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London's Royal Mint has been issuing the coins of the realm for more than a thousand years. Today gold and silver investors can buy British coins and grab a piece of that history. And they will receive beautiful coins at low cost to boot!
The Royal Mint produces standard 1-ounce coins as well as some larger 2-ounce and 10-ounce coins in limited mintages. The coins are, without exception, well-crafted and worthy of showing off.
In 1997, the Royal Mint produced 20,000 one-ounce silver Britannia's, and these initial coins were made as proofs with a beautiful, mirror finish. Silver Britannia's have been produced yearly since then, including in the lower cost bullion strike version.
You can easily buy Britannia coins dated with the current year at relatively low prices now as an investment.
The current British Silver Britannia has a textured finish on both sides. The reverse side features Britannia, the female embodiment of the British Isles, holding a trident in her right hand and a shield with the Union Jack logo in her left hand. The obverse side has a new portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. It is the famous right-profile portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank-Broadley.
The coin contains one ounce of pure .999 silver. The coin is stamped with its weight, purity and 2-pound denomination. It is legal tender, backed by the government of Great Britain.
The 2014 design included a Horse Privy Silver Britannia Coin has a face value of 2 GBP and one troy ounce of .999 fine silver. It has eight "Year of the Horse" stamps on its outer rim. The reverse features a profile portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, and the obverse has a striking design of Lady Britannia.
The Royal Mint is owned by the government and produces all coins for the United Kingdom. It's a limited company owned by Her Majesty's Treasury. It was an executive government agency until 2009. Now the mint is state-owned and has added bullion trade and a visitor's center to its operation.
British silver coins and other coins were first produced in the UK by Kentish tribes around 80-60 B.C. The Romans set up mints across Britain after a successful invasion, and the mints remained until Roman rule ended. Coins weren't minted again in Britain until 650 A.D. when mints appeared in London and across the country.
In 886 A.D., silver pennies with the portrait of Alfred the Great were released, and this is thought to be origin of the current design of coins produced by the Royal Mint.
The mints across Britain were consolidated in the Tower of London in 1279. Parliament seized control of the Tower of London mint in 1642, during the English Civil War. After the execution of Charles I, Britain was referred to as the "Commonwealth of England" and issued coins which used English, not Latin, for inscriptions.
In 1696, Isaac Newton became the warden of the mint and established a successful campaign to combat counterfeiting.
Britain opened up mints in its overseas territories in India, South Africa, Canada and Australia in the 1800s and early 1900s, many of which continue to operate today. Though the Mints are no longer under the control of the British government, many continue to issue coins featuring Queen Elizabeth II.
British silver coins, along with other coins, were minted in a new facility in Wales beginning in 1968. Due to the financial crisis of the 1970s, the Mint became a self-financed trading fund in 1975.
The mint began selling jewelry, figurines, and commemorative plaques in the early 2000s. Although popular with customers, many of the products were poorly designed. In 2015, the mint began making coins and bullion bars under the Royal Mint Refinery Brand.
For investment purposes, buyers can choose some of the older British silver coins or new and popular silver bullion coins. Examples include: