Gold coins have been a source of great attraction for many individuals over the centuries. Numismatists who collect gold coins are thrilled with the idea of acquiring a precious and rare gold coin. Investors choose to buy gold bullion coins due to the returns they can make on their investments. Of course, there are certain compelling advantages to buying gold coins.
They are easy to store and often come packaged in monster boxes. They provide divisibility to an investor’s gold portfolio. Also, they have a certain aesthetic value, which many investors prefer over gold bars. However, if you’re thinking of investing in gold coins, there are certain parameters to be aware of.
Checking gold coin authenticity
How will you know that the gold coins, you have just invested in are authentic? You will need the services of a gold expert who can certify the authenticity of the coins. But, there are certain checks you can do at home that can help you decide whether the coins are genuine or not. Gold, like other precious metals, has a high density. Therefore, the size of the coin would depend on its weight.
If the gold content of the coin has been tampered with and a certain percentage of base metals introduced into the coin, it will be lighter than it should be. Therefore, you can measure the diameter, thickness, and weight of the coin. To do this test at home, you will require a set of Vernier callipers and a weighing scale used by jewellers. You can also use a magnet to detect the purity of gold in the coin. Since gold is non-magnetic, a pure gold coin will not be attracted by a magnet. There is also a device called the Fisch Tester that allows you to test popular gold coins like the Krugerrand or the Gold Britannia.
Apps to test your gold coins
Yes, in 2021, there is an app to test gold coins as well. These apps emit a sound and generate a ‘ping test’ by measuring the echo your coin produces. One of these apps is called Coin Trust and there is a drop-down menu that allows you to select the particular coin you’re testing and proceed from there.
Buy your gold coins from a reputed coin dealer
If you know which coins to buy, then simply purchase them online from a trustworthy broker. If you need guidance as to which gold investment coins to buy, then any good dealer will be able to advise you. Generally, stick to bullion finish coins, rather than proof finish, and only buy really well-known coins. In the UK, Sovereigns and Britannias are best as they’re also tax-free.
The simplest way to buy authentic and genuine gold coins, without going through the hassle of testing them at home is to buy your gold from a reputed UK dealer. Most reputed dealers will provide you with a certificate of authenticity, which is stamped by a coin certification agency like the PCGS or NGC. Storing the gold coin is important and you should never remove the coin from its original packaging so that there are no doubts regarding genuineness when you want to sell the coin.
Call Physical Gold to find out more about buying gold coins
Physical Gold is one of the U.K.’s most reputed gold dealers and has a team at your service that can guide you on how to buy gold coins and advise you on the authenticity of the coins you own. Please reach out to us on (020) 7060 9992, or simply send us an email and our team will connect with you to help you purchase the right gold coins.
Most investors prefer to invest in both gold coins and bars when building their portfolio. Gold coins are preferred by investors who have a numismatic interest. However, many investors prefer to buy bars. So, we need to understand the advantages and disadvantages of investing in coins or bars.
What are the important factors to consider when deciding to buy coins or bars?
Flexibility is an important attribute when building a strong portfolio. Due to this, coins scored higher than bars, due to their variety of issues, sizes, and denominations. For most, buying coins is better than bars for gold investment. Coins provide more flexibility to sell small parts of the holding and can fetch higher prices when you wish to sell. In the same way that larger bars are cheaper per gram than small ones, buying gold coins in bulk (such as Buying gold Sovereigns) will also achieve price discounts. UK investors also benefit from legal tender coins being tax-exempt, whereas gold bars are not. Owning part of a very large portfolio in 1kg gold bars can achieve modest price savings.
Gold bars have advantages too
Due to their lower production costs, some investors may find bars attractive. Moreover, it is not necessary to invest in large bars like a kilo. There are ample variety and different sizes amongst gold bars as well. Different refiners produce gold bars of various weights that can go all the way up to a kilo. There are 1-ounce bars in the market, as well as bars that weigh 10 g, 20 g, 50 g, 100 g, 250 g and 500 g. There are even smaller bars that weigh 5 g. So, as we can see there is sufficient diversity when investing in bars as well. One of the key considerations for investors when buying a gold bar is the cost of production. Gold bars often provide investors with the opportunity of acquiring gold at a cheaper price per gram.
Your objectives can help you decide
Building a gold portfolio is a task that requires proper planning. So, setting your objectives is an important step before planning your purchases. It all depends on your investment timeframe and how quickly you want to make profits.
If your objective is to amass quick returns from price rises in the short term, investing in coins can help you achieve this. However, many investors have longer time horizons for their investments and are interested in acquiring a larger volume of gold at the cheapest possible price. Such investors would be better off acquiring gold bars. However, as discussed earlier, it is possible to preserve the liquidity and divisibility of your portfolio, even when investing in gold bars. Investing in smaller bars like 5 or 10 g gives you the added advantage of being able to sell small amounts of your gold holdings at different price points in the market, whenever you need to raise capital.
Tax efficiency is another important consideration and both coins and bars offer excellent choices. You can avoid paying VAT when you buy either. However, investments in gold bars may be subject to Capital Gains Tax (CGT). On the other hand, investments in UK legal tender gold coins like the Sovereign or the Britannia can help you stay tax efficient.
Another important point to think about is storage. Gold coins have a distinct advantage in this respect. When you order a large number of gold coins, they will arrive in monster boxes that can be easily stored.
Call us at Physical Gold to know more about buying coins or bars
At Physical Gold, we offer impartial and free advice to investors who wish to build their gold portfolio. Call us on (020) 7060 9992 or get in touch with us by email and we will be happy to help you make the right choices for your investments.
There are many gold coins in the market and an investor needs to decide which ones to add to his portfolio. Undoubtedly, two of the best British coins that are attractive to investors are the Gold Britannia and the Gold Sovereign. In this article, we will explore the merits and demerits of both these coins and assess them based on key attributes and fundamentals required for building a strong portfolio.
