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Saint Helena Spade Guinea
Government issued silver bullion coins from the St. Helena Spade Guinea series

Saint Helena Spade Guinea

The government and treasury of St. Helena, in association with the East India Company, have issued a new silver coin that launches the bullion coin program which will be under the guidance of the East India Company. The East India Company and the government of St Helena have a long and historic association with the issuing of coinage, which was first issued in 1821. The new silver one-ounce coins, which are official legal tender in Saint Helena for one pound, includes a reverse design that features the historic shield that was depicted on the gold spade guinea — first issued in 1787 during the reign of King George III. The guinea denomination itself was first introduced by Charles II in 1663 and has the distinction as being the first English machine-struck coin. Originally worth one pound (or 20 shillings), over time its value fluctuated with the price of gold until 1717 when Britain adopted the gold standard and its value was fixed at 21 shillings.

The “spade” guinea was so-called due to the shape of the shield seen on its reverse which contained the various representations of the British Kingdom that resembled a shovel or spade. It is also noteworthy to mention that the coin’s moniker of a “spade” may have alluded to the nickname of King George III who was known as “the farmer king” or “Farmer George” since His Majesty was known to prefer his time in the countryside tending to his gardens and also showed a keen interest in agriculture. The coat of arms, which is depicted on the new silver bullion spade guinea ounce coins, includes the crests representing the realms within the United Kingdom during the near 60-year reign of King George III.

During the years which the guinea was minted and circulated, it became one of the world’s most respected gold coinages in history carrying with it a reputation of trust and purity that became the pride of Britain’s coinage for 150 years. The inscription DECUS ET TUTAMEN, meaning an ornament, and a safeguard along with the year of the reign of the serving monarch was included along the edge of the larger five-guinea coins. These iconic words remain associated with the guinea, which is also a testament to its beauty and reliability. A symbol of Britain’s rising colonial power and economic strength, the guinea was recognized and accepted throughout the world as a reliable currency and trusted by merchants as they travelled the world on East India Company ships.

The coins are produced by Sunshine Mint on behalf of the government of St. Helena. They are minted with 1 Oz of .999 fine silver and are legal tender bearing the face value of 1 Pound. Both the obverse and reverse feature a distinct East India Company traditional pattern in the fields. The reverse bears the distinctive quality mintmark of the East India Company which is seen below the primary design.


Silver Bullion Mintage

Year 1 Oz
2018 Unknown
2019 30,000



Obverse: The obverse bears the elegant effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II created by internationally renowned sculptor Raphael Maklouf. The text around the Queen’s portrait includes the name of issuing authority of St. Helena, the denomination £1, and the year 2018.

Reverse: On the reverse side is the image of the British Royal Arms featured on the Spade Guinea coinage in 1787. The shield in this form was carried from 1714 to 1800 after the Act of Settlement 1701. The shield bears the three lilies of France in the upper-right quadrant and the harp of Ireland in the lower-left quadrant. The upper left includes the three lions of England the rampant lion of Scotland. The lower-right quadrant bears the white horse of Hanover as the primary element among three other elements marking the monarchs lands in Brunswick and Luneburg, with the Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire.

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