The 2017 Gold Britannia is the largest denomination gold bullion coin in the UK with a face value of £100. Its popularity has since spawned multiple size variations to appeal to collectors and those seeking variety. Britannias now come in one twentieth ounce, tenth ounce, quarter ounce, half ounce, one ounce and the monstrous 5oz version.
This is a brand-new bullion finish coin, issued by the Royal Mint. Coins will be packaged loose for small quantities and orders of 10 or more may come in Royal Mint tubes.
If you would like to protect your coins further, these coin capsules fit perfectly.
Previously issued in 22 carat purity, it has been updated to 24 carat since 2013.
The obverse illustrates the fifth portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, while the reverse features Philip Nathan’s classic design of Britannia holding a trident.
Back in ancient Greek and Roman times, Britannia was the female embodiment of the islands of Great Britain. The name is based on Latin and originates from the Greeks designating names to clusters of islands. The Britannia symbol has been used for centuries on various British coins, and yet only 1 in 4 British adults recognise who she is. Over the years, the goddesses spear has evolved into a trident to reflect the maritime implications of the British Isles. The most recognisable and common coin featuring Britannia is probably the 50p coin. However, the image has frequently been selected to represent Britishness and unity for many companies, including British Airways, Britannia Building Society and the Bank of England itself.
The initial ‘Standing Britannia’ was used on the reverse of the 1987 launch gold Britannia coin, and remained the design for its first decade. New designs have emerged on the back of Gold Britannias bi-annually from 2001. Designs have included horses and chariots, lions, and a seated Britannia. The 2 yearly updates add excitement and desirability to the already popular coin. The 2017 Gold Britannia has added a striking radial background to a standing Britannia, complete with trident, shield and olive branch.
The 2017 Gold Britannia celebrates the 30th year since launch, and interestingly exactly 20 years since the silver version first came into production. The Royal Mint have produced a separate special edition version of the coin this year but it trades at a premium.
The Gold Britannia was only launched in 1987 for the first time, hundreds of years after its smaller brother, the Sovereign. In a way, the success of the Gold Sovereign meant The Royal Mint could rest on the laurels and any thoughts of producing another coin never came to fruition. They already produced variations on the Sovereign for those seeking larger sized coins. Specifically the £2 coin and the huge £5 Sovereign gold coin (basically 5 Sovereigns rolled into one). They seemed to have all their bases covered. Then along came the South African Krugerrand and everything changed.
First minted in 1967, the Krugerrand was launched as the first gold coin to contain exactly 1oz of gold. While the Sovereign had history and a loyal market on its side, it’s awkward volume of gold (0.2354oz) proved more difficult to market than the new pretender – the Krugerrand. In fact by 1980, the Krugerrand constituted 90% of the global coin market. The Royal Mint needed to act…
It wasn’t until 1987, 20 years after the Krugerrand launched, that the Royal Mint finally produced the Britannia, the British version of the Krugerrand. Lie the South African coin, it was 22 carats, but contained exactly 1oz of pure gold. It opened new doors to the investment market for the Royal Mint. Easily marketed at 1oz, its value easy to track and calculate, it also offered more gold for your money than the Sovereign. After all, as a percentage of its value, the minting cost of a 1oz coin is lower than that of a Sovereign.
Encouraged by the huge domestic growth in gold investment demand, the Mint then targeted growth overseas. In particular, they wanted the Britannia to appeal to the Far East market. There’s already an inherent fascination and demand from Asia for UK products. But the Asian market like 24 carat gold, not 22 carat. So from 2013, all gold Britannias were produced in 24 carat gold. Our article on the 24 carat Britannia gold coin comments on the pros and cons of the older and newer versions of the coin.
The 2017 Gold Britannia is one of our best-selling coins. As a gold broker catering primarily to investment enthusiasts, that’s no surprise as the coin is a great selection for a portfolio. The Britannia is obviously completely tax efficient like all the other Royal Mint issued coins we offer.
Due to its relatively large size, it offers probably the best value for money of all the coins. Infact, it’s way cheaper than a 1oz gold bar, which isn’t Capital Gains Tax free and doesn’t trade half as well. We pay far better for Britannias when you choose to sell, than we do a 1oz bar.
The 1oz Britannia has proven especially popular among investors with larger sums to invest, including corporations wishing to use company funds tax efficiently. It may not quite have the divisibility or history of a Sovereign coin, but for pure value, it’s unbeatable. The fractional coins can provide a good option if you wish to own some smaller coins, and we regularly have client’s split a portfolio between Britannias and Sovereigns for the ultimate mix of value, antiquity and divisibility.
I would not be tempted with the special edition version which costs more and isn’t as good value. Stick to the regular edition bullion variety and you won’t go wrong. Their success and desirability can be understood by the fact that so few people sell back Britannias. The availability of pre-owned coins is relatively low compared to Sovereigns and Krugerrands, demonstrating the fact that most buyers like to hold them for years and pass them down the generations.