Variety is the spice of life
A key consideration when choosing any gold coin for your portfolio is variety. As an investor, you need to have a good distribution of popular gold coins in different sizes and dimensions. There can also be variations based on the year of issue. The Gold Sovereign is an excellent choice when it comes to variety. The coin has been around for more than two centuries and several issues over the years are available from the reigns of different British Kings and Queens. In terms of size, there is also a wide choice that’s available.
The Sovereign comes in different denominations such as the half, double and quintuple Sovereigns. Within the reign of just one British monarch – Queen Victoria, there are three available variations of the Sovereign. These are well-known as the Young Head, the Jubilee Head and the Old Head. When one takes into consideration all the attributes of the Gold Sovereign, it can be called an excellent choice that adds divisibility, variety and balance to your investment portfolio. When we compare the Britannia to the Sovereign, it’s worth noting that the Britannia only carries the portrait of our current Queen, Elizabeth II. On the other hand, the modern Sovereign carries the images of eight British monarchs.
Value for money
Gold Sovereigns are around one quarter the size of Britannias (1oz), making them slightly more expensive per gram due to the higher relative production cost. However, their smaller size provides more flexibility for gold investors. A mix of both is preferable in a portfolio, especially as both coins are tax-free in the UK due to their legal tender status.
Some Sovereigns may carry premiums based on their rarity and historical value, however, Sovereigns that were minted as a bullion coin are easily available at low premiums. By this comparison, the Gold Britannia is also a bullion coin that has been around since 1987. Since it is a recent coin, Gold Britannias do not carry any historical premiums. The coin is easily available from most gold dealers with greater discounts on larger volume purchases. However, the Britannia is four times larger than the Sovereign in size, making it a more expensive coin.
The Sovereign provides a greater variety and choice when compared to the Gold Britannia. Due to its smaller sizes, the Sovereign provides investors with the freedom and flexibility to sell the coin at various price points in the market by trading in different sizes and denominations.
Liquidity is an important consideration
In terms of liquidity, both coins are evenly poised, since they enjoy a strong secondary market. For investors, liquidity is a very important factor as investing in obscure coins defeats the objective of investment. The coin should be saleable at any given point in time for an investor to redeem its value. The Gold Britannia and the Sovereign are both excellent coins in this respect.
Which is the right coin for you?
The gold experts at Physical Gold can answer this question, based on the fundamentals and objectives of your investment. They can offer you free advice on whether you should buy, the Gold Britannia or the Gold Sovereign. Two find out more, call us on (020) 7060 9992 or drop us an email and a member of our team will be happy to get in touch with you.
Many gold and silver coins are considered legal tender in the UK. When a coin becomes legal tender, it implies that you can purchase goods and pay for the same, using the coin. Therefore, it is mandatory for any business within the economy to accept this coin as currency.
The Gold Sovereign
The Sovereign has a long history that makes it one of the most iconic coins in British coinage. During the reign of King Henry VII, an English coin called the Sovereign was brought into circulation in 1489. Subsequently, King James I acceded to the English throne by 1603. He also issued a Sovereign to commemorate the year of his coronation. However, by 1660, King Charles II had come into power and the Royal Mint went through a period of reorganisation. During this time, the Sovereign faded away and was replaced by the Guinea.
The modern Sovereigns
By 1816, a new coinage act was instituted across Great Britain, and the gold standard was implemented. It was around this time that the Italian designer, Benedetto Pistrucci arrived in London and was commissioned to design a new coin. He created the design of St George slaying the dragon, and a new gold coin christened the Sovereign was released depicting the head of King George III. Since then, the Gold Sovereign was used throughout the reigns of different monarchs. King George III was succeeded by King George IV and later by his third son, King William IV, whose short reign lasted from 1830 to 1837. Upon his death in 1837, Queen Victoria inherited the throne.
Through the reign of monarchs
The reign of Queen Victoria saw the issuance of three Sovereigns, which are now popularly known as the Young Head, the Jubilee Head and the Old Head. The Sovereign continued to be in circulation throughout the reigns of the Queen’s successors, namely, King Edward VII and King George V. Although the coin was withdrawn from circulation during the earlier part of the 20th century, it continued to be struck as a bullion coin and continued to be recognised as legal tender in the UK.
Old Sovereigns are legal tender in the UK due to their £1 face value. In theory, you can use the Sovereign to purchase goods up to £1 in value, but the gold content of the coin is worth far more. Its legal tender status is important for gold investors as it deems any profits made from Sovereigns as tax-free.
A timeless classic
The Sovereign’s long history through the centuries has made it a timeless coin that is extremely attractive to collectors and investors alike. Of course, there are other iconic British coins like the Gold Britannia. However, the Britannia was only issued in 1987. The prestige and status enjoyed by the Gold Sovereign lasted throughout the glorious years of the British Empire.
It became synonymous with the status of the British Monarch and propaganda posters were printed during the First World War, depicting a Gold Sovereign, with the head of King George V. The poster carried the tagline, “The British Sovereign will win.” The poster was used to encourage citizens of the Empire to invest money in a government scheme, designed to raise funds for the war.
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Gold Sovereign coins are one of the most popular British coins that attract investors every year. The Sovereign has been around for more than two centuries and benefits from abundant availability and low prices. The modern Sovereigns are available as bullion coins and carry low premiums due to mass production and lower manufacturing costs. The gold Sovereign is also a very affordable coin, since it is available in smaller sizes, as a quarter of an ounce. The gold Britannia, on the other hand, is a 1-ounce coin that is far more expensive than the Sovereign.
Great value for money
Due to their affordability factor, the gold Sovereign allows beginner investors access to the gold market by investing a smaller sum of money. Investors can also enjoy the flexibility of owning gold Sovereigns. Due to their smaller sizes, they add divisibility to an investor’s portfolio. From a tax perspective, Sovereigns are a great investment. Investors do not pay any VAT when buying the coins. Since the Sovereign is considered to be legal tender, investors can also avoid paying Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on the profits made from the sale of these coins.
