George I (1714-27), Guinea, 1714 “Prince Elector” type, first laureate head facing right, toothed border surrounding, legend reads GEORGIVS. D.G. MAG.BR.FR. ET. HIB. REX. F.D. Rev, first reverse with Prince Elector title, crowned cruciform shields, incorporating the Arms of Hanover, sceptres in angles, garter star at centre, date either side of tope crown. Legend reads BRVN. ET LVN. DVX S.R.I.A.TH ET. PR. EL. (Schneider 544; MCE 245; S.3628).
An exceptional piece, fully struck in fine detail with mint brilliance, a rare one year only type with original lustre.
In 1701 after Queen Mary died childless and Queen Anne looked increasingly unlikely to have an heir, Parliament was forced to select a successor that would enable a Protestant line to succeed to the England throne Their choice was the Electress Sophia of Hanover (grand-daughter of James I), who would have been queen of England had she not died before Queen Anne. Thus Sophia’s son Georg Ludwig became, not only Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg and Prince Elector of the Holy Roman Empire, but also King George I of England. He spoke German all his life and only visited his English kingdom periodically. The arms of Hanover were now included in the English arms and it was during this reign, in 1721, that the office of Prime Minister was created when the king turned over his governing authority to Parliament and its ministers. The king’s many titles appear in abbreviated Latin form on this coin including those of his Prince Electorship which is the reason for the name of this coin – it was quickly produced within a few weeks of his succession, perhaps to establish beyond doubt his claim to the English crown. The style of the portrait is very continental with its flamboyant and swirling locks of hair – more in keeping with some of the contemporary German issues. However, this one year type is now considered one of the most handsome guineas of recently united England and Scotland.