The British Royal Mint introduced the Britannia silver coin series in 1997. The design of the front is the "Britannia" and is regarded as an allegory for the Channel Islands. The investment coin is marked annually and issued in four weights. The smaller denominations are usually available in proof quality for collectors.
Fineness, size, weight and denomination
From 1997 to 2012 Britannia silver coins had a fineness of 958/1000. Since 2013 they have been made with a fineness of 999/1000. This higher fine weight is basically standard, since most investment silver coins have the high 999/1000 fineness. The Britannia is minted with the weights of 1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz and 1/10 oz
Fineweight OuncesFineweight GramsDiameterNominal Value
1 oz 31.10 g 40 mm 2 Pounds
1/2 oz 16.96 g 27 mm 1 Pound
1/4 oz 8.48 g 22 mm 50 Pence
1/10 oz 3.11 g 16.5 mm 20 Pence
The appearance of the coin
The Britannia silver has a rippled edge and an edge rod. The edge bar on the inside of the coin shows a decorative circle, not made out of points, but of trapezoidal rectangles. Next to design and aesthetic considerations the edge has the function of enabling better stackability of the coin. The edge bar also serves to protect the obverse and reverse against damage.
The design of the front has the mythological figure of the "Britannia" as the center. Since Roman times the figure represents the "country goddess" of the British Isles and is now equated with Britain.
The Britannia is shown mostly with a trident, shield and Corinthian helmet, in some editions a lion or horse and chariot can be seen. In addition to the mint year of the Britannia, the front shows the name of the coin, fineness and the word "Fine Silver".
The back of the Britannia silver coin is dominated by the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. As with all coins in the United Kingdom, the portrait of the Ruler is updated at irregular intervals in order to take the changed appearance into account.
In addition to the portrait, the name of Her Majesty the Queen and the nominal value in Pounds can be seen. Behind the name of the Queen is the Latin abbreviation REG FID DEF, which stands for Regina Fidei Defensor, which means “Defender of faith”.
The History of Britannia coins began in 1987 with the introduction of Britannia gold coins. They were also issued in the four standard weights 1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz and 1/10 oz from the start. Ten years later In 1997, the Royal Mint introduced the Britannia in silver to the market. The four above-mentioned weights were also minted in silver from the start of the Britannia Silver coin series. The fineness was 958/1000 from 1997 to 2012 and 999/1000 from 2013 on.
Britannia silver coins are minted by the British Royal Mint. It is one of the oldest mints in the world. Founded in 886 in London, we can say the Royal Mint has been established for more than 1000 years. At times, the Royal Mint was housed in the Tower of London. Today, the Mint has its headquarters in Llantrisant south of Wales. The most famous product of the Royal Mint, next to the British Pound, is the Sovereign. The Sovereign was first coined in 1489 under Henry VII and re-issued in 1817 with a weight of 7.9881 grams of 22 karat gold.
Price for Britannia Silver Coins
The price of investment silver coins are composed of the current silver price, VAT and premium. In order to buy Britannia silver coins at the best price, you should know about these three key factors.
The silver price is determined by supply and demand on the commodity markets of the world. Silver price changes have an impact on the price of Britannia silver coins.
Unlike gold coins, which are exempt from VAT, a tax must be paid when buying silver coins. The only exception is Estonia where silver can be bought VAT free from CelticGold’s Estonian branch.
The premium includes the costs and margin of both the mint and retailers. This factor is not negligible and may be in the double-digit percentage range with silver products.
Tips for buying silver coins
Before buying you familiarise yourself with the price of silver in recent years. Only then can you make an informed decision regarding the timing of when to buy silver coins.
Investors and buyers of silver coins such as the Britannia should keep in mind that there are various premiums within the different coin sizes (weights). This also applies to the different manufacturers of silver coins.
These include the Maple Leaf, Vienna Philharmonic, Kookaburra and others. For this reason, you should compare prices before buying silver coins, so that you do not buy silver coins which have an increased premium.
Britannia Silver coins are exempt from Capital Gains Tax in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. Most UK based investors invest in Britannias despite the slightly higher premium.