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What is a Britannia?

Learn about Gold, Silver, & Platinum Britannias 

Britannias are British coins issued by The Royal Mint since 1987. Initially, the series only had gold coins, then silver was released in 1997, and platinum was released in 2018. The coins feature a variety of depictions of Britannia, a feminine personification of the United Kingdom.

What is a Gold Britannia?

The Gold Britannia, a distinguished series of British coins introduced by The Royal Mint in 1987, is a testament to the rich heritage of British coinage. These coins feature various depictions of Britannia, an iconic feminine representation of the United Kingdom.

Gold Britannias are meticulously crafted in four sizes, catering to diverse preferences and investment needs. Available in 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz denominations, these coins hold face values in British pounds (£) of £100, £50, £25, and £10, respectively. Comprising .9167 fine gold, Gold Britannias are recognized as legal tender in Great Britain, adding a unique aspect to their value.

Initially alloyed with copper until 1990, the Gold Britannia underwent a significant change in its composition. From 1990 onwards, the coins have been alloyed with silver, resulting in a distinctive, lighter yellow color compared to their earlier counterparts. This alteration enhanced the visual appeal and showcased The Royal Mint’s commitment to refining the quality of these coins. In 2013, the fineness of Gold Britannias was further elevated to .9999 fine, attesting to the mint’s dedication to precision and purity in their coinage.

The Gold Britannia has played a pivotal role in shaping the coin market, with its timeless design and impeccable craftsmanship garnering attention from collectors and investors alike. The series reflects the enduring legacy of British numismatics and symbolizes the nation’s cultural and historical significance.

What is a Silver Britannia?

Following the success of the Gold Britannia bullion coins introduced in 1987, the Royal Mint released the Silver Britannia coin in 1997 – with the 1997 Silver Britannias being issued only as proof coins with a mintage of 20,000. Silver Britannia coins have a face value of £2. The silver bullion coins produced from 1998 to 2012 are .958 fine silver, as opposed to the standard British sterling of .925 fine silver, with the 2013 bullion issue being .999 fine. Silver Britannias are issued in 1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz, and 1/10 oz sizes with face values of £1, £50, and £20 respectively.

The attractive design of the Silver Britannia was created to appeal to collectors and investors alike. The obverse of the 1997 issue of the silver coin features the “Third Portrait” used on British decimal bullion coins from 1985 to 1997. In 1998, the obverse design of the Silver Britannia coin, along with the obverse designs on all other British coins, changed to depict the “Fourth Portrait,” a more mature likeness of Queen Elizabeth II – then the “Fifth Portrait” in 2016 and the first portrayal of King Charles III in 2023.

The reverse of the Silver Britannia coin illustrates the Standing Britannia, which appears in a horse-drawn chariot. The Standing Britannia image was originally engraved by G.W. De Saulles and used on the florins of Edward VII from 1902 to 1910 and on the Gold Britannia coins for most of the issues following 1987.

What is a Platinum Britannia?

In 2018, The Royal Mint expanded the Britannia series by introducing Platinum Britannia coins, adding another option to the popular collection. These coins are available in two sizes, 1 oz and 1/10 oz, and are crafted from .9995 fine platinum. Reflecting the esteemed Britannia design, these coins carry face values of £100 for the 1 oz denomination and £10 for the 1/10 oz denomination.

The Platinum Britannias distinguishes itself through its exceptional purity, comprising 99.95% fine platinum. This high level of purity enhances the coins’ intrinsic value and showcases the Royal Mint’s commitment to producing coins of the highest quality. The face values, denominated in British pounds (£), add a legal tender aspect to these platinum coins, making them a unique and valuable addition to any collection.

Continuing the tradition of the Britannia series, the Platinum Britannia features the iconic depiction of Britannia, the enduring symbol of the United Kingdom. The designs, synonymous with the series, capture the essence of British cultural and historical significance. The Standing Britannia, initially engraved by G.W. De Saulles, graces the reverse of the Platinum Britannia coin, connecting the platinum edition to its gold and silver counterparts.

Platinum Britannias offer collectors and investors a distinctive choice in the precious metals market. With their elegant design, impeccable craftsmanship, and the rarity of platinum, these coins stand out as a symbol of sophistication and enduring value. Adding platinum to the Britannia series provides a diversified investment opportunity for those seeking to broaden their precious metal portfolios.

Britannias: Combining Culture & Historical Significance

The Gold, Silver, and Platinum Britannias released by The Royal Mint since 1987 showcase a rich tapestry of British numismatic history. The common thread of Britannia’s iconic representation ties these coins together, illustrating the cultural and historical significance of the United Kingdom. As the Britannia series continues to evolve, each edition contributes to the legacy of British coinage, appealing to enthusiasts and investors with its timeless design, purity, and legal tender status.

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