English Gold Unite
The production of these types of coins was initiated in Europe at the start of the 17th century. Its extrinsic value during that time was equivalent to twenty (20) shillings which during these contemporary times would be the same as one pound in the EU. Though, the value of this coin rose by 1612 to become twenty-two shillings since gold, its raw material, had risen in value as well. The central production of these coins was found in the capital of England, London, in a mint which was called Tower Mint.
Its name speaks of its purpose, King James I, initiated its production so that the countries, Scotland and England, would be united in using the same type of money in their transactions. His predecessors Charles I, Cromwell, and Charles II carried the same purpose during their own reign, but, they personalized it with their own design to show their rule over the country.
For the King James I gold unite it mostly followed the traditional designs of the gold coins that were made in the country with inscriptions that showed the purpose of its creation IACOBUS D G MA BRI FRA ET HI REX in front and FACIAM EOS IN GENTEM UNAM at the back which means “coming from the grace of their King” and “for the unity of all his nation”. Once the value of gold had risen on 1612, by 1619 he tried to make gold coins that showed him wearing a laurel on his head rather than his crown.
Charles I gold unite had been produced at coin manufacturers all over England. These coins had a lot more variations in terms of design and size as well. There existed a half unite which also meant that it were half of its value, ten shillings. He also successfully produced a triple unite gold coin which was valued at three times the value at sixty shillings. It was a larger version of the unite coin measured at approximately 1 and ¾ inches in diameter. With the design on the coin, it represented much of the kind of situation that Charles I had during his reign which was civil unrest and a tumultuous society. There are plenty of evidences for the Tower Mint produced coins, but, those that came from other mints like Pontefract and Worcester are a rare commodity. Also, the triple unite gold coins are a rarity as well.
With the decision to have a Commonwealth in England (1649-1660), the reason behind it was to repair the damage that was caused by the civil war. Gold unite coins were also produced, but, the design completely went in the opposite direction from what was traditional with features like, no face at the front (representing its break from monarchy) and different inscriptions which were written in English. Other denominations weren’t made during this transition coins were only at twenty shillings.
After the Commonwealth, Charles II ruled England (1660-1685) and it also marked the last time these unite coins were produced. It also marked the technological advancement in the coin manufacturing industry from manual hammering to the use of machines to make these coins. With a more efficient production, it had more denominations with coins valued at 10, 20, 40, and 100 shillings. They weren’t only known as gold unite coins, but, also “guinea” representing the place where its raw materials were made.
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