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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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.
British coinage is considered to have one of the richest histories, compared to any nation globally. Our long tradition of Kings and Queens has resulted in one of the world’s oldest coinage systems that have witnessed the reigns of several monarchs over centuries. When we study European coinage, Britain’s history is distinctive and different from the coinage of other European kingdoms and monarchies.
During the 19th century, there were approximately 20 ruling monarchies across Europe. Of course, the currency coins released by many of these monarchs featured a stylised image of the ruler and motif or a coat of arms on the other side of the coin. Now, British coins have had certain peculiarities in the past. These usually consisted of a slogan or a line embossed on the coin. However, who would’ve thought that the German words ‘ich dien’ could appear on a British coin?
What does ‘ich dien’ mean?
Well, the words ‘ich dien’ in the German language literally means ‘I serve’. These words appear on the coat of arms of the Prince of Wales. The words appeared as early as the 14th century, leading to several speculations regarding the origins of the phrase. Interestingly, these words have also been used by Edward the Black Prince. The phrase may have been adopted following an alliance or a meeting with a German monarch, but history has no record of any such event. Therefore, we may never know the exact reason why the phrase ‘ich dien’ was adopted.
The feathers of the Prince of Wales
It is customary for many royal houses to have an insignia or a coat of arms. This creates an identity that can be instantly recognised, much like a logo on a product. The Prince of Wales uses a heraldic badge as the royal emblem. The words ‘ich dien’ is imprinted on the bottom of this badge. However, the phrase was not used only on the emblem. The words ‘ich dien’ can be found imprinted on certain British coins over the years.
British coins that carry the words ‘ich dien’
The most commonly found ‘ich dien’ coin is the two pence coin. The words appear on the reverse of the coins of this denomination that were issued between the years 1971 and 2008. Of course, this was not so long ago, and so many such coins can be found in circulation even today. You may have one in your pocket right now!
2008 proof coin celebrating the birthday of Prince Charles
In 2008, his Majesty the Prince of Wales celebrated his 60th birthday. To commemorate this important occasion, a proof coin was minted and released by the Royal Mint. This coin has the words ‘ich dien’ embossed directly on the face of the coin, underneath a stylised image of Prince Charles. This proof coin is of interest to numismatists due to its uniqueness.
Other British coins containing the phrase ‘ich dien’
While the above are examples of recent British coins that contain the German phrase, many other notable coins do so too. The 1811 one penny “Bristol and South Wales” Coin also carries the Prince of Wales’s feathers and the inscription ‘ich dien’. Similarly, there is a British India medal, although officially not a coin in circulation, it carries the words, ‘ich dien’. This medal commemorates the royal visit of King George the fifth to India.
In this video, we’ll be taking a look at the Royal Mint’s flagship gold coin The Sovereign. For keen investors, I’ll reveal 6 smart ways that you can buy Sovereign coins for the best value.
The modern Sovereign has been around for more than 200 years so there’s plenty of secondary liquidity and choice when it comes to buying. Exploiting these proven methods will help you build the best value Gold Sovereign portfolio.
Buying the current Sovereign coin is a low price option as the coins are plentiful and most dealers will have them in stock so you’re able to shop around for the best prices. With wide availability, an extensive volume discount is offered by dealers on the latest Sovereign. So if you’re looking to buy a fair amount of Sovereigns, then you’re rewarded handsomely with progressive price reductions.
2. Buy big coins!
The full Sovereign is a relatively small coin, weighing around a quarter of an ounce. One way of achieving improved value is to opt for the quintuple Sovereign, or £5 gold coin as it’s also known. Make sure the dealer isn’t charging a commemorative issue premium for these coins and you could bag a bargain. With its huge size, the £5 gold coin benefits from a lower production cost per coin.
3. Nearly new pre-owned coins
Sometimes offering even lower prices than brand new coins, are nearly-new Sovereigns. Perhaps gold dealers have bought Sovereigns back from customers which are between 3 and 10 years old. They’re too recent to command a historical value yet, but may be offered at a discount to clear stock. We actually call this product ‘Best Value Sovereign’ in our online store. If you don’t mind us choosing the year and monarch, then you can end up getting a lot of gold for your money.
4. Buy when the market is quiet
Just like any other market, sales are on when demand is low. Premiums on Sovereigns can reduce when interest in gold is low. So if you have patience, waiting to buy your Sovereigns during a quiet patch gives you a little more negotiation than when demand outstrips supply.
5. Speak to a dealer
Again, patience is key for this one. If you’re willing to wait, then you could achieve a 1-2% discount off website prices. Let your gold dealer know which coins you’re after and they may be able to pair you with a seller. When a dealer’s customer wants to sell their Sovereigns, they can then call you to snap them up. This prevents selling back into the wholesale market and the saving can be passed onto you!
6. Buy when a particular Sovereign coin’s premium falls
With such a variety of Sovereign coins available, it’s no surprise that premiums vary considerably between new ones and Victoria Young Headshield back coins. Best value doesn’t necessarily mean the lowest price.
Again, you may wish to build a relationship with a good gold dealer. Letting them know that you’re after a particular monarch and quantity of coins means they can call you when premiums fall.
So an older Sovereign coin which usually trades at a higher premium may have a brief period of higher supply which lowers its market premium. Their premium returns to usual levels once the supply is mopped up, so buying in the dip can reap great value.
Similarly, you may take a view that there’s a good chance that premiums of a particular Sovereign issue will rise in the future. For example, buying on a jubilee year may offer value at the time as it may become collectable in future years.
Buy great value Sovereigns from Physical Gold
So there you have it, 6 amazing hacks to obtaining the best value Sovereigns available.
This video looks at the ever popular Britannia silver coins and assesses its role as a collectable investment.
