The Britannia gold coin features a portrait shot of the Queen on the front. The reverse side has the namesake Britannia’s image, which has been altered quite a few times over the years.
The Royal Mint makes the gold Britannia coins and has been doing so since 1987 with no cap on mintage. It also takes care of the proof sets and unique issues that the British government commissions.
Made by the Royal Mint and backed by the Government of the United Kingdom, the quality, purity, and authenticity of Britannia coins are assured, to say the least.
About Gold coins
The British love their gold (not necessarily jewelry), and the fact that it’s home to many high-quality bullion coins is no surprise. The United Kingdom has a rich history and culture, which it tries to showcase through its food, buildings, artifacts, and also gold bullion. Britain-made gold coins are some of the most iconic and coveted in the trading world. The Britannia gold coin is one of them.
The Britannia bullion coin is one of the favorite gold coins of the British. However, the coin’s popularity is not limited to Great Britain. It has equal clout among global investors, including those in the United States. If you’re new to gold bullion investing, you may have heard about the bullion coin.
If you are a seasoned investor with several years of investing and coin-collecting experience behind you, the gold Britannia coin would have indeed crossed your radar. Despite that, you may not know everything about the popular gold coin. And if you’re a newbie, your knowledge about the coin is most likely next to nothing.
Regardless of your understanding of gold coins, you must read up more. Through this article, we’ve set out to help you do just that. The topics we shall cover for your holistic understanding of the gold coin include:
- A general overview of the coin
- The coin’s design and specifications
- How much gold the coin contains
- Should you buy the coin, and much more
If you ever needed a 101 on Britannia gold coins, you cannot not read this.
About the Britannia Gold Coin
The Britannia gold coin is a British bullion coin. Issued by the British Royal Mint, the gold coin has been around since 1987. The coin has silver and platinum versions also, which were released much later. The coin was made to compete with the Krugerrand, which is why the coin wasn’t 24 karats, to begin with.
Britannia coins are legal tender in the United Kingdom. But like every other bullion coin, the coin’s intrinsic value is far greater than the denominated value. That means the coin is never traded at face value. However, the legal tender status means the Britannia coins don’t fall under the CGT (Capital Gains Tax) for UK residents, no matter the number of coins accumulated.
Gold Britannia bullion coins originally came in four sizes: 1 t oz, ½ t oz, ¼ t oz, and 1/10 t oz. A couple more sizes were introduced in 2013, a 5 oz coin and a 1/20 troy-ounce coin. There’s also a 1/40 troy-ounce special issue (more on that later). The denominated values of the coins begin at 50 pence and go up to £500 (5 oz variant). The Royal Mint changed the gold content of the Britannias during the early 2010s. As a result, the coin’s physical dimensions and weight got modified.
The following are gold Britannia coin specifications from 1987 to 2012:
|Particulars||1 oz||½ oz||¼ oz||1/10 oz|
|Diameter||32.69 mm||27 mm||22 mm||16.50 mm|
|Thickness||2.79 mm||2.08 mm||1.57 mm||1.2 mm|
|Weight||31.10 g||15.55 g||7.77 g||3.11 g|
The following are the measurements for coins produced in 2013 and thereafter:
|Particulars||1 oz||½ oz||¼ oz||1/10 oz||1/20 oz||1/40 oz||5 oz|
|Diameter||38.61 mm||27 mm||22 mm||16.50 mm||12 mm||8 mm||50 mm|
|Thickness||2.79 mm||2.08 mm||1.57 mm||1.2 mm||0.83 mm|
|Weight||31.10 g||15.6 g||7.86 g||3.13 g||1.58 g||0.8 g||156.29 g|
|Face value||£100||£50||£25||£10||£1||50 p||£500|
The above-mentioned one-troy-ounce coin’s dimensions are applicable only for 2013. Starting in 2014, the same coin was minted smaller and thicker. The British Royal Mint reduced the coin’s diameter to 32.69 mm and increased its thickness to 3 mm.
Why Invest in the Britannia Gold Coin?
