Gold Britannia coins are popular with numismatists and investors alike. We frequently receive questions about these popular coins, so have prepared this page of gold Britannia coins FAQs with answers, which we hope helps you with your research.
Please read our detailed answer to this question at this link.
Was Britannia on Roman coins?
Britannia has actually appeared on Roman coins since 119 AD. The practice of using the persona of an authoritative female to portray a nation has existed for hundreds of years. When the Romans invaded Britain, they used the depiction of Britannia to signify the colonised country on their coins.
There is no pattern to which way Britannia faces on the reverse of UK coins and this adds to the collectability. Examples of Britannia facing to the left include the 2001 ‘Una & The Lion’ Britannia and the 2005 Philip Nathan designed coin which features a seated Britannia.
The best place to buy Gold Britannias is directly from a reputable bullion dealer. Most will have online stores where Britannias can be bought with a variety of payment methods and delivery is usually free, insured, and quick. These sites usually feature live pricing which updates with the spot price every 60 seconds. Bullion dealers should be members of the BNTA to ensure trustworthiness.
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We receive a lot of questions about gold bars. For convenience, we have summarised some of the most popular questions we receive in this handy gold bars FAQs with answers guide, which we hope helps with your investment questions.
Are gold bars a good investment?
Bars of gold are a good long term investment to provide balance and protection from economic downturns. The value tends to rise during times of political and economic instability and has averaged more than the inflation rate over time. Large bars offer better value than smaller ones, although divisibility should be a consideration. To be Capital Gains Tax-free, buying UK gold coins offers an alternative.
Are gold bars illegal?
Owning bars of gold is completely legal. The question arises due to a period in US history just after the great depression in 1933 when the US Government issued a decree making it illegal to hold gold in the form of gold bullion without a unique warrant. Any gold owned privately could be confiscated in an attempt to stabilise the floundering economy. This lasted until 1974, and all restrictions have been rescinded since 1 Jan 1975.
Are gold bars traceable?
Unlike financial securities such as equities and bonds, there is no requirement to formally register gold bar ownership. Electronic gold ownership such as ETFs would be more easily traceable as an ownership register exists which is why so many investors prefer the physical, tangible nature of bars of gold.
Are gold bars 24 carats?
Generally, all bars sold by gold dealers will be 24 carats in purity. However, not all sold globally are 24 carats. The term ‘bar’ really only refers to the format of the physical gold. You should not assume that purity is automatically 24 carats. Many mined on the African continent are only 22 carats, which make them difficult to sell outside of Africa. Often these bars are melted down and used for jewellery.
Are gold bars taxable?
Gold 24 carat bars are not taxable when purchased in the UK. They benefit from a VAT exemption on investment gold (gold in the form of a coin or bar with a minimum of 995/1000 parts gold). Therefore, sub-grade 22-carat versions would be taxable. When bars are sold, any gains should be declared and are applicable for Capital Gains Tax if the annual allowance is breached.
Are gold bars registered?
The production of bars of gold is registered with the relevant assayer, and a serial number recorded. However, there does not need to be a register of private buyers. Gold dealers will need to invoice buyers and keep records, but these are not publicly available.
Are gold bars soft?
They are hard to the touch. But due to their high purity (24 carats), they are relatively soft in metal terms. Pure gold is malleable, so have a major possibility of scratching due to this. This is the reason why Sovereigns coins are produced in 22 carat format, which is deemed a more robust alloy.
Are gold bars tax free?
They are VAT free if they are 24 carats in purity due to the VAT exemption on investment-grade gold. There is no income tax when holding them, and Capital Gains tax will only be applied on any gains in value upon sale that surpass your annual allowance. Investors should sell bars strategically that have increased in value, i.e., some either side of tax year end will deem the bars tax free.
Are gold bars worth buying?
They are worth buying if you seek a tangible asset with no counterparty risk. Physical ownership is beneficial to provide balance to a portfolio consisting of mainly paper assets. The value can go up and down and is related to the underlying gold price. The gold price generally moves up in times of uncertainty so is desirable for those seeking a hedge against unstable markets.
Are gold bars pure gold?
Most bars are 24 carat gold which is the highest carat possible. Some bars on the African continent are a lower purity of 22 carats. The 24 carat bars are referred to as pure gold, but technically they are not 100% pure. Purity can be anywhere from 995 parts per 1,000 upwards, but most reputable bar producers make bars of 999.9 purity.
