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 British, Defender of the Faith") around the edge, and "1813" between the edge inscription and the garter.
The design was by Mr Nathaniel Marchant from the Royal Mint, London. Engraver: Thomas Wyon Junior.
At centre, a shield set within the Garter, crowned; the shield is quartered with the arms of England, Scotland, France and Ireland with inescutcheon the arms of the Electorate of Brunswick and Luneburg surmounted by the Electoral cap; motto on the Garter; HONI SOI QUI MAL Y PENSE; the base of the Garter divides the date 1813; around, BRITANNIANUM REX FIDEI DEFENSOR.