Britannia gold coins are great investments as they are extremely popular in the UK, the U.S., and several other parts of the world. The coin enjoys a high-liquidity status in any place with a robust investor and collector community. Not to mention, the coin is backed by the British government, making it a valuable and reliable piece of precious metal.
Britannia Gold Coin Design
“Britannia” is essentially Britain personified as a woman. The lady usually appears with a shield, trident, and helmet. The Britannia image was first used in British coinage roughly 2000 years ago and featured on several ancient currencies, including Roman coins. Britannia is typically showcased seated. But between 1901 and 1935, coin designers showcased her in a standing position—for instance, on British Trade Dollars. And there have been multiple changes in her posture on different coins after that.
The coin’s obverse side features the profile portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. The coin’s reverse side bears the classic imagery of Britannia. On the lower left, underneath Britannia’s flowing gown, is a trident denoting Britannia’s strong maritime influence. The surface-level animation reflects the wave movement and fine details—for instance, the Union Flag on the Union Jack shield. Do note that there could be slight variations in the reverse side designs of the gold and silver coins.
For the gold Britannia coin’s 10th anniversary in 1997, a fresh design was released. The new design featured the Britannia driving a two-horse chariot in a standing position. Sculptor Philip Nathan conceived the standing Britannia on gold Britannia coins. In 2001, Philip Nathan changed the design again, showcasing the Britannia standing next to a lion. The portrayal was reminiscent of the 1839 £5 Una and Lion coins. In 2005, a seated Britannia design came about.
The Britannia bullion coin design has had its iterations over the years, with the recent versions having four security features embedded. The innovative security features include a micro-text, animated background, tincture lines, and a latent feature. As a result, the coin is easy to authenticate through sight. In other words, they decrease counterfeiting risks.
Britannia Gold Coin Metal Contents
The Gold Britannia is a pure gold, 24-karat coin. It, however, wasn’t a fine gold specimen always. Until 2012, the coin was a 22-karat piece (91.7 percent gold; 0.917 millesimal fineness). The remainder was copper until 1989. In 1990, silver replaced copper. Starting in 2013, the gold Britannias assumed a pure gold avatar.
Britannia Gold Proof Coin
Pretty much all Gold Britannias come as proof sets. The Royal Mint makes proof variants of the coin every year. They are typically available in the first four size sets (1 oz to 1/10 oz). The smaller 1/20 oz and 1/40 oz proof sets are available separately. The 5-ounce coin also has a proof variant. All the proof coins are struck in 999.9 fine gold.
Britannia Gold Coin Special Issue
As a historic coin, the Britannia bullion coin certainly has had its fair share of unique issues. The British Royal Mint never misses an opportunity to celebrate a date or occasion related to the coin. In 2017, the Royal Mint issued a special edition coin commemorating the coin’s 30th anniversary. It was valued at approximately £1050. The coin was of the proof type, and the 8mm diameter meant it was the smallest Britannia coin.
Britannia Gold Coin Value and Prices
Since gold Britannia coins are minted every year in significant numbers, they are not particularly rare. Their values, therefore, have mostly never been more than the spot price of gold.
The actual price of the coins varies with the size and finish. The face values are merely symbolic and do not represent the coin’s actual value. Your buying price will always be greater than what you could sell the coin for. The coin usually trades at a premium, considering the cost of design and all the logistics attached to making the coin available to the general public.
The proof set sells for a higher price than the non-proof versions. This limited-edition Britannia 2022 5 oz coin is valued at around £12,500. If you’re out there to buy regular gold Britannia coins, expect to pay a premium of at least four to five percent. For some pieces, the price difference could be up to 10 percent more than gold market prices. The smaller coins usually sell for a greater premium.
Britannia Gold Coin: Where to Buy
Buy Britannia gold coins directly from the Royal Mint. Other authorized dealers you can shop at include Bullion By Post, Chards, and SD Bullion, to name a few. The authenticity guarantee is the biggest reason you must shop for Britannia coins at an authorized store. Moreover, the shipment arrives in a well-sealed box, which never heads to the wrong address.
The smaller coins are relatively hard to procure, particularly the 1/40-ounce variant. They are usually not listed for sale or are out of stock. Another reason the smaller variants don’t come by easily is many bullion dealers don’t want to deal with them.
