Bullion coins are some of the most sought-after coins in the world, often selling out and causing stock shortages at major national mints. So what do you get for your money? And why should you buy one?
Well the key reason most people purchase a bullion coin is the precious metal content. For example, the UK £2 Britannia coin contains an ounce of pure 999/1000 silver. Soon enough one coin turns into many and you can find yourself owning a sizeable amount of silver.
But these coins are not just lumps of metal. The silver Britannia is also a real piece of craftsmanship, with a beautifully evocative design struck with all the expertise of the Royal Mint.
Combine this craftsmanship with the silver content and you start to see just why this coin is so collectable.
But why is this any different from a silver bar, or a silver round?
UK bullion coins carry the authority and security of being a government issued coin. There is never any debate about their purity or integrity. In fact they are checked every year at a 734 year old ceremony called the Trial of the Pyx. You can buy one safely in the knowledge that you are getting what you pay for.
This also explains why bullion coins sometimes appear to have a ‘misleading’ face value. The Britannia is a £2 coin, but the silver content is worth much more than that. The truth is the face value is really there to legitimise the coin and prove that it is an official state-authorised issue.
And legal tender British bullion coins have a final bonus – they will never incur any Capital Gains Tax. This makes them the perfect way to pass down silver through the generations.
But you will have to pay VAT. And as with any struck coin, you will have to pay a small premium over the raw metal value to cover production costs. At the time of writing, raw silver is trading at around £10.50 an ounce, but you’d be hard pressed to find a way of buying a single ounce at that price.
Bullion coins facilitate an easy entry into the world of owning silver and coins. They are not about face value or edition limit, but you can still have the satisfaction of securing a collection of genuine, bona fide UK coins – at as close to the raw silver price as you are likely to get.
Top Tips for buying silver bullion coins:
- Pick a country with a strong tradition of issuing bullion coins
- Expect to pay a small premium over the intrinsic silver value
- Remember the face value of your chosen coin is not related to its value
- Buy British silver bullion coins and there’s no Capital Gains Tax to pay
Just 15 days since it went on sale, the complete 495 edition of DateStamp™ “958” and “999” Silver Britannia Set has been fully reserved by collectors looking to capture an unprecedented, never-to-be-repeated moment in the history of this most iconic of British coins.
Here’s the background. For the last quarter of a century, the 1oz Britannia Silver has been struck in, not surprisingly, ‘Britannia Silver’ with a purity of 95.8% silver – or more commonly 958/1000. Out of its total 32.45 gram weight, 31 grams was pure silver (1 troy ounce), the rest an alloy.
New year, new Britannia
Until recently that is. Other silver 1oz classics have always been struck in 999/1000 silver, the trademark standard of silver bullion coins the world over. Britannia at 958/1000 was the odd one out.
And so, from 1st January 2013, we waved goodbye to the old ‘958’ Britannia and for the first time ever, welcomed in the new ‘999’ silver 1oz coin – bringing her in line with the US Eagle and Canadian Maple Leaf but also securing Britannia’s status as Britain’s purest silver coin.
The end of one era – the beginning of another
Specification changes like this one don’t come along very often. And when they do, collectors look for something very special to remember it by.
The limited edition Silver Britannia ‘DateStamp™’ Set pairs up one of the last 2012 strikes of the ‘old’ 958 Britannia with one of the very first brand new 2013 versions minted in the purest 999 silver.
A moment captured in time
To mark this unprecedented change in Britannia’s history, each of the two ‘DateStamp™’ Set coins is presented in a tamper-proof capsule alongside a gold 1st class stamp, postmarked on the first or last day of issue – 31st December 2012 for the ‘958’ coin and 1st January 2013 for the new ‘999’ coin. The perfect way to capture and preserve a real piece of coinage history.
Also adding extra value, each set also has its own unique serial number guaranteeing its authenticity and limited edition status.
Missed out on owning one of the 495 sets? Other DateStamp™ coins are available, click here to see the full range.
After 25 years the Royal Mint has abandoned Britannia Silver as a standard for UK coins.
First introduced under the 1696 Coinage Act to combat the melting down of sterling silver coins, the Royal Mint most recently revived the standard in 1987 for the introduction of the £2 Silver Britannia Coin. As a nod to its design, the Royal Mint opted to strike this coin to the Britannia standard – 958/1000 silver (95.8% pure).
Whilst this made the Silver Britannia Britain’s purest silver coin, it created a problem with its international popularity, as the rest of the world does not recognise this uniquely British silver standard.
For quarter of a century, the Mint continued to maintain the Britannia standard but this year they have finally abandoned it in favour of the more internationally accepted 999/1000 purity, bringing the silver Britannia in line with other 1 ounce silver coins, like the US Eagle, Chinese Panda and Canadian Maple Leaf.
For keen-eyed collector, you will notice the diameter and overall weight of the coin has fractionally reduced as less total metal is required from the new purer alloy to give the coin 1 full troy ounce of pure silver.
So what do you think? Is the loss of a long-held silver quality from the UK’s coinage a sad loss to tradition or should the Royal Mint move with the times and ensure that our nation’s coins remain amongst the most popular the world-over?