James II (1685-88), Five Guineas, 1687, second laureate bust facing left, toothed border both sides, legend reads IACOBVS. II. DEI. GRATIA. Rev, four crowned shields cruciform, seven strings to Irish harp, sceptres in angles, plain in centre, legend reads MAG. BR. FRA. ET. HIB REX, date either side of top crown. Edge with upright raised lett ers,+ DECVS. ET. TVTAMEN. .ANNO. REGNI. TERTIO.+ (MCE 117; Schneider 453; S.3397A).
About extremely fine with an underlying mint brilliance, a superb specimen.
Five Guineas were the largest denomination issued from the reigns of Charles II all the way up to George III, replaced in the 1817 currency reform by the lighter gold Five Pound piece. Only the wealthiest and most privileged members of society would ever have handled such a large gold coin. The essence of each king and queen is superbly captured in the intricately engraved details of the struck portraits of these remarkable and imposing coins. This 1687 James II is no exception; the portrait displays James in wonderful detail and captures his true image. There is little wonder why the five guinea market has continued to go from strength to strength over the last 20 years.
Ruling from 1685 to 88, James was never as popular as his brother Charles II and in hindsight it was inevitable he would not have a long accomplished reign. His reign will always be remembered for conflicts over religious tolerance and his increasing support and promotion of Catholicism. His overthrowing end eventual refuge in France brought to an end a century of political and civil contention by confi rming the position of Parliament over Crown and the supremacy of the Protestant Faith.
Intriguingly in the year of 1687, on the 5th July, Sir Isaac Newton’s volume of three books was first published, known as “Principia”. Influenced by the famous astronomer Edmond Halley, after whom the renowned comet is named, Newton completed his theory of gravity and applied to it the motions of the earth, moon and sun – leading To his finished version of the “Principia”, published in the year of this Five Guineas, justifiably described by some, as the greatest science book ever written.