Gold bars vs bullion
The terms gold bullion and bars are somewhat interchangeable. Both generally refer to 24 carat gold in the form of a rectangular bar. However, bullion is also a term used to describe the ‘investment finish’ of certain coins. Bullion coins are minted for value purposes as opposed to proof finish coins which are more expensive collector’s items.
Are gold bars real?
It is easier for fraudsters to fake or add non-gold substances to bars than coins. This is because the design of a coin is far more complex and difficult to copy. The best place to buy is from a trusted gold dealer, where they tightly control their supply network. All genuine bars should also come with serial numbers and many with a certificate from the mint.
Are gold bars heavy?
This all depends on the size of the gold bar. Due to its high value, most people are surprised by quite how small and light a bar £1,000 will buy you. However, as a dense metal, the larger buys can be very heavy. For instance, the largest is 400 ounces or 12.5kg but are smaller than a standard brick which weighs a mere 3.5kg.
Gold coins or bars for investment?
Gold coins are generally deemed to be a better investment than gold bars, as long as you buy the right ones. Buying gold coins offers more divisibility than bars, benefit from quantity discounts, can be easier to sell, and be Capital Gains Tax-free. Of course, the investment objectives and investment amount will also determine which is best.
How are gold bars made?
They can be made in 2 distinct ways. Generally smaller bars tend to be minted, whereby a sheet of gold is stamped and cut into the required size, shape, and weights. These minted bars tend to be exceptionally clean looking with a smooth precise finish. For larger bars, a second method is used to create what is known as cast bars. Molten gold is poured into set size moulds to produce ingots. The finish of these tends to be more natural and rougher.
How do I buy gold bars?
It is best to buy directly from a precious metals dealer. Prices will be transparent and based on the live market. Usually, discounts are offered for purchasing bars in quantity. You benefit from the peace of mind knowing your investment is genuine and high quality and you will have a place to sell the bars when the time comes.
How do I sell gold bars?
It is best to sell bars through a reputable gold dealer. In the UK, stick to a gold broker who is a member of the British Numismatic Trade Association (BNTA). Try to ensure you have the bar certificate if it is loose. It is possible to take bars into jewellers, but they will likely pay a lower price as they will simply melt down the bar.
Gold bars versus ETF
Both Gold ETFs and bars have their value linked to the underlying gold price, so they both provide a degree of balance to mainstream assets. Bars benefit from having no counterparty risk whereas gold ETFs can be leveraged and there are additional risks associated with the provider. Buy/sell margins are tighter with ETFs due to their electronic efficiency. Fees may exist with both investments, ETF management fees, and gold bar storage costs.
How much are gold bars worth?
The value of a gold bar depends on the underlying gold price and the weight of the bar. The approximate value of the bar can be calculated by multiplying the current gold price in grams by the weight in grams in the bar. As most bars are 24 carats, pure gold), no other sums are needed. The actual price will likely be slightly lower by a couple of percent depending on supply and demand in the market.
Should I buy gold bars without a certificate?
We would recommend that all bars of gold should have an accompanying certificate. This certificate will come from the refiner and will prove that strict quality control standards set by the LBMA have been met. The certificate will provide a serial number, proof of authenticity and will have the place of origin on it.
Gold bars vs coins
Unless buying a substantial quantity of gold, choosing the right gold coins can be a better investment than bars. Bars can command lower premiums when large in size, but coins benefit from being more divisible. UK coins have the added advantage of being free from Capital Gains Tax for UK residents, and older coins provide more historical interest than bars.
When to buy gold bars?
As an investment, buy bars when the gold price is low to enjoy capital appreciation when the gold price rises. Prices tend to rise during times of Dollar weakness and general economic instability. So, do not wait for the economy to slump as the gold price would already have risen. Buying gold in good times and selling in bad times will reap the biggest profits.
When to sell gold bars?
It is best to sell bars in the middle of an economic crisis as the price will likely be the highest. Gold is sought as a safe haven in these times, so demand goes up and the price of gold follows. This directly impacts the price you can fetch for your gold bar.
Gold bars versus Krugerrands
Bars of gold can be cheaper per gram to buy than Krugerrands if bought in a large size like 1kg. However, Krugerrands are a good value coin, so the gain is minimal. An advantage of Krugerrands is that you can sell one coin or a handful whenever you need to. Owning one large gold bar does not allow this. Buying lots of smaller bars is expensive.
What gold bars should I buy?
If you are seeking investment, then try to buy the cheapest 24 carat bar possible. Premiums are paid for certain brands, especially from Switzerland, or enhanced packaging, but these premiums may not be recouped upon sale. Pre-owned gold bars can be bought cheaply, just ensure they have a certificate and buy from a reputable gold dealer.