The original Britannia coin was released as a 1oz gold coin by The Royal Mint in 1987. It attempted to emulate the success of the gold Krugerrand which has cornered the gold investment market for the previous two decades.
The silver Britannia launched ten years later and was originally issued as 958 fineness 1oz silver coin. From 2013, purity was increased to 999.9 fineness, otherwise known as 24 carats.
The coin characterises the best of Britain, with Queen Elizabeth’s portrait on the obverse and various versions of the Britannia icon on the back. The notion of Britannia goes back to Roman times and is depicted as a brave goddess warrior, complete with shield and trident. Her shape supposedly represents the personification of the British Isles.
So why is the silver Britannia such a good collectable investment?
The idea behind the Britannia is to offer a bullion coin containing 1oz of silver at a low premium. The coin is mass-produced to reduce costs and buyers are handsomely rewarded with price reductions when ordering large quantities of the coin.
2. Varied designs and options
The main image of Britannia on the coin’s reverse gives the coin its beauty. For those seeking to combine investment with collecting different coins, the Britannia is a great option as the image is updated regularly. The classic Britannia design stands, holding aloft her trident and shield. Previous motifs have included her riding a chariot, sat with a lion, close up and more contemporary designs.
Some designs are only available in proof finishes, but their variety makes the Britannia collectable, enhancing future values.
Special edition Britannias have also been launched, including the Oriental border and 30th-anniversary edition.
3. Tax efficient
Unlike the non-UK silver coins we sell, the Britannia has the added advantage of being legal tender in the UK. With its face value of £2, any profits made when selling silver Britannias is free from Capital Gains Tax. With predictions for the silver price to skyrocket over the coming years, the Britannia silver coins CGT tax free status really helps boost its merits as a collectable investment.
With its modest 1oz in weight, the Silver Britannia provides a low-cost entry into the world of precious metals. Unlike the larger silver options such as 1kilo bars, the Britannias allow regular purchases for modest investors. Gradually building a silver Britannia collection is a great way of cost averaging the market while developing a nest egg.
If bought in bulk, storage is made simple. The coins come in Royal Mint tubes of 25 coins and monster boxes of 500, great for silver stacking.
If you veer more towards the collector rather than an investor, the Silver Britannia is a versatile option. Each year, the coin is not only minted in bullion finish, but also as a proof coin with strictly limited issue size. While these coins cost a far higher premium, they come in beautiful presentation boxes and make for great gifts. Fractional versions are also available as part of special proof sets which include 6 different coin sizes.
Contact us to buy Britannia silver coins
So there you have it. The sheer versatility of Britannia silver coins makes it a fantastic choice as a long term investment and collectors coin. As our best selling silver coin, we help customers buy and sell Silver Britannias every day. If you need help or guidance, don’t hesitate to call us on 020 7060 9992 or send us a message here.
If you enjoyed this video on Silver Britannias, you may also want to view our others in our video tutorial suite. These cover both gold and silver, coins and bars.
Over the years we are regularly asked questions about sovereign gold coins. So, we decided to provide these handy FAQs with answers, which hopefully will provide you with all the answers you will need!
SGBs are an alternative to holding physical gold. Paper bonds denominated in gold grams are issued by The Reserve Bank of India and offer a fixed maturity date whereby the investor receives back an amount based on the underlying gold price.
The total weight of a gold Sovereign is 7.98 grams or 0.2566 ounces. However, the gold content of the coin is only 7.32g, with the remainder consisting of copper and silver alloys to toughen the coin. Care should be taken not to mistake the Full Sovereign with the smaller Half Sovereign which weighs 3.99g.
6) How to clean gold Sovereigns?
The best way to clean dirty gold Sovereign coins is in a mix of warm water and liquid soap. Let the coins soak for 15 minutes before carefully wiping dry with a cloth. Boiling water from a kettle can be added into the bowl for stubborn grime. Avoid using a brush or strong chemicals.
The main value will come from the Sovereign itself. If the coin is in good condition and features a previous monarch, it will be worth more than an Elizabeth Head coin. The value of the coin itself is £200 – £300 depending on age and condition. The ring is likely to be lower purity so will only add a marginal value of 10-15%.
Gold Sovereigns are 22 carat purity, the same they’ve been for over 200 years. This works out around 916/1000 parts gold. The other two carats are a mix of copper and silver alloy. The exact mix can vary from year to year. This alloy mix ensures the coins are more resilient to scratched than 24 carat coins.
12) Which gold Sovereign coin is the most valuable?
The best overall place to sell gold Sovereigns is to a specialist gold dealer who will pay you based on the sell-on value rather than just a melt value. A BNTA accredited dealer is a must if you consider trust to be a selling consideration. Selling privately is an option for rarer Sovereigns as collectors may pay a premium.
15) How do I found out where to buy gold Sovereign coins?
Under the 1971 UK Coinage Act, it’s illegal to melt down any UK coin with a face value. Which covers Sovereigns. More importantly, melting a Sovereign will devalue the gold, which is worth more minted as a Sovereign due to its tax efficiency as legal tender and recognisable trading format.
17) Can you spend a gold Sovereign?
Yes! Gold Sovereigns have a face value of £1, which means shopkeepers would have to accept it as legal tender. But with the gold content alone, pushing the value above £200, it would be foolish to use a Sovereign to buy goods.
18) One gold Sovereign is how many grams?
The total weight of a newly minted Sovereign is 7.98 grams. The old content itself weighs 7.32g, with the remainder consisting of a copper and silver alloy. Coins may weigh slightly less as they become older and wear on the face and edges.
Talk to our experts before buying or selling gold sovereign coins
We always love to hear from customers, new and old and are always here to answer questions about all precious metal topics including ones about gold sovereign coins. Why not call Physical Gold Limited now on 020 7060 9992 or complete our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you soon!