Silver Britannia

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Coin collectors with a passion for British history will find British coins to be a treasure trove. The majority of British coins are minted by the esteemed Royal Mint, with the Pobjoy Mint also producing coins for several of the nation's overseas territories. From the historic allure of the Gold Britannia and the Gold Sovereign to the contemporary charm of the Tudor Beasts and Myths and Legends series, British coinage offers an unmatched blend of diversity and excellence. Continue reading to discover the unique offerings British coins can add to your collection and explore our selection of British coins from The Royal Mint and more.

British Coinage: An Overview

Historical and Modern British Coins

Before 1971, the British currency system was comprised of pounds, shillings, and pence, with a pound being equal to 20 shillings, a shilling divisible into 12 pennies, and a penny further divisible into two halfpennies or four farthings. This meant there were 240 pennies in a pound. Following the decimalization of the currency in 1971, British coins transitioned to being denominated in penny (or pence) and pound sterling, based on their value. Presently, the denominations of UK coins include 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1, and £2.

In addition to the standard circulating coins, the UK has issued several collectible coin series, such as the Gold Britannia, Gold Sovereign, Queen’s Beasts, Una and the Lion, and the newly introduced Lion and the Eagle coins.

The Royal Mint's Legacy

The Royal Mint, with a storied history exceeding 1,100 years, originated in 1279 when England's mints were consolidated at the Tower of London, later relocating to Llantrisant, Wales, in 1967. It is renowned for producing both circulation and collector coins and medals, including those for the 2012 London Olympics and the SS Gairsoppa shipwreck limited edition coins. 

Britannia Series

The Britannia series, struck in gold and silver, features annual releases including collector's proof coins. The design has evolved over the years, maintaining the depiction of the reigning monarch on the obverse and Britannia, a symbol of the UK, on the reverse. Since its inception in 1987 for gold and 1997 for silver, the Britannia coins have been minted in high purity levels, offering a legacy of excellence.

The Queen’s Beasts and Other Series

Launched in 2016, the Queen’s Beasts series celebrates the ten heraldic statues present at Queen Elizabeth II's coronation, culminating in a "Completer" coin in 2021. The Lion and the Eagle coin symbolizes the alliance between the UK and the US, featuring designs by John Mercanti. The Una and the Lion coin, inspired by a poem, originally commemorated Queen Victoria's reign and has been revived with modern technology to enhance its historic design. The Tower of London series, starting in 2019, and the Gold Sovereign, a staple of British coinage since 1489, further highlight the Royal Mint's contribution to British and global numismatics.

These collections not only represent the rich history and culture of the UK but also offer collectors and enthusiasts a chance to own a piece of this legacy.

Silver Britannia Series

The Silver Britannia series is a prestigious collection of silver bullion coins issued by The Royal Mint, the official mint of the United Kingdom. This series is renowned for its beauty, quality, and craftsmanship, making it a cornerstone of both investment portfolios and coin collections worldwide. Here are key aspects of the Silver Britannia series:

Origin and History

  • Launch Year: The Silver Britannia was first issued in 1997, expanding the Britannia range that initially began with the Gold Britannia in 1987.
  • Purpose: Introduced as a silver counterpart to the gold series, the Silver Britannia aimed to offer investors and collectors a high-quality silver bullion coin backed by the British government.


  • Obverse: The obverse of the coin typically features the effigy of the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom. Since the series' inception, it has depicted Queen Elizabeth II. With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II and the accession of King Charles III, the obverse design is expected to transition to feature the new monarch.
  • Reverse: The reverse design showcases Britannia, the female personification of the British Isles, a symbol of strength, integrity, and resilience. The image of Britannia has been a constant on British coinage for centuries, and her depiction on the Silver Britannia coins varies over the years, with different artists offering their interpretations. Britannia is often shown with a trident, shield, helmet, and olive branch, symbolizing Britain's naval power, defense, and peace.


  • Purity: Initially, the Silver Britannia was minted in .958 fine silver (also known as Britannia silver). However, since 2013, the coins have been produced in .999 fine silver, enhancing their appeal to investors and collectors seeking pure silver content.
  • Denominations: The series is primarily available in 1 troy ounce denominations, but over the years, The Royal Mint has also issued fractional sizes and larger denominations for collectors.

Collectibility and Investment

  • Annual Releases: The Royal Mint issues the Silver Britannia annually, with each year's release eagerly anticipated by collectors and investors. The series often includes special editions, proof sets, and coins with varying finishes, such as frosted or gilded, adding to its collectibility.
  • Legal Tender: Silver Britannias are legal tender in the United Kingdom, with their face value denoted in pounds sterling. However, their market value is primarily determined by their silver content and collectibility.

Special Editions and Variants

  • Design Variations: While the theme remains consistent, the artistic interpretation of Britannia on the reverse can change, offering variety and artistic value to collectors.
  • Anniversary Editions: The Royal Mint occasionally releases special editions to commemorate significant milestones in the Britannia series, featuring unique designs or finishes.

The Silver Britannia series represents a blend of British heritage, artistic excellence, and investment appeal. Its ongoing popularity underscores its status as one of the world's leading silver bullion coin series.


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British Coins FAQ 

The current denominations of circulating British coins are 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1, and £2.

The UK switched to a decimal currency system on 15 February 1971, a day known as Decimal Day.

One of the rarest British coins is the 1933 George V penny. Only a few specimens were minted, making it extremely rare and valuable.

A British coin's value can be determined by its rarity, condition, demand among collectors, and any historical significance. Special editions, errors, and older coins tend to be more valuable.

The oldest British coin is generally considered to be the silver penny minted during the reign of Offa, King of Mercia (757-796 AD).

Modern British coins are primarily made from base metals for circulation. However, The Royal Mint also produces collector and investment coins in silver, gold, and platinum.

Britannia is the personification of Britain, depicted as a female figure symbolizing the nation's strength and integrity. She has appeared on British coins for centuries.

The portrait of the monarch symbolizes their authority and the legitimacy of the currency. It's a tradition that dates back over a thousand years.

British coins are legal tender in the UK. However, their use as legal tender varies in British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, which may issue their own currencies.

Proof coins are specially minted coins with a higher standard of finish and presentation, intended for collectors. They are struck using specially prepared dies and blanks, often multiple times, to produce a detailed and mirror-like surface. Proof coins are different from regular circulation coins, which are minted for everyday transactions and typically have a standard finish.