Can gold bars be confiscated?
In the UK, bars can only be confiscated if they are linked to money laundering or crime. In the US, under current federal laws, gold bullion can technically be confiscated in times of crisis, but rare coins do not fall into the confiscation category. All privately-held bullion could be confiscated during the Executive order 6102 after 1933, but that expired by 1975.
Can I buy gold bars at my bank?
Very few banks sell gold these days as they have many other revenue streams and gold is deemed to be a specialist area. To purchase bars, it would probably be best to go to a reputable gold dealer to benefit from extensive choice, guidance, and general good advice about the timing of purchasing and selling.
Do all bars of gold have serial numbers?
All bars over 250g should have a serial number on them. This serial number helps an assay office authenticate the gold bullion. Generally, this serial number will be on your invoice, so it can be traced back to your dealer.
Gold versus silver bars
Silver bars are clearly far more affordable than bars of gold due to the price differential of around 80:1. This means that buying a bar for £3,000 can be underwhelming for those expecting a large brick-like bar. In contrast, a huge 5kg silver bar cost less than £2,500. Due to the low silver price, the relative production cost is higher than for gold, so bid/offer spreads are wider. Both bars can be held as safe havens, but the value of silver can also go up with industrial demand.
Talk to Physical Gold
If you have any further questions we are only a phone call away when you call us on 020 7060 9992. We can also be contacted via webform, so please contact us and we will do our best to help with all your gold bar-related enquiries.
Silver Britannia coins have become a popular investment vehicle for investment in silver. Regularly we are asked questions about these coins, so have summarised some of the most popular questions and provided answers in this silver Britannia coins FAQs guide.
As a popular investment coin, the easiest and safest way to sell them is to a reputable precious metals dealer. This enables you to agree on a competitive price with the dealer, send them your coins, and receive payment quickly. An alternative is to sell privately where collectors may pay a premium. However, this can be fraught with danger.
Are Britannia silver coins legal tender?
Absolutely, they are legal tender within the UK. They possess the requirements of featuring the monarch’s bust and a face value, £2 in the case of the 1oz version. In theory, you could use it to buy goods up to the value of £2 in a UK shop, however, the silver content alone, makes the coin worth many times that. In practice, the legal tender status increases the coins’ appeal as an investment as this qualifies it as tax-free.
Any more questions? Speak to us at Physical Gold Limited
We always welcome enquiries, so if you have any further questions about silver coins, including Britannias then please do not hesitate to get in touch. Call Physical Gold Limited on 020 7060 9992 or complete our contact form to start discussions.
We are frequently asked questions about silver coins. This is why we have created this silver coins FAQs page, which is full of questions with model answers.
Are silver coins a good investment?
We have prepared a detailed article to answer this question, please visit by clicking here to learn more.
Is silver coinage magnetic?
Genuine coins made from silver are not magnetic. With purity of popular silver investment coins such as Britannias close to 100%, only replica (fake!) coins will be magnetic. Coins made with far lower purities of silver, mainly mixing in steel or iron will show signs of magnetism, so should be avoided. Non-magnetism does not guarantee that the coin is silver though. Metals filled with a core of non-silver will likely not be magnetic either.
Are silver coins worth anything?
Yes, their value is a combination of the underlying silver price, their weight, and the coin’s rarity and desirability. Generally, a silver coin will sell for around 96-98% of the current silver value for its weight. So, a 1oz coin may fetch around £11 or so. If the coin is part of a limited issue and demand is higher, the value is likely to be 5-10% higher.
When to sell silver coins?
It is advised to hold coins for the long term and always hold a portion of your wealth in silver as a balance and hedge against market downturns. Having said that, the amount you hold can vary according to market conditions and the silver price. Timing will depend on the price and time you bought them (was the market high or low), your need to liquidate and the current silver price. Buying low and selling high is the ideal scenario!
Are silver coins legal tender?
Yes, they are legal tender in their country of issue if they possess a face value. In the UK, Silver Britannias and other Royal Mint issued coins have face values and can, in theory, be used in shops. But this would be an uneconomical choice. With a face value of 2 Pounds, the silver content alone is worth at least five times that. Instead, the legal tender status helps silver investors as any capital gains made upon selling the coins are free from tax.
Will silver coins go up in value?
We have provided a detailed answer to this question, at this separate page.
Silver rounds vs coins
Choosing silver coins vs silver rounds will depend (ultimately) upon your objectives. Silver rounds can generally be bought at lower prices for their weight as they are produced by private companies rather than national mints. With less liquidity, rounds are likely to be sold as scrap in the future. Certain legal tender coins are also CGT free, so any profits are tax exempt.
