with the pound sterling. The island has authorised some private mints to issue coins under its jurisdiction, which come in a variety of sizes. Some of them are non-standard and/or one-off issues in gold, such as this one.

This coin is a modern re-creation of the 1813 gold guinea issued by the United Kingdom - the last issue in the denomination, which was equal to 21 shillings- thus, 260 pre-decimal pence, equal to one pound and 5 new pence after decimalisation - hence the strange face value of the coin. The denomination was replaced in 1817 by the sovereign, equal to 20 shillings or exactly £1.

The Mint says about the coin:
The "Military" Guinea was struck specifically for the Duke of Wellington’s army searching for Napoleon in France. Locals in the Pyrenees insisted on payment in gold and so, this special Guinea was struck to pay for supplies and support resulting in its reference as the "military" Guinea. Minted and shipped directly to Wellington to aid his campaign, it is likely that recipients of the original 1813 Guinea melted them quickly to avoid being caught with them. Many believe that without this coin Wellington would not have had the resource to defeat Napoleon and indeed the Battle of Waterloo may never have taken place.

80,000 military Guineas were minted for the Duke of Wellington’s troops, struck with gold largely melted down from The East India Company’s Mohur and Pagodas imported from India. An "uncirculated" coin, it is thought to be the rarest Guinea of King George III’s reign.

MintEast India Company (modern) Mint MarkE·I·C Total Mintage700
Saint Helena / Military Guinea 2020 - obverse photo

The obverse of the coin depicts the crowned old bust of Queen Elizabeth II facing right, wearing the Royal Diamond Diadem crown worn for her Coronation (effigy known as the "Fifth Portrait" worldwide but "Sixth Portrait" in Australia, where the Queen's portrait by Vladimir Gottwald was fifth).

The Queen also wears the Coronation Necklace; originally made for Queen Victoria in 1858, it was also worn at the coronations (as Queen's Consort) of Queen Alexandra in 1902, Queen Mary in 1911 and Queen Elizabeth (the Queen mother) in 1937.

Unlike on British coinage, the effigy is "uncouped" (includes the Queen's shoulders). In small letters on the left, the artist's initials JC (for Jody Clark).

Running continuously around the rim is the monarch's legend, the date of issue and the face value: ELIZABETH II · D · G · REGINA · F · D · ST. HELENA · £1.05 POUNDS ·. Translated from Latin: Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen, Defender of the Faith, Saint Helena.

In the field below right, above the Queen's shoulder, E·I·C, abbreviated from the name of the East India Company.

Obverse Inscription ELIZABETH II · D · G · REGINA · F · D · ST. HELENA · £1.05 POUNDS ·
Saint Helena / Military Guinea 2020 - reverse photo

The reverse of the coin shows the crowned and garnished shield bearing the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom (as of 1813) within the Garter of the Order of the Garter, with the motto HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE · inscribed on it, partly obscured by the crown.

"Honi soit qui mal y pense" is an Anglo-Norman maxim which means "Shame on whosoever would think badly of it," or "May he be shamed who thinks badly of it". Its literal translation from Old French is "Shame be to him who thinks evil of it."

The shield is quartered, depicting in the first and fourth quarters the three passant guardant lions of England; in the second, the rampant lion and double tressure flory-counterflory of Scotland; and in the third, a harp for Ireland. At centre, an escutcheon of the arms of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Electorate of Hanover), of which King George III was Elector as Georg III. Wilhelm Friedrich, and later king when it was elevated to a kingdom; the shield is crowned with the Crown of Charlemagne - reflecting the King's role as Arch-Treasurer of the Holy Roman Empire.

The crown on top is St Edward's Crown, named after Saint Edward the Confessor, one of the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England. It has been traditionally used to crown English and British monarchs at their coronations since the 13th century, with a two-century gap between 1689 and 1911 so King George III was not himself crowned with it.

The base of the Garter divides the date of issue, 2020.

Around the rim, the second part of the King's legend (on the original guinea the first part of his legend was on the obverse; however, this coin has Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse). It reads BRITANNIANUM · REX · FIDEI · DEFENSOR - translated from Latin, "King of the Britains, Defender of the Faith".

Reverse Inscription 2020 BRITANNIANUM · REX · FIDEI · DEFENSOR
EdgeMilled interruptedEdge InscriptionNone

Finish: proof.
Packaging: in timber presentation box, with a Certificate of Authenticity (500 coins), or in sets.
East India Company SKU: SH20MGGP
Issue price: £695.00

Issued in Set
2020 East India Company Guinea Gold Proof Three Coin Set, mintage 200
3 coins: Military Guinea, Spade Half Guinea, Rose Crown Quarter Guinea
See also

Saint Helena coins with historic Guinea designs include:
- 8.4 g Gold Proof, Military Guinea 2020
- Sovereign, Gold Proof, Spade Guinea 2020
- 1/4 oz Gold Bullion, Rose Crown Guinea 2018
- 1/4 oz Gold Bullion, Rose Crown Guinea 2020
- 4.2 g Gold Proof, Spade Half Guinea 2020
- 2.1 g Gold Proof, Rose Crown Quarter Guinea 2020
- 1.25 oz Silver Bullion, Rose Crown Guinea 2018
- 1.25 oz Silver Bullion, Rose Crown Guinea 2020
- 1.25 oz Silver Bullion, Rose Crown Guinea 2021
- 1 oz Silver Bullion, Spade Guinea 2018
- 1 oz Silver Bullion, Spade Guinea 2019

Royal Mint
Royal Mint
Military Guinea 2020: Details
CountrySaint Helena
CurrencySaint Helena Pound
Coin TypeGold Other Sizes
MonarchQueen Elizabeth II
EffigyQueen Elizabeth II - Portrait by Jody Clark (Uncouped version)
ReverseRoyal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom
Face Value1.05 (x Pound)
Total Mintage700
Material0.9167 Gold
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
OrientationMedal Alignment (Axis 0)
Size24.000 mm
Mass8.400 g
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Military Guinea 2020: Photos
Coin, Saint Helena, Gold Military Guinea 2020
Copyright: The East India Company
Coin, Saint Helena, Gold Military Guinea 2020
Copyright: The East India Company
Coin, Saint Helena, Gold Military Guinea 2020
Copyright: The East India Company