Coin (obverse), Unicorn, from reign of James IV

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Postcard of Coin (obverse), Unicorn, from reign of James IV.
© National Museums Scotland

Coin (obverse), Unicorn, from reign of James IV

This is the obverse of a gold James IV unicorn, worth 18 shillings Scots. It was minted in Edinburgh sometime between 1500 and 1513. Unicorns were first issued during James III's reign and replaced the Rider as the unit of gold currency.

The obverse shows a unicorn galloping left and a shield depicting the Royal Arms of Scotland. The Latin inscription reads: 'James IV by the Grace of God, King of Scots'.

James IV's coins were mainly continuations of the types issued during the previous reign. Those stylistic changes that did occur were largely backward-looking. No attempt was made to follow James III's example of using a realistic portrait.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-050-588-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  H.C136
Date: 1500 - 1513
Between 1500 and 1513
Material: Gold; very slightly bent; slight wear. Inscription: Obv. Crown . IACOBVS 4 : DEI . GRA . REX . SCOTO RVM .; stops are five-pointed star, double pellet, three five-pointed stars, single pellet; unicorn to left, supporting shield of arms; crown around neck;
Dimensions: 25.00 mm D / Die Axis: 10.5
What: Coin Type: Stewart IIIb
Coin, unicorn
Subject: Queen Street Coin Collection
Who: James IV
Where: Scotland, Midlothian, Edinburgh
Description: James IV gold unicorn, Edinburgh, 1500 - 1513
  • 'Currency' multimedia programme NMS 1994 
  • Seaby, Peter and Purvey, P. Frank. Standard Catalogue of British Coins Volume 2: Coins of Scotland, Ireland and the Islands. London: B.A. Seaby, 1984 
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