How to store silver coins?
The best way is first to keep them in the plastic capsules or tunes they arrived in. If they came loose, then purchase some coin tubes. Large orders of 250 coins or more can come in monster boxes of 20 tubes or more and can help with neat stacking. Try to handle your coins as little as possible. Placing carbon pieces from a pet shop in the box can help prevent the hydrogen sulphide from tarnishing the coins.
Will a silver coin purify water?
Silver acts as a preserver for many substances. As a colloidal metal, it can help prevent diseases and be anti-bacterial. Certainly, adding a clean silver coin to some water will help with its purity. However, simply dropping a silver coin into a glass of dirty water will not rid it of all its nasty elements.
Read our detailed article, where we explore this topic here.
Are silver bullion coins worth buying?
Currently, they are incredibly cheap relative to their historical ratio to gold. This would suggest that their value is set to rise in the future. Coins offer superb divisibility rather than buying silver bars but still offer quantity discounts. UK coins can be CGT free, which foreign silver bars and coins cannot. With industrial demand for silver in computers on the rise, the future looks bright for silver.
The number of banks offering a retail service is dwindling. It is now only possible to buy from certain banks such as Scotiabank in some countries, but not in the UK. This is because the banks do not want to commit the necessary resource for dealing in precious metals. For this reason, many banks who can source your silver coins from, will not buyback. The price they sell at will be relatively high, reflecting their lack of appetite for the business.
Why do silver coins tarnish?
A natural by-product of silver is its reaction to chemicals and humidity in the air. Tarnishing occurs when the silver atoms encounter oxygen, forming a silver oxide. Unlike rust, this protective layer does not infiltrate into the silver. Tarnishing, also known as toning, can be removed by using a coin cleaning solution and minimised by keeping coins in airtight containers.
We have provided a detailed answer to this question, at this separate page.
Will a silver coin keep milk from spoiling?
Placing a silver coin into milk will delay the time it takes to go off. The coin has to be 99.9% pure rather than a lower mix alloy to work. The natural anti-bacterial qualities of colloidal silver will not prevent the milk from spoiling entirely but can prolong its life for 5-10 days. Infact, before refrigeration, silver was used regularly to achieve longer life milk and keep water pure.
Silver is far cheaper than gold, making it more accessible to the modest investor. The current price ratio between the two metals is at its widest point in history, suggesting silver has far more potential upside. Gold acts more like a classic safe haven to protect investors in economic downturns. While silver also acts in a similar way it also benefits from industrial demand due to its conductive qualities. Silver can be more volatile and dealer spreads are slightly wider than the gold market.
Are silver coins in circulation?
Our 50p and 5p coins are known as silver. However, they no longer contain any silver at all. Instead, they consist of cupronickel, a mix of nickel and copper. This is far cheaper and more resilient than using silver. Silver investment coins like the Britannia consist of 99.99% pure silver. While they have a face value, they are not actively in circulation. In theory, you can legally spend this coin in the shops, but its £2 face value is less than a fifth of its silver value.
Will vinegar clean silver coins?
Vinegar can be used to clean non-valuable coins but is not recommended for pure silver coinage. The use of vinegar could lower the value of the coin. The best bet to clean is with warm soapy water. Avoid using a brush as silver can be soft and scratch. Instead, use a cloth and fingers to rub any dirt away after soaking.
What are silver coins made of?
Silver investment coins are made from pure silver (99.99% purity usually). Silver currency coins such as the fifty pence piece or 5p are made from a mixture of nickel and copper. The alloy consists of 75% copper and 25% nickel, which when combined form a resilient metal known as cupronickel. UK coins were made from 92.5% sterling silver until 1920 and then this reduced to around 50% purity until 1947. Cupronickel was introduced in 1971.
The best coins to invest in for UK investors are the Royal Mint produced coins. The silver Britannia should form the backbone of the investment as the standard coin is cheap but very liquid. Combining this with some more limited issue coins such as the Queen’s Beasts and Lunar series will provide portfolio balance and create the chance to benefit from these coins rising in value quicker due to limited issue. All UK Silver manufactured coins have the advantage of being Capital Gains Tax-free.
Will banks buy silver coins?
Your average high street bank will not buy them from you. It is possible they would exchange the coins for their face value but that would be a foolish strategy as these values fall well short of the actual value. It is far better to seek the help of a reputable silver dealer who specialises in precious metals and will pay well for them as they can sell them on to other customers.
Can silver coins conduct electricity?
