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The Saint Helena 1.25 oz Silver Standing Lion Guinea is a treasured addition to any precious metals collection. Issued by the East India Company along with the government of the British Territories’ island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic, these coins offer a beautiful design paired with a deep history.
Saint Helena may appear to be nothing but a tiny remote island between South America and Africa (in fact, one of the most remote islands in the world). But its history is unlike any other. Saint Helena was a crucial port and resupply depot controlled by the East India Company for routes as far away as Brazil and China. These routes carried goods as varied and strategic as tea, cotton, spices, and precious metals across the British empire for centuries. And the silver guinea features designs honoring this impressive backstory.
For centuries, the guinea (value 21 shillings, or 1 pound 1 shilling) was one of the world's most respected coins. As a symbol of British financial might, guineas were recognized and accepted worldwide. The honesty and reliability of the guinea were carried to the four corners of the world by explorers, merchants and traders on the East India Company's fleet of trading ships. Unfortunately, the guinea ceased to be official British coinage during the process of "decimalization."
Interestingly, high-end services and luxury goods are still billed in guineas today. Even though the bills are paid in pounds sterling, it goes to show you how powerful and lasting such a legendary coin can be.
On the obverse side of these Saint Helena legal tender bullion coins is Raphael Maklouf’s well-known effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This familiar portrait sits on a field decorated with a recurring trefoil pattern of the East India Company’s trading flag. Surrounding the Queen, the Guinea coin is stamped with the face value of £1.25, ST. HELENA, QUEEN ELIZABETH II, the year of mintage (2021), and THE EAST INDIA COMPANY.
The reverse features the historic English lion atop the St. George of England shield. Behind the standing lion are two crossed sceptres, representing the four compass points and, by extension, the manifold trade routes of the empire. These, along with the tea and cotton leaves wreathed below, denote the global scale of British exploration and diversity of trade during the East India Company's heyday. Curved around the image are the words: Guinea, 999 Silver, and 1.25 ounce.
The coin’s unique weight and distinct imagery mark the island’s storied history, and East India Company makes it an extraordinary piece for any collection. And its 0.999 fine silver purity makes it an ideal addition to any precious metal collection.
Key Features of the 1.25 Silver Lion Guinea:
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