Silver Britannia—Bullion Coin or Collector's Coin?
The Silver Britannia is a bullion coin,
but its higher premium makes us think that the goal of the Royal Mint is to sell them to collectors.
The premium on the £2 (one ounce) Britannia is close to $15.00.
So why would anyone buy a Silver Britannia, except for the collectability?
Another unusual aspect of the Britannia is that it also comes in a 1/10 ounce version.
In addition, it often comes in a four coin set, including the 1 troy ounce (£2), 1/2 ounce (£1), 1/4 ounce (50 pence) and 1/10 ounce (20 pence) coins.
This is an unusual coin in another way as well.
Rather than the typical .999 silver that other bullion coins are minted in,
the Britannia uses what's called Britannia silver, which is .958 silver, or 95.8%.
This is the purest silver used in Great Britain. The norm is .925, or Sterling silver.
Facts About the Britannia
10 years after its older brother, the Gold Britannia.
Britannia, the protector of England,
is on the reverse of the coin,
with Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse.
Starting in 1999, the Britannia designs on the reverse alternated.
Even years showed the original standing design,
while odd years showed various scenes of Britannia.
None of these have repeated.
For the 2010 year,
what the Royal Mint calls a "serene portrait" of Britannia was designed by Suzie Zamit (see the image on the left).
Due to its lower silver purity,
the coin is heavier that a typical silver bullion coin.
This coin with one troy ounce of silver weighs 32.45 grams instead of 31.1 g.
Purchase Options for the Silver Britannia
Unlike some other silver coins,you can purchase the Britannia only individually.
There are no mint tubes or mint boxes available.
Also, they're hard to come by in North America.
Very few precious metals dealers sell them, probably because of the high cost.
Other Types of Silver BritanniasFor a coin that has been minted only since 1997,
there is a surprising variety available.
There are 9 different reverses for the one ounce Britannia.
There is also the 1/10 ounce (20 pence) version,
which is sold separately, and the four coin set.
Is the Silver Britannia for You?If you like to collect silver bullion coins,
then this British coin may be for you.
But if you're like us and you're looking to
build a supply of silver assets, stick to the cheaper coins,
like the Silver American Eagle and the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf.