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1613-1615 King James I Hammered Gold Unite Cinquefoil

1613-1615 James I Hammered Gold Unite MM Cinquefoil Obverse

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Hammered gold Unite from James the First’s second coinage (1604-1619). The obverse shows the fifth, half-length armoured bust of the king, facing right, holding an orb in his right hand and a sceptre in the other. His crown extends through a beaded circle that rings the portrait and into the legend which begins with a cinquefoil mint mark. This dates this coin to between 1613 and 1615. The reverse shows an ornate, quartered shield of royal arms, surmounted by a crown. James’ arms show emblems of Scotland and Ireland in two quarters with the arms of England and France represented in the others. The letters ‘I’ and ‘R’ appear each side of the shield for ‘Iacobus Rex’ - the latinised form of ‘King James’. A very clear cinquefoil mint mark can be seen in the reverse legend as can double pellet stops between words. Unites were first struck at the Tower Mint during James’ reign, the name indicating his intention of uniting the parliaments of England and Scotland, after his accession united the crowns of the two states. This is further indicated by the reverse legend, unique to this reign which translates as ‘I will make them one nation’.By the time that this Unite was minted the value of this denomination had been raised from its initial value of twenty Shillings to twenty two Shillings from 1612, a move prompted by an increase in the price of gold in Europe. Spink 2620, North 2085, Schneider 28.
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Fifth bust. Half-length portrait of the king, facing right, crowned and holding orb and sceptre. Surrounded by beaded circle, cut by crown. Legend around: 'IACOBS: D.’ G.’ MA.’ BRI.’ FRA.’ ET.’ HI.’ REX'. Mint mark: cinquefoil.


Shield of royal arms, surmounted by crown which extends through the legend. 'I' and 'R' to either side. Legend: '· FACIAM: EOS: IN: GENTEM: VNAM ·'.


AVF - Top edge damage (probable mount removed), minor scratches, mainly to obverse, clear well struck legends: approaching Very Fine.

What Are Gold Unites?

Unites were a large English gold coin, first issued in the reign of King James I (ruled 1603 to 1625). Their name speaks to the union of the crowns, brought by James’ accession to the English throne, and his unsuccessful plans to unite the legislatures of his two kingdoms. Initially, these coins were valued at 20 Shillings but the value was later increased to 22 Shillings. Unites were minted as part of James’ second coinage (1604-1619) and were reintroduced during the reign of his son, King Charles I. Charles’ Unites were minted at the Tower but also - rarely - by provincial Civil War mints. Production continued during the interregnum period and after the restoration of Charles II. They ceased to be minted as machine milling became standard, replaced with the gold Guinea.

Frequently Asked Questions

Unites were large hammered gold coins first issued in the reign of James I, named for his plans to unite England and Scotland.


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