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George III quarter guinea

It’s always great to unearth a gold coin of any description. However, the one pictured here has been converted into something else: a love token.

For those unfamiliar with coins like this one I’ll give a few details. The bending of coins was particularly prevalent during the 18th century. William III sixpences were particularly popular; copper coins are quite scarce and gold very rare. They were bent into an S-shape and were then presented by an admirer to a man or woman as a token of love. If the love was reciprocated then the token would be kept; if the receiver didn’t fancy the presenter then the token would be thrown away.

The specimen featured here, a George III quarter guinea dated 1762, was found by Andrew Thompson. I was asked if the conversion made it unusual and if it would mean it was worth only its bullion value. Well, as a gold love token it is highly unusual. However, I do remember seeing one exactly the same, so it isn’t unique. In the 1760s a quarter guinea was worth five shillings and three pence, which was more than some people earned by working hard for a full week. Therefore, whoever handed over this gold love token must have really admired the person it was given to. When it was thrown away I wonder how long the presenter spent searching the surrounding area.


Would it be worth only its bullion value? A George III quarter guinea weighs 2.08 grams of 22ct. gold and on the day I checked the spot price it was £43.34 per gram, so the gold in Andrew’s find would be very close to £90.  If he wanted to sell the find then the offer from a bullion dealer would be 5 to 10% lower than the spot price. A numismatist would probably pay more but the best price would come from someone who collected love tokens, if it was possible to track one down.

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