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Which British coins are valuable?

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Quick Answer

The most valuable British coins include the earlier guineas, any coin produced before the time of Queen Victoria and £5 gold coins from the 19th century. An Edward III double florin sold for £460,000 at an auction in 2006. Generally, coins with higher values are uncirculated coins that maintain their pristine state of preservation.

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Full Answer

The guinea was minted in Great Britain from 1663 to 1814. It was the first gold coin produced by machine in England. Collectors now value English guinea coins at around $1,000, but the exact price of a guinea coin depends on the size and quality. Most of the coins look similar, depicting a king in profile on the front. Valuable coins produced before the reign of Queen Victoria include smaller gold coins that have shields or dragons on them. These coins are often sought by collectors, and their values can range between $100 and $1,000 based on their age. Gold coins from the 19th century are quite large – sometimes weighing over 1 Troy ounce – and are valued in the range of $10,000.

While Coin Quest considers these to be some of the most valuable British coins, there are many slightly valuable coins made of silver, such as the earlier silver florins and crowns. These silver coins can be sold for about $100.

Heavily worn and damaged coins are worth less than coins exhibiting average wear. Coins with high premium values are those with minimal or no scratches, spots and stains. This is what is known as mint condition. Coins from Great Britain sometimes do not bear inscriptions indicating their origin. Coins that indicate British origins are those with inscriptions of Britt, Britannia, Brittaniarum or of British rulers Anne, George, Victoria, William, Edward and Elizabeth, usually with the inscription Dei Gratia, which means "by the grace of God."

Early large-sized guineas are very valuable gold coins owing to their gold content and intrinsic age and beauty, states CoinQuest. An example is the gold coin coming from the period of George III that appears around the size of a U.S. fifty cent coin. This coin is worth about $1,000. Very large gold coins from Great Britain usually contain more than one Troy ounce of the precious metal and derive their value from the gold. Some earlier coins, such as 5-pound gold coins issued during the early 1800s, reach up to $10,000 in value.

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