Buying gold Sovereigns
The growing interest amongst investors in buying gold Sovereigns, leads many people to ask the question – what is the best route to buy Gold Sovereigns? Of course, many would turn to high-street jewellers and gold shops. This is an old route, mainly for people who like to see and touch the gold they’re buying. However, over the last 10 years, much of the gold trade has moved online. Today, if you’re buying investment-grade coins like the gold Sovereign, it’s best to buy from a reputed online dealer.
It’s safest to buy gold Sovereigns directly from a reputable precious metals dealer. If the dealership has the right credentials, it will ensure the Sovereigns are authentic, in great condition and sell at a competitive price. Many now have e-commerce stores, making it easy to buy online. Buying from a jeweller, an auction or privately are other options, but they pose significant risks.
Reputed online gold sovereign dealers
Moreover, large online dealers are more likely to stock a diverse range of gold products. By visiting the dealer’s website, you will probably see a variety and volumes of investable gold coins like the Sovereign. High-street dealers usually do not have such a large inventory. Due to their buying power, reputed online dealers are also able to offer rock bottom prices, especially on larger volume purchases. Many dealers, like Physical Gold, also have a monthly purchase scheme, through which you can regularly invest in gold Sovereigns and build up a formidable gold portfolio.
Safety and security
Online gold dealers will also ensure that your transaction is conducted with utmost safety. Online payments are made using a debit or credit card, through a secure, encrypted payment gateway. Physical Gold, a reputed UK dealer uses a 3D secure payment method. Your gold Sovereigns are dispatched via a secure courier, and your package is fully insured. Many large dealers may also offer you the option of storing your gold securely with them in an LBMA approved vault. Lastly, all reputed dealers will provide an authenticity certificate and a buyback scheme. It is unlikely that you would get all this when you shop for your coins on the high street.
Get in touch with Physical Gold to find out more about buying gold Sovereigns
At Physical Gold, we pride ourselves on being one of the country’s most reputed online gold dealers. Our experts are always willing and ready to work out the best deal on gold Sovereigns for you. Call us today on (020) 7060 9992, or reach out to us online by visiting our website.
Gold Sovereigns have been around for more than two centuries and have an important place in any investor’s portfolio. Gold Sovereigns enjoy tremendous liquidity, as it is one of the best-known British coins in the world. Many collectors and investors are keen to invest in this coin. There are also many different years of issue associated with the Sovereign, at different price points. Older Sovereigns may command more value due to their rarity. However, newer Sovereigns are easily available at low premiums. The decision to invest in gold Sovereigns need to be based on certain factors.
Divisibility and balance
Sovereigns are available as a bullion coin, but a unique quality is their gold content. Most bullion coins typically weigh an ounce. However, Gold Sovereigns weigh a quarter of an ounce. Therefore, investors can explore a wonderful opportunity to build a portfolio with a variety of coins. Buying Sovereigns of different denominations can enhance the divisibility of your portfolio. This simply means that you have greater flexibility when selling. This is a better option than selling a 1-ounce bullion coin at a certain price point in the market. Owning Sovereigns of different dimensions and different years of issue can also help create a balance for your portfolio.
The Sovereign is a more affordable coin due to its smaller size. As an investor, the coin allows you access to the gold market with a lower investment. As a mass-produced coin, Sovereigns are a lot cheaper when compared to the Gold Britannia. Therefore, a great investment strategy is to buy Gold Sovereigns every month. Sovereign bullion coins, present an opportunity to acquire gold at a cheaper price per gram, due to their lower manufacturing costs.
Creating variety for your portfolio
So far, we have covered some important points that will help you select the right gold Sovereign. We have established that gold bullion coins are better for investment. Since the Sovereign is available in smaller denominations, we have also discussed that having a variety of sizes can create an advantage for your gold portfolio.
When buying a Sovereign bullion coin, always look for the current year of issue. These are available in plentiful, at rock bottom prices and low premiums. Apart from new coins, what else should you look for? Gold Sovereigns enjoy a strong supply pipeline and many modern Sovereigns from the past 10 years are easily available. You may be able to obtain some of these coins at better prices than the new ones. Spreading your investment over a variety of modern Sovereigns can be a sensible approach towards creating variety for your portfolio and making it stronger.
Buying old Sovereigns
The best old Sovereign to buy based on price is the current year of issue. Sovereign prices are based more on gold content. If seeking a combination of value and history, the George V and Elizabeth II coins provide the optimum all-round solution. If buying many Sovereigns, a combination with older Victoria coins is best.
The Sovereigns from the reign of King George V are still available at affordable prices, due to their availability. However, these coins do offer enough numismatic value and interest, making them worth collecting. Edward VII Sovereigns are more expensive to buy but worth acquiring if you can get a good deal on them. Queen Victoria have three different Sovereigns that were issued during her reign. These are called the Young Head, Jubilee Head and the Old Head. These are the most expensive coins among the modern Sovereigns, but investing in them can fetch good returns, as their value continues to rise due to rarity.
Our gold experts can advise you on the right Sovereigns to buy
Physical Gold is one of the most reputed gold dealers in the UK. We have a team of gold experts who can help you purchase the best Sovereigns for your investment portfolio. Call us today on (020) 7060 9992, or get in touch online through our website.
If you want to collect a piece of history, along with unmatched value, look no further than the Gold Sovereign. While the Gold Britannia may be the flagship coin of the Royal Mint, the Gold Sovereign is perhaps the most iconic coin ever issued as a part of British coinage. The coin is heralded as one of the oldest British coins that have been around for more than 200 years.
The gold Sovereign
There is a distinction between the modern Gold Sovereign and the older coin that was issued during mediaeval times. The modern Sovereign has seen the face of several British monarchs. The coin was around during the reigns of the great Queen Victoria and Edward VII, followed by King George V, Emperor of the British Empire during the First Great War.
