British Gold Unites - Information
The unite was introduced into the British coinage in 1604 under James I, and continued until 1666 in the reign of Charles II.
This is our index page of unites on this website.
Unites - Brief History
With the accession of James VI of Scotland to the English throne in 1603, changes were made to the "British" coinage. The Royal Titles of Coat of Arms changed with immediate effect, and the large impressive gold sovereigns were still issued, but only during the first two years.
In 1604, the weight of the gold pound (previously the sovereign) was reduced, and the Unite introduced as the new pound (20 shillings) coin. Its name was chosen to denote the fact that James was now ruling a unified domain.
From 1612, the value of the Unite was raised to 22 shillings, until 1619 when it was replaced by a new, lighter gold pound coin known as the Laurel, from the fact that the King is shown wearing a laurel wreath.
In the confused reign of Charles I, Unites were once again issued, from the very start of his reign, until near to the bitter end.
Human heads were removed from coins in the Commonwealth period, and when Cromwell permitted his own head to appear on gold coins, these were new denominations of Broad and Fifty Shillings, no Unites being issued.
At the very start of the reign of Charles II, Unites were again issued, but only in the first few years, 1660 to 1662. After this period, the guinea, a milled coin, replaced the old hammered denominations.
Most unites have a typical portrait of the King, with a large crowned shield on the reverse.
The legend (inscription) on the reverse appear to be what distinguishes a Unite from any otherwise similar denomination. This reads:
FACIAM EOS IN GENTEM UNAM, which translates from Latin to English as "I will make them one nation", found on Unites of James I.
Unites of Charles I have the reverse legend:-
FLORENT CONCORDIA REGNA, meaning "Kingdoms flourish through concord".
Fractional & Multiple Unites
As with most denominations, there were fractions issued; these were the Half Unite, but there was no Quarter Unite. There were also multiple Unites issued; these were Double Unites and Triple Unites.
In the Scottish coinage of James VI of Scotland, there were Units, Half Units, and a Quarter Unit, which all help to add to the confusion.
Unites for Sale & Wanted
1604 - 1619
1625 - 1648
1649 - 1660
1660 - 1662
Diameter||35 to 37 mm. *
Weight||10 grams *
Fineness||0.9166 or 0.9790
Actual gold content||0.29 ounces. *
* = Approximately
We will shortly be adding a stock listing of unites linked to this page.
Coins Wanted - We Buy Unites
We make an active market in almost all world coins, gold or otherwise, including British gold unites and all gold coins, whether listed on this page or not. If you have any of these coins to sell, please contact us, or post them to us for appraisal and offer.
Fifth Bust of James I on Obverse of Gold Unite
Collectors Gold Coin Index
Large Crowned Shield on Reverse of James I Gold Unite
First Bust of Charles I on Obverse of 1625 Unite
Large Crowned Shield on Reverse of Charles I Gold Unite