Is There a Limit on Britannia Silver Coins Mintage?
The silver Britannia is an iconic British coin. The coin was released in 1997, due to the popularity of its gold counterpart. The silver Britannia offers investors and easy entry point into the world of precious metals, as the spot price of silver is currently 75 times cheaper than gold.
The coin adds divisibility and stability to any precious metal’s portfolio. Being legal tender in the UK offers investors the added advantage of acquiring the coin CGT free. We will now explore the current and historical limits on the mintage of this iconic piece of British coinage.
In 1997, when the coin was first released into the market, the coin was available with the fineness of .958, indicating 95.8% pure silver. The coin is released in three ways; as proof, uncirculated bullion, and as part of proof sets. Mintage numbers have varied from year to year for each of these categories, but have settled on 2,500 for both proof types, and 100,000 for the bullion coins since 2008.
The initial limit imposed on the 1-ounce proof orders in 1997 was 16,005. In the same year, the limit for proof sets was set at 11,832. By 1998, the uncirculated bullion mintage reached 88,909. The Royal Mint was responding to its increased demand as a silver bullion coin. However, in the same year, the 1-ounce proof edition of the coin was reduced to 3044. Proof sets orders were also limited to 3044, down from 11,832 in the first year of issue.
By 1999, uncirculated bullion amounts of reduced to 69,394 and proof coins were discontinued in both the 1-ounce proof and the sets categories. The next few years saw limited numbers of uncirculated bullion coins being released in the market, ranging from 81,301 in 2000 to 100,000 in 2004. During these years, extremely limited quantities of proof sets and the 1-ounce proof coins were released. The Royal Mint was releasing the coins year-on-year, according to expected demand.
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Steady streams of 100,000 uncirculated bullion coins were released from 2004 to 2009. An interesting fact to note is that in 2006, a silhouette collection of proof sets was released, which had five styles where the purity of silver was increased to 99.9%, along with gold gilts around the coin. By 2013, the purity of the coin was raised to 999.9 or 99.9%. The popularity of the coin had been greatly enhanced by this time. Mintage has become unlimited since 2013, in an attempt to meet the rising investment demand. The coin is therefore produced according to the volume of the order book.
In 2014, around 17,000 silver Britannia coins were struck at the Royal Mint with a wrong image on the obverse. There had been a mix-up with the Royal Mint’s lunar series – the year of the horse. These coins are commonly known as the ‘Mule Britannia’ and carry substantial premiums at auctions, due to demand from numismatists.