The Sovereign was continued during the reign of King George VI, who ruled the Empire during World War II and continued into the reign of his daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, our current British monarch. The older Sovereign was issued in 1489 during the reign of King Henry VII. However, the mintage of the Sovereign was terminated in 1604. The coin was reintroduced only in 1817.
An illustrious history
It’s not just the history that makes this coin attractive. The Sovereign has a unique design. The reverse of the coin features an image of St George slaying a dragon. This iconic image was conceptualised by the famous Italian designer and engraver, Benedetto Pistrucci. The coin is indeed a work of art, as well as a representation of the fineness and elegance of British coinage.
Which Sovereigns should I buy?
The first consideration for any investor is affordability. Most investors want value for money. Old Sovereigns are small in size and therefore affordable. Having been produced for over 200 years, they’re very easy to sell on and can make a good investment if the gold price goes up. Their value generally increases with age and any profit made on their sale is completely tax-exempt in the UK. It’s also important to research the secondary market. Due to its long years of production, the gold Sovereign enjoys a vibrant secondary market. Many Sovereigns that have been issued over the years are available at different price points. So, it’s important to build a relationship with a reputed gold dealer and find out the best deals on Sovereigns that you can benefit from.
Divisibility is an important differentiator
A definitive reason to invest in gold Sovereigns is the divisibility it brings to your portfolio. There is a wide variety of different sizes to choose from. As an investor, if you prefer larger coins with lower production costs, the full sovereign, the double Sovereign, and the quintuple Sovereign could be just right for you. The latter two are known as the 2-pound coin and the 5-pound coin, respectively. However, it may make sense to invest in smaller coins, which gives you the flexibility of selling small amounts of gold at the right price points. In that case, you have the option of acquiring the half and quarter sovereign. Incidentally, the quintuple Sovereign is perhaps one of the most famous, as it has the largest gold content ever found in a British coin.
Accessibility to the gold market
Another important reason to buy gold Sovereigns is that it is an affordable coin when compared to the gold Britannia. Investors can therefore own a sovereign, with a lesser amount of capital outlay and enjoy its benefits, including VAT and CGT exemptions.
Get in touch with Physical Gold for the best deals in gold Sovereigns
Our numismatic experts at Physical Gold can advise you on how to avail of the best deals when buying gold Sovereigns. Call us on (020) 7060 9992 or visit our website and get in touch with us online.
Gold Britannia coins are extremely popular amongst investors for several reasons. Firstly, being one of the most popular British coins in the world, the coin offers a tremendous amount of liquidity for any investor’s portfolio. However, there are other reasons for its popularity too.
Since 2013, gold Britannia coins are available in 24-carat gold. Therefore, the coin presents an irresistible opportunity to acquire a 1-ounce gold coin manufactured with 99.9% pure gold. It’s important to note that until 2012, gold Britannias were minted using 22-carat gold, with a fineness of 91.7%.
The gold Britannia coin was originally introduced in 1987. From 1987 till 1989, copper was the base metal introduced into gold. This was changed from 1990 to silver, making the Britannia coin minted completely out of precious metals.
A question that many investors ask is whether the gold Britannia is a legal tender coin.
Yes, they are legal tender within the UK. All Britannia fractions and precious metals feature Queen Elizabeth on the obverse of the coin and a face value. These features qualify the coins as legal tender so in theory they can be spent in shops. However, with the 1oz gold Britannia boasting a £100 face value but being worth ten times that it would be foolish to do so. More commonly, the legal tender status increases the coins’ appeal due to it not being subject to Capital Gains Tax.
However, there are certain limits to this tax exemption. The Capital Gains Tax exemption on gold Britannia coins is up to a limit of £12,000 of profits made from sales in a single tax year. So, it’s important to understand that the entire amount collected from a sale isn’t taxable. It’s only the gains made by the seller or the difference between the buying and selling price. If these gains exceed £ 12,000 in one tax year, only the amount above this limit would become taxable, not all the profits.
Any official currency that has a face value, minted by the Royal Mint and signed off under the Royal Proclamation is considered to be legal tender in the UK. These rules are part of the Coinage Act 1971 and the Currency Act 1983. Legal tender coins include all coins in circulation, Maundy money and precious metal coins minted by the Royal Mint. Coins that have been withdrawn from circulation do not qualify as legal tender in the UK. For example, the old ‘round pound’ has been withdrawn from circulation and does not qualify as legal tender from 15th October 2017. However, they can be exchanged in a bank.
Other important points to note about legal tender currency
An important point to note is that gold and silver coins may not qualify as legal tender if the weight of the coin is found to be less than the specified weight denoted on the coin. Even today, several places outside the UK accept British legal tender coins.
These are British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, like the Channel Islands, Falkland Islands, and many other places like Gibraltar and Ascension Island. However, the local currencies of these places are not accepted as legal tender in the UK. An interesting anomaly is Scotland and Northern Ireland, where Bank of England notes are not considered to be legal tender.
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The gold Britannia is an iconic British coin that enjoys popularity and liquidity all over the world. The flagship coin has become the backbone of any gold investment portfolio. It is interesting to note that, unlike the gold sovereign, the Britannia has only been around since 1987. So, the coin is available at relatively low premiums and does not command a historical or rarity value. Due to continuous mintage by the Royal Mint, the coin is easily available in abundance.
Why is the gold Britannia an attractive investment?
For gold investors, these coins offer amazing value due to mass production and large sizes. Additionally, the gold Britannia is completely tax-free in the UK due to its status as legal tender. Investors do not have to pay VAT or CGT (Capital Gains Tax) on these coins. This means that any profits that an investor may make through the sale of gold Britannia coins are tax-free up to a limit of £12,000 in a single tax year. Undoubtedly, the tax efficiency factor hugely enhances its appeal for investors.
Where can one buy cheap gold Britannia coins?
Usually, the latest year of issue Britannia is the cheapest for the simple reason that they are the most plentiful. It is important to note that investors should look for bullion coins to be able to buy at the best rate. According to the Royal Mint, the Gold Britannia bullion coin is manufactured each year with an unlimited mintage. However, this does not imply that infinite numbers of the coin will become available every year.
The actual production numbers are largely dependent on market demand. These numbers are also dependent on the amount of gold that the Royal Mint can source every year to meet the required demand and produce the gold Britannia coins. The coins are struck at the Royal Mint’s facility in Llantrisant where blank, faceless 1-ounce gold coins are received by the state of the art coin pressing machinery and printed with the obverse and reverse of the Britannia coins. Of these, the basic, mass-produced bullion version is cheaper than any special edition varieties or proof productions.
What are the other avenues of buying the cheapest gold Britannia coins?
Generally, older Britannias cost more due to scarcity and collectability, but occasionally it may be possible to find even cheaper pre-owned coins if someone has sold a large quantity at one time. In fact, one of the guiding principles in buying gold coins is to generally avoid older coins that carry hefty premiums and totally avoid obscure gold coins.
Low mintage in specific years can also be a problem, raising the price of the coin due to scarcity. For example, in 1998, the Royal Mint released only 750 gold Britannia bullion coins. Similarly, in 2002, only 945 coins of the 1-ounce gold Britannia were released. These numbers are much smaller when compared to 2010 when 14,727 gold Britannia bullion coins were minted.
So, buying the cheapest gold Britannia coins can mean looking out for the years of issue with easy availability and large mintage numbers. Of course, since 2013 the gold Britannia is also available in a greater number of size options like the half, quarter, one 10th and one 20th of an ounce. These are likely to be cheaper, due to the lesser amount of gold contained in the coin.
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The dictionary meaning of the word “GROAT” denotes a silver coin that was used in the 14th century across England and Scotland. The word ‘Groat’ is derived from an old French word – Gros, which meant great, or big. There is also a Dutch word – Grootpennig, which meant a big penny. Thus, the word may have been derived from either of these origins.
There is, however, another dictionary meaning of the word ‘Groat’. This refers to the seeds of grains such as oats, rye or wheat. Once the outer shell of the seat is removed, it can be cooked. However, this has nothing to do with coinage or the silver coin, in particular.
History of the groat coin
The Groat coin had a value of 4 pence. The French had a similar coin, which they called ‘Gros Tournois’. It is possible that the silver coin used in England and Ireland originated from this. There was a separate Scottish coin with the same name, which initially had a value of 4 pence, but was later minted as an 8 pence coin. There was also a Scottish version where the coin was worth a shilling.
The coin was initially circulated by Edward I around the year 1280. The coin became popular and enjoyed circulation in England for the next two centuries as the largest silver coin at the time. Eventually, its place was taken by other large coins such as the Shilling introduced by King Henry VII. The coin continued to be minted until the last one, which was made in 1855.
However, mintage was stopped during certain periods. For example, King James I, whose reign was between the years 1603 to 1625, withdrew the mintage. There was also a lull in mintage from 1649 to 1660. These years are better known as the Commonwealth period. However, the Groat was issued as a proof coin twice between 1857 and 1862. In 1888, there was a colonial issue of the coin. Interestingly, the Groat has become a part of The Maundy Set, issued on Maundy Thursday every year by the Queen.
The silver content of the Groat coin
Over the years, the silver content of the coin was slowly reduced. The first English Groat contained 5.8 g of silver. During the reign of Edward III, this fell to 4.7 g and continued to become much less going forward. The Groat issued by King Henry IV had only 3.9 g of silver, which was further reduced to 3.1 g by King Edward IV. It reached 2.1 g by 1559, by which time the purity of the silver contained in the coin had also fallen. After 1561, the coin was withdrawn from circulation for the next hundred years.
Mintage in later years
Groats were minted only a few times during later years. By this time, it had come to be known as a 4 pence coin. There were a few years mintage after 1786, these years being 1792, 1795 and 1800. The colonial Groat that we discussed earlier, was minted in 1888.
This colonial issue was intended for the countries of British Guyana and the British West Indies, both of which were part of the British Empire at the time. The British Guyana version remained in circulation up to 1955.
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The origin of the phrase goes back to the time of Richard I, who was descended from French ancestry. King Richard was the King of England from 1189 till his demise in 1199. King Richard used this phrase to announce that it is the divine right of the King, or Monarch to govern.
The phrase was later adopted by King Henry V, as the Royal motto for the Kingdom of England. The phrase now appears on the coat of arms used by the British monarchy. People often wonder how a French phrase could be adopted by the English Royal Family. However, mediaeval England was not the same place that we know now. Norman-French was the language of the English Royal Court at the time. The rulers and the upper classes also spoke this language during that period.
The meaning of the phrase on the coat of arms
When translated, the phrase simply means “God and my right”. Currently, it is the motto of the British Royal Family. A close inspection of the coat of arms used by the British Monarch, reveals that the inscription can be found on a small banner underneath the shield. In the present day, the coat of arms is used by our reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. On the left of the shield, stands the guardian lion wearing the crown of St. Edward. On the right of the shield is a Scottish Unicom. Underneath the shield, there is greenery, with a thistle, Tudor rose and Shamrock. These are representative of the kingdoms of Scotland, England and Ireland. Right below this display is a banner containing the words “Dieu et Mon Droit”.
Where can this coat of arms be seen?
The coat of arms is the official symbol of the British Queen. Therefore, it is clearly visible in every UK court of law, except for the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and the Magistrate’s Court in the City of London. It is also used on government documents and you might be able to view it on your passport. Globally, this coat of arms is visible on the entrances to UK embassies and consulates.
Appearance on coins
The royal coat of arms has been featured regularly on British coinage, manufactured by the Royal Mint. The most common example of this is the British one pound coin, which has been in circulation since 1983.
By 2008, the Royal Mint had minted a new series of coins with a denomination of 1 pound and below. The full Royal coat of arms appears on the one pound coin with the phrase Dieu et Mon Droit. However, only sections of the coat of arms can be seen on the coins of lower denomination. In 2016, the Royal Mint released a new bimetallic coin called the nations of the crown. Interestingly, an old British coin called the Guinea, which was minted between the years 1663 and 1814 also displayed the royal coat of arms, with the inscription. The coin took its name from the West African nation, Guinea. The gold that was used to mint this coin was sourced from here.
The numismatic experts at Physical Gold can address all your queries related to coins
Collecting coins can be an absorbing hobby, and if the coins are produced from precious metals, they can add tremendous value to your collection. Many collectors and investors have questions related to precious metal coins. Call our coin experts on (020) 7060 9992 or reach out to us via our website and we will be happy to advise you on all your coin purchases.
1983 was an important year for British coinage. It was the year in which the British pound coin was minted and put into circulation to replace the Bank of England’s one pound note. The pound note saw its last issue at the end of 1984. The note continued to be in circulation until 11th of March 1988. On that date, it was removed from circulation.
Like all other UK banknotes, the pound note remained redeemable at the bank. But, for all official purposes, the pound note had been terminated and replaced with the British pound coin. Interestingly, the Royal Bank of Scotland continued the issue of pound notes. Similarly, the Channel Islands continued to use them as well. But the pound coin gained popularity and eventually became the more widely used form of currency. In this article, we will overview the history of the British pound coin.
The purpose of issuing a pound coin
The main reason for the withdrawal of the 1 pound note was its longevity. The British one pound banknote survived in circulation for approximately 9 months only. The Royal Mint found out that after repeated usage, the pound notes would often end up being damaged, or defaced. A pound coin, on the other hand, could remain in circulation for 40 years or more. Therefore, on 31 July 1981, the government announced its intention to replace the one pound note with the one pound coin.
The design of the pound coin
The obverse of the pound coin bears a Latin inscription engraved on it. This inscription reads ‘Elizabeth II D G REG’. The abbreviation stands for the words “Dei Gratia Regina”. The entire inscription, when translated into English means “Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, Queen and Defender of the Faith”. Since the original release of the pound coin on 21 April 1983, four portraits of the Queen, each different from the other, have been used. The year of the mintage was also engraved alongside the Latin inscription.
The first series of coins released in 1983 used a portrait of Queen Elizabeth the second, which had been created by designer Arnold Machin. This portrait appears on the obverse of the coin and features the Queen wearing a tiara. By 1985, a new portrait of the Queen was used, and it was created by Raphael Maklouf. In this portrait, the Queen is featured wearing the George IV State Diadem. This version of the pound coin was issued till 1997.
The changing face of the pound coin
From 1998 to 2015, the design of the pound coin was changed yet again. This time, a new portrait created by Ian Rank-Broadley was used. Once again, the Queen’s portrait depicted her wearing a tiara. A makeover of the pound coin took place again in 2015. This time, well-known designer Jody Clark was commissioned to create the design. Her portrait of the Queen was introduced on the pound coin in 2015 and depicts the monarch wearing the George IV State Diadem.
The reverse of the pound coin had its design changed every year since 1983. This was done to ensure the complete representation of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as parts of the UK. Each year, the one pound coin would have a different emblem which represents each geographic area along with an inscription on the edge. The words, “one pound” can be found on the reverse of all these coins.
The new pound coin 2017
The new one pound coin has a 12 sided, bimetallic structure. This coin was released on 28 March 2017. A design competition was organised with participation from members of the public. This competition was unveiled in 2014 and the results, which were declared in March 2015 named a 15-year-old boy called David Pearce as the winner. The new design featured a rose, thistle, leek and a shamrock, ensconced by a crown.
Unknown to many, as the round one pound coin gained popularity, counterfeiters took to duplicating this coin. By 2013, there was an estimated 3.04% of counterfeit coins in circulation. The geographical areas that had the maximum number of counterfeit coins were Northern Ireland, the South-East of England and the City of London. Coin testing companies were commissioned by the Royal Mint to study the problem. The coin testing professionals found out that the actual number was approximately twice that estimated by the Royal Mint.
Many times banks did not check the coins they are receiving. As a result, many banks were also inundated with counterfeit currency. The experts detected that many counterfeit coins had poor quality, along with marked visual differences in design. Of course, there were more sophisticated counterfeiters, that would require a specialised machine to detect.
The end of the round pound
The last batch of the British round one pound coins was minted in December 2015. The 12 edge coin that has replaced it is a bi-metallic coin whose design makes it harder to duplicate. The coin also has a concealed security feature, which is a code that becomes visible under a certain wavelength of ultraviolet light. There were a few other round pound coins in circulation as well, although these were never legal tender in the UK.
These coins were minted by the British Crown dependencies and Gibraltar, amongst others. They were identical to the one pound coin circulated in the UK and carried the same portraits of the British monarch. Some of these coins have remained in circulation, as these territories have not stopped the mintage of the coins or changed it.
To find out more about collectable UK coins, call Physical Gold
Physical Gold is one of the most reputed precious metal dealers in the UK. We also deal in precious coins and if you want to get an evaluation done, or wish to purchase specific coins of value, please call us on (020) 7060 9992. You can also contact us via email and a member of our customer service team will be happy to call you back.
Numismatics is the field of study related to coinage. Researchers often study the origins of a particular design and may even delve into the history of a particular coin. When we look at the designs of coins, including our very own one pound coin from 1983 or 1996, an inscription with the words “Decus et Tutamen” appears engraved on the side of the coin. This is a very interesting observation. The inscription does not appear on the obverse or reverse of the coin. It is engraved on the side, which is probably why many people miss seeing it completely. But what is it? What does it mean?