In theory, yes, they can conduct electricity. But we are only talking about the pure silver investment coins that contain 99.9% silver. Silver is by far the most conductive of all elements, to the point, where all other metals are benchmarked against silver to gauge conductivity. Silver currency coins that contain no silver at all will conduct electricity at a far lower level.
Where to sell silver coins?
If you have old coins with a value far greater than their simple silver weight, then sell them through an auction of a specialist dealer. Silver dealers will provide the best price and trustworthy service. If you have time on your hands, then you can try selling privately through portals such as eBay, but this poses risks. For scrap coins, local jewellers are easy to sell to but be prepared for low prices.
Silver coins proof vs uncirculated
Silver uncirculated coins are recommended for investors. They are far cheaper than proof coins so you can get more silver for your money. Silver dealers will not pay much more for silver proof coins when you come to sell. If you are a coin collector, then proof coins can add a higher sense of finish and exclusivity to the coin.
How do I clean silver metal coins?
The best way to clean valuable coins made from silver is with warm soapy water. Soak the coins for 10 to 15 minutes turning them occasionally. The coins can then be rubbed dry with a cloth, paying attention to removing any surface dirt. Avoid using a brush that could scratch the silver or chemicals like vinegar that could detract from the coin’s lustre.
When to buy silver coins?
Silver coins should ideally be bought when the economy is quiet, and the stock markets are doing well. This usually means a low silver price so you can secure coins at this level. The value of coins rises with the underlying silver price and should be considered a medium to long term hold due to short term volatility. Buying silver regularly is another strategy to gradually accumulate a substantial holding by averaging out buy prices.
Can I buy silver coins directly from the US mint?
Yes, they can be bought directly from the US Mint’s website. In a similar way to the Royal Mint, you are restricted to buying coins only produced by the mint. They will not sell 3rd party coins. Due to their reputation, the mint does not need to be super competitive on prices and will not generally offer quantity discounts. There is a focus on boxed proof coins rather than bullion coins. Better deals will be had from buying from a silver dealer, who will offer to buy back the coins, provide lower prices and more choice.
Where to store silver coins?
If you want hassle-free storage, it is best to store coins with the silver dealer from whom you bought. This usually entails storage in a specialist warehouse to maintain the silver’s integrity and includes insurance. If you want to store yourself, then the coins should be kept somewhere secure and be insured against theft. Reducing the amount of handling and oxygen to the coins will help prevent tarnishing. Keep the coins in their tube and keep them airtight if possible. If bought in large quantities, silver coin tubes can be stored in monster boxes (of 20-25 tubes), and the boxes conveniently stacked.
A very quick way to test silver coins is to place an ice cube on top of the coin. As the world’s best conductor of electricity, the ice cube should start to melt immediately compared to one placed on a wooden surface. Testing the silver coin for magnetism cannot prove it is genuine, but any sign of sticking to the magnet will prove it is a fake. When looking at well-known silver coins, careful visual comparisons with a real silver coin will usually unearth some straightforward differences with finish, detail, and edging.
Which silver investment coins are the best to buy?
Silver Britannias are the best silver-based coins to buy for investment. They are mass-produced bullion coins so offer a high degree of value. Limited issue coins tend to command a premium. Britannias are 1oz in weight so provide divisibility. Any profits made on selling silver Britannia coins are CGT exempt as the coins are legal tender in the UK. There is a strong second-hand demand for the coins so selling prices are high.
Are silver Britannia coins a good investment?
Britannia coins are an excellent investment for the medium to long term. Silver is currently unbelievably cheap compared to historical values. Industrial demand for silver is rising with advances in technology as silver is used for its conductive qualities. Silver Britannias are an excellent option is they are highly liquid, world-renowned, and tax-free for UK investors.
Why buy silver investment coins?
Buying silver coins is an excellent option for those seeking a tangible asset with no counterparty risks. The value of silver can rise with industrial and investment demand, but supply is limited due to its precious metals status. Coins can be a better option to buy than silver bars as they can be tax-free and can be sold in small sizes. Discounts are available for buying in larger quantities of coins.
Where to buy silver coins online UK?
Do not be tempted to buy coins from online shops like eBay and Craigslist. Authenticity can be a huge problem if you buy privately. Stick to buying from prominent silver dealers so you can rest assured that the silver is real. They will also provide the facility to store the silver if you wish, deliver it to your door, and buy it back in the future.
Call Physical Gold Limited with your further questions
We appreciate that you may have additional unanswered questions, if that is the case why not contact us? Simply call us now on 020 7060 9992 or complete our contact form and we will seek to help clarify any questions you may have.