Precious Metals

East India Company issues coin with classic design

A new 1-ounce silver bullion coin from Saint Helena recreates the Spade Guinea Shield coin design.

Images courtesy of the British East India Company.

A new silver bullion coin recalls a classic British gold coin design.

The East India Company has released its 2018 Spade Guinea Shield 1-ounce .999 fine silver £1 bullion coin under the coin issuing authority of Saint Helena. The guinea was first struck in 1663 for King Charles II and was a symbol of Britain’s rising colonial power, as it became recognized and accepted throughout the world.

The guinea was known for its purity and reliability, and the 5-guinea coin even had the edge inscription DECUS ET TUTAMEN, meaning “an ornament and a safeguard,” further securing its symbol as a reliable coin.

1806 Mint reportInside Coin World: About those 1805 silver dollars Although an 1806 Mint document claims 321 silver dollar were made in 1805, no such coins are known today. It took a later book to explain the reference.

The Spade guinea’s design was first introduced in 1787 by King George III, and its design represented England and Scotland, France, Ireland and the German possessions of the Hanoverian dynasty.


Scotland and England’s merger to form Great Britain is represented by the standing lion of Scotland alongside three lions that symbolize England, Normandy and Aquitaine. 

Until 1801, the royal arms also included the arms of France, represented by three gold fleurs-de-lis on a blue ground, symbolizing the king’s approved right to rule. The Ireland coat of arms is symbolized by a gold harp with silver strings. Hanover’s coat of arms included a galloping horse on the lowest part of a shield that included the side-by-side English and Scottish lions. These four coats of arms together form the Spade Guinea Shield design featured on this coin.

The obverse of the coin shows the Raphael Maklouf effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. 

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Both the obverse and reverse of the coin feature a distinct modern East India Company pattern in the fields.

The coin is available individually, in tubes of 20 coins, or master boxes containing 400 coins (20 rolls of 20 coins each). It has a mintage to demand, according to the issuer.

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