The Britannia is a classic bullion coin available in four different weights. Introduced in 1987, Britannia are popular gold coins minted by the Royal Mint.
Britannia Gold Coin & First Year of Issue
The name derives from the Latin Britannia "Britanni" which means "the Islanders". In modern times, the name is seen more as a national personification (National figure), which stands for Great Britain. First introduced in 1987, Britannia gold coins, minted by the British Royal Mint, are offered in four different weights (1oz, ½ oz, 1/4 oz and 1/10oz). The Britannia is considered the first pure European investment coin. By comparison, annual sales are not nearly as high as the Krugerrand, but most banks and bullion dealers stock the Britannia.
Appearance of Britannia & Design
The original design of the gold coin shows the motif of the Britannia with flowing robes, equipped with shield and trident. The female figure in the editions of the Britannia has often changed, yet the first motif created by P. Nathan has been used repeatedly. The label on the front contains the weight in ounces, the name Britannia and the year of coinage.
The reverse bears the profile of Queen Elizabeth II. Only slight changes to adjust the appearance of the ruler have been made over the years. Noted on the back is also the nominal value in Pounds sterling.
Weights, Alloy & Nominal Value
From the beginning of the coin series in 1987, the Britannia gold coin from the British Royal Mint, was minted with a 22 karat gold-copper alloy. The 22 karat alloy can also be found with the British Sovereign & the South African Krugerrand. The 22 K gold coins have a fineness of 916/1000, and have the advantage of a lesser purity which increases scratch resistance.
From 1987 to 1988 the Britannia had a pure gold copper alloy with 91.66% gold and 8.34% copper. From 1989 the 22 K alloy was changed so that the copper content was halved and substituted with silver. Thus, the Britannia lost the yellow reddish appearance that the famous Krugerrand has. Since 2013, Britannias have been minted in a 24 karat gold quality with a fineness of 999.9/1000. The fine weight of gold remained the same in all the previous editions.
The Royal Mint is the official mint of the United Kingdom. Founded in 886 in London, the mint relocated in 1975-76 and is headquartered in Llantrisant, 15 kilometers from Cardiff. The most famous director of the Royal Mint was Sir Isaac Newton. He became the “Warden of the Mint” in the year 1696 and three years later took position of “Master of the Mint”.
In 1717 Sir Isaac Newton oversaw the switch from the silver standard to the gold standard. This was done by lowering the valuation of silver compared to gold. By changing the gold / silver ratio on the European mainland, silver coins were gradually taken out of circulation.
British Gold Coins
Other gold coins from Great Britain are the Sovereign the Guinea. The Guinea is the predecessor of the Sovereign and was coined from 1663 to 1813. The Guinea gold coin was a classic circulation coin and legal tender in the British Commonwealth area. In 1817 the Sovereign was introduced to replace the Guinea. This happened under King George III. The Sovereign has a classic 22 K gold copper alloy which is considered a model for today's Krugerrand.
Benefits of Gold Coins
Value in most cases equal to the price of gold
Gold coins can be stored in small spaces
Quickly convertible into cash
Capital gains tax exempt in the UK
Gold Price of Britannia
The price of Britannia gold coins is based on the official price of gold. The Britannia is available in 22 karat and 24 karat versions, but both versions contain the same amount of fine gold. The 24 K Britannia has been minted since 2013.
Taxation of Britannia Gold Coins
In Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Britannia gold coins are considered investment coins and are therefore exempt from VAT and also exempt from capital gains tax. This feature makes the Britannia a popular investment in gold. Profits do not get taxed.