Which Britannia Gold Coin Variant Should You Buy?
Buy the 1-ounce version of the Britannia gold coin if you can choose. The 1 oz variant offers the maximum value for the money as its manufacturing cost per gram is relatively low. If you opt for the smaller coins, you will pay slightly more for the making charges than the coin’s gold content itself. The larger coins are usually on the expensive side and not as accessible. Owing to their high prices, they are not very liquid, and it’s relatively difficult to find a buyer.
Since Britannia coins are continually in production, look to buy the newer versions. Besides being highly secure with their security features, the premium on the coins is also comparatively less. As they have newly arrived, you’d be able to score some attractive discounts if you buy them in bulk.
The Britannia gold coin is arguably the most popular bullion coin in the world. It’s UK’s flagship bullion coin and has attracted several British and non-UK investors alike. Several collectors and investors erected their portfolios with the gold Britannia as the foundation. And because the Britannia is such an iconic piece, its silver variant has got recognition and attention too.
If you’re looking to add a few Britannia gold coins to your kitty, hopefully, this article has guided you on the prices, variants, special issues, etc. With the above information, you should know which Britannia coin variant to buy and at what price. Most importantly, you should now be able to discern a fake Britannia coin easily. Always buy the coin from authorized dealers for the best prices and assured quality.
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Is the Britannia gold coin IRA eligible?
Yes, the Britannia gold is IRA eligible—but only those made in 2013 and later. The Britannia coins made in 2012 and before that were 91.7 percent gold, which would not qualify them for a precious metal IRA. A gold IRA requires the gold bullion procured to be 24-karat pieces and made at a recognized mint, which the Royal Mint is.
Are Britannia gold coins a good investment?
Yes, Britannia gold coins are a great investment, primarily due to their 24-karat makeup and popularity among buyers. And because it’s fine gold, it will appreciate in value as gold prices go up.
Britannia gold coin vs. Sovereign gold coin: What’s the difference?
Both the Britannia and Sovereign gold coins are well-recognized and highly sought after. The Sovereign coin, however, has a bit more clout in Asia and the Middle East, thanks to its medieval trading past. The Britannia coin is more popular in the West, especially after the recently introduced security features. Regarding design, both coins have the Queen’s right-profile image on the obverse. The reverse is, however, a different tale as the Sovereign uses the engraved image of St. George and the Dragon.
Britannia gold coin vs. Canadian Maple Leaf gold coin: What’s the difference
Although the Britannia and Maple Leaf coins are British and Canadian, respectively, they have quite a few common traits. For starters, both are 24-karat (0.9999 gold) pieces. Also, both coins bear the image of Queen Elizabeth II. The reverse sides of the coins are where the major distinguishers are. While the Britannia bears its eponymous image, the Canadian coin features the maple leaf—Canada’s national symbol.
How can you tell a fake Britannia gold coin?
A fake Britannia gold coin will not have the security features. The coin’s physical dimensions and weight will be off compared to the real one. Quite obviously, it will not be real gold. There will be design discrepancies, too, even if the fake coin maker scrupulously replicated the original design. For instance, the original coin’s surface-level reflections require a very high level of skill and mastery to emulate perfectly.
What is the Britannia gold coin worth?
Although the Britannia gold coins have denominated values, their worth is much greater than that, thanks to their 24-karat constitution. The actual worth is usually very close to the value of gold at any given point. The market value may not match the coin’s melt value for different reasons.
Is there a Britannia coin in silver?
There are silver Britannia coins, which were first issued in 1997. They come in different sizes also, like their gold counterpart. The troy-ounce coin has a £2 face value. The ½, ¼, and one-tenth ounce coins have £1, 50p, and 20p denominations, respectively. Two more sizes were introduced in 2013: 5 oz and 1/20th oz coins with £10 and 10p face values, respectively. Between 1997 and 2012, the silver Britannia coins had a 958 millesimal fineness (95.8 percent silver). Since 2013, the fineness has gone up to 0.999, which is 99.9 percent silver.