The meaning of the inscription
The inscription “Decus et Tutamen” simply means – an ornament and a safeguard. Another interpretation is ‘glory and defence’. So, the inscription was created to enhance the design of the coin and protect it. But protect the coin against what?
This is the term that was used to describe the practice of coin clipping. Coin clipping was a practice that existed particularly in the 17th and 18th centuries, where a small portion of a precious metal coin was simply shaved off and kept aside for profits. This illegal practice meant that these clippings could all be collected and then melted into gold and silver. If a person managed to save up a significant volume of clippings, it simply meant that it could be melted into a sizeable bar or even counterfeit coins. So, the inscription “Decus et Tutamen” was created to protect the coins. If the Clippers were to shave off the coin, the inscription would disappear, and the coin could be rejected as being damaged. Interestingly, the crime of coin clipping was punishable by death at the time. It has been documented that in the year 1690, Thomas and Anne Rogers were tried and convicted for high treason, due to their crime of coin clipping. Both of them received the death penalty.
When did this happen?
The phrase “Decus et Tutamen” was originally coined by the English author, John Evelyn on 10th January 1662, more than 350 years ago. It is reported that this proposal was made by John Evelyn in person to King Charles II. At the time, a new coinage was being designed for the reign of the new King.
Evelyn suggested that this system of protection could be incorporated on the new valuable coins, like the five Guinea gold coin, being minted for the Kings new reign. However, this inscription was discontinued following the death of King Charles II. But it reappeared in later years, during the reigns of different British monarchs and can be found on commemorative coins, which were intended to be valuable. In recent years, the inscription can be found on the milled edge of many British 1 pound coins, popularly known as the “round pound”, which replaced the Bank of England pound note in 1983.
The origins of the phrase
Most scholars agree that John Evelyn may have picked the phrase from a literary work, popularly known as Virgil’s Aeneid, in which the words “Viro Decus et Tutamen in Armis”, can be found. These words have been used within the text to describe a large, armoured breastplate decorated with gold.
When it comes to coin collecting, every investor will have their own personal set of motivations and reasons for investing. Not every coin collector is a numismatic, (someone who studies coins from a historical, social, or artistic point of view) but they will all have their own set of criteria that determine which coins they wish to invest in.
The motives of a coin collector can vary from being a hobby, for sentimental value or as an investment. The type of coins purchased will differ for each of these types of collectors.
Collector to numismatist
Many numismatists don’t necessarily understand the philosophy of numismatics when they start out. They simply start out by default as a collector. During this period, which often starts at school for many, they come into contact with other collectors and compatriots who are at best interested in the field as a hobby. At this stage, they start trading coins, giving away their duplicate coins in exchange for other coins which they perceive as adding value to their collection. Many understand that their coins may have a certain value at this point in time, as they start to sell off their duplicates and manage to get a fair price for it. Enthused by a monetary angle, in addition to their passion for coins, they start to take numismatics more seriously. For many such numismatists, they start to attend major numismatic events across the country from their late teens to their twenties, gathering knowledge and expertise on the subject of coins.
For those who manage to keep their passion alive through their work lives, they will start formulating their own investment strategies. Through their vast network of contacts, they are able to now source coins of value, as well as identify these gems with a seasoned eye. These numismatists soon start to view precious metal coins as a preferred class of gold investment. Numismatists appear to prefer bullion coins instead of bullion bars, simply due to their passion for coins and banknotes. For some, their passion, in fact, becomes their work, and they align themselves with big-ticket coin dealers and play the dual role of buyer for some and supplier to others.
Evolving your own specialism
Many numismatists start to focus on certain areas of collecting, specialise in these areas and are soon well known for their expertise. For example, many specialise in old coins prior to 1838, often known in numismatic circles as ‘Early Date Gold’. These are typically British and American gold coins which are full of history and are highly sought after by investors and collectors alike. The pre-1838 ones and the pre-1800 ones are difficult to come by and command great value. Of course, apart from the monetary value, there is great joy and satisfaction to be had in the heart of a numismatist when he/she can make a rare ‘find’.
Then there are ‘key date’ coins, based on mintages around certain key historical dates, like the fall of the Berlin Wall, Man on the moon, etc. The key date is represented in the mintmark on the coin. Numismatists often collect key date coins years in advance as part of a set building strategy. Then they play a waiting game for the specific event to gain historic importance. They also capitalise on the scarcity of the coins from these dates as it slowly builds up. A simple example could be the 50p coins that were circulated in the UK to commemorate the London Olympics. At the time, everyone had them, but as the years went by, they have now grown scarcer and are worth a fair bit of money today.
Coins that are issued to celebrate a special key date are often known as commemorative coins. A good example from recent times would be the Brexit coin. This commemorative coin is minted in silver as a proof coin by the Royal Mint and marks the date of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union in 2020. The coin was struck using silver with a purity of 92.5% and had a limited mintage of only 47,000. Since the coin has already been sold out, its value is likely to escalate in the future, as demand for the commemorative coin rises.
Commemorative coins of even greater value can be found within British coinage of the 18th and 19th centuries. For example, the Queen Victoria Jubilee head is a commemorative coin issued in 1887 to celebrate the Queens. Golden Jubilee. Its mintage lasted for only six years, and the coin was last struck in 1893. Similarly, the 1871 Queen Victoria young head Sovereign is also a commemorative coin that celebrates the inauguration of the Royal Albert Hall by the Queen in 1871. These older commemorative coins are now becoming scarce and collectors willing to pay hefty premiums for these commemorative coins in an unscathed, mint condition.
Other thematic specialisms developed by numismatists include collecting proof coinage of the American Civil War. These are hard to come by today and is a coveted area of coin study. Many numismatists who are good at sourcing and have great contacts collect ‘pedigree coins’, i.e. coins owned by someone famous, like a Hollywood film star, royalty, business tycoons, etc. The American gold rush is another historic area of interest for many collectors, as these coins are rare to come by. The San Francisco mint opened in 1854, during this period and many of the gold rush era coinage was struck at this mint.
