Featured Two Old Gold Coins, One British, One American, That Had Similar Values

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by johnmilton, May 25, 2020.

  1. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Here are two old gold coins, from England and the United States, the guinea and the half eagle. Both coins have a similar size and had similar values.

    1798 Geuinea.jpg

    England introduced the guinea on February 6, 1663. The name “guinea” came from the African nation which was the source of much of the gold that went into these coins initially. It originally had a value of one British pound or 20 shillings. As it was the United States, the bimetallic system did not work well. Over time the value of the coin varied from 20 to as high as 30 shillings. Ultimately the value settled down to 21 shillings.

    This coin contained 0.2472 ounces of gold. The rule of thumb was that it was a quarter ounce of gold. In terms of the U.S. dollar, it was valued at about $5 in the 1790s and early 1800s give or take.

    This guinea dated 1798 is a common date. It is called a “spade guinea” because of the shape of the British shield on the reverse. The British stopped issuing these coins not too long after this date because the problems Napoleon was causing on the continent.

    1795 Half Eagle.jpg

    The United States introduced the half eagle in July 1795. The coin contained 0.2583 ounces of gold, which works out to 4.5% more gold than the British coin. Over time all of the early U.S. gold coins were found to be too heavy. As the 1800s wore on, most of them were shipped to Europe where they were soon melted. That is why these coins are scarce to rare today.

    It may sound odd to beginning collectors, the U.S. gold coins from the early 1800s are not as rare as the gold pieces from the 1820s to August 1834. The reason is that the export and melting of U.S. gold really cranked up in the late 18 teens.

    Given the collector demand and the number survivors, the U.S. half eagle is much more expensive today as a collector’s item. The common date guineas in less than Mint State are affordable if you are willing to spend up to $2,000 for a coin. The U.S. coin will cost you several times as much.

    1776 Guinea.jpg

    Here is guinea dated 1776. I bought this piece from the estate of a collector I knew quite well when I lived in the Boston area.
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  3. DBDc80

    DBDc80 Numismatist

    Both are beautiful coins....but that 1795 is a jaw dropper....wow!!
    johnmilton likes this.
  4. micbraun

    micbraun coindiccted

    Nice coins, as always. I am still wondering who had the fancier hairstyle for the era, George III or Lady Liberty :)
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