Coins are bought by certain collectors because the commemorative event or the specific year they were produced may bare a nostalgic value to them. It may represent the year of marriage or birth or signify a specific event such as the Olympics or a sovereign’s anniversary. Most of the World’s commemorative coins were produced from the 1960s onward and have a distinct design with reference to the occasion on which they were issued. Collectors are often not concerned with the resale value it is just a coin that may mean something to them and that they just want to own. They tend to be expensive as they require a high cost of production and usually include a presentation box.
Hobby collectors may be interested in specific dates or releases, where a substantial premium will be added for their uniqueness or appeal. They may be purchasing to complete a set or just because they appreciate the coin for its beauty. Often hobby collectors buy proofs or sets of proofs that may come in a display pack of limited issue, these often have an additional premium which they will find difficult to recoup when they come to sell.
For other collectors, coins are very much an investment. These types of collectors look at coins primarily as a way of making money and hope to profit from particularly rare or hard-to-source coins. Often these investors will methodically research particular dates or mintmarks of rare coins in order to find some defining characteristic that makes them of value. Perhaps there weren’t many coins minted one year? Or there may be a coin has a slight defect leftover from the minting process that makes it unique or of higher value.
Some investors also like to focus on a particular sub-category of coins such as Lincoln cents or Victorian sovereigns. This is partly because investors like to collect complete sets of coins and also because by narrowing their focus to concentrate on a particular area of coins, they can research them in far greater depth.
That’s not all
Some investors look at ancient or very rare coins that bare much larger premiums, up to 200% higher than its intrinsic gold value. The term ‘numismatic coin’ is given to those worth a substantial premium over their simple gold value due to rarity and history. These coins can be bought at auction or from specialist numismatic coin dealers.
Investing in rare and ancient coins is a much riskier investment as the coins are less liquid and their perceived value may be very different from their market value. We do not recommend investing in ancient or numismatic coins unless the purchaser has experience of this market and can afford to potentially wait some time for the right buyer. Gold coins minted pre-1800 and those sold at premiums that exceed 180% of the intrinsic gold value may also be subject to VAT, whereas newer coins (which meet certain criteria) are exempt. In the USA pre-1933 gold is extremely popular as it is non-reportable and non-confiscatable.
Talk to the numismatic experts at Physical Gold
At Physical Gold, our team consists of highly experienced and capable numismatic experts who have great knowledge and experience in the field. Whether you are an amateur hobbyist or an intermediate level numismatist, you would surely gain by having a discussion with our team about your goals as an investor and a collector. Call us on 020 7060 9992 or drop us a line through our website. A member of our team will be in touch with you to have a friendly chat.
Gold investors have several options to choose from when deciding to purchase gold coins as a sound investment. Many people prefer to buy rare and old coins that carry hefty premiums due to their age and scarcity. International coins like the Canadian Maple Leaf and the Gold Krugerrand are popular with investors across the world.
In general, any experienced gold investor will not advise you to buy obscure coins, simply due to their lack of liquidity. These coins are difficult to sell off, even with the assistance of a reputed dealer. Therefore, they wouldn’t qualify as a good investment, since one cannot realise its sale and profits when it is needed the most.
For UK investors, the best gold coins for investment are Britannias and Sovereign coins. Both are relatively cheap compared to many non-UK coins and even small bars. Buying gold Sovereigns provides a huge choice of options from the age of coins to size. Stick to bullion coins rather than proof finishes which are more for collectors. Liquidity is excellent for these UK coins, so you’ll be able to sell easily at a competitive price. As legal tender coins, any profits are also tax-free.
The gold Britannia
The gold Britannia is an extremely attractive coin for investors. It is often considered to be a coin that should form the backbone of every gold portfolio. The gold Britannia has been around since 1987, and it is produced as a bullion coin. Therefore, it is easily available with low premiums and discounts can be availed from large, reputed dealerships on bulk orders.
The Britannia is available in different sizes and larger coins are a great deal for investors since their production costs are lower and the gold is available at a slightly cheaper price per gram.
The classic Britannia icon on the coin is usually updated every two years by the Royal Mint, which elicits healthy interest from collectors. Of course, it can be purchased VAT and CGT free in the UK, owing to the coin’s status as legal tender. Adding the Britannia to your portfolio can bring good returns in the future. The coin has a strong secondary market, so you shouldn’t have any problems selling it when you have to.
The gold Sovereign
The Sovereign has been part of British coinage for 200 years. The modern sovereign was launched in 1817. Now, it has been removed from circulation and is available as a bullion coin. Easy availability is, of course, an important criterion for choosing the sovereign, as part of your portfolio. Divisibility is also an important consideration, and the sovereign is available in many sizes, including the half-sovereign, the quarter sovereign, and smaller fractional sizes. Like the Britannia, it enjoys a great secondary market and can add balance, liquidity, and divisibility to your portfolio.
The Queen’s Beasts
The Queen’s Beasts is a series of coins minted by the Royal Mint. The coin features Queen Elizabeth II on its obverse and the reverse of the coin depicts one of the 10 Queen’s beasts. There is a lot of interest amongst investors and collectors to acquire the complete set. Due to this, premiums associated with this coin have been rising quicker than other gold coins and certain coins from this series have already appreciated by 40% in one year. These are all great reasons for you to buy this gold coin as a solid investment.
The Lunar series
Another gold coin worth investing in is the Lunar series, also minted and released by the Royal Mint. The series was launched in 2014 and these exquisite gold coins feature animals from the Chinese Zodiac. These are released periodically and only a few have been launched so far. There should be 12 coins in this set, so it makes sense to buy the ones that have already been launched and keep going to complete the set.
Call us to find out about the most investable gold coins