Britannia 1 ounce Gold Coin.

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The Gold Britannia is a 1 Troy ounce investment coin. Whilst the figure of Britannia has graced coins since Roman times, it is only since 1987 that the modern Gold Britannia coin has been produced. The Gold Britannia is also available in fractions and the Silver Britannia is 1 Troy ounce of pure Silver.


  • Certain years are more rare
  • Medium to high Premium
  • Investment quality Gold
  • exempt from Value Added Tax
  • For UK gold buyers – no Capital Gains Tax on sale or transfer

It is probably Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and war who set the pattern for powerful maidens, like Britannia, to personify the characteristics of the nation they represent. It was the Romans who first portrayed Britannia on their coins. However, in the mists of time, it seems Britannia was depicted as resisting the invasion of the Roman Empire paying tribute to the fighting spirit of the island’s inhabitants, the Ancient Britons. In modern times, Britannia remains the universally recognized personification of Britain.


The coin history can be traced through Roman coins, those of Charles II and Elizabeth I through to today. Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne in 1952 and by that time, Britannia had been on coinage continuously for the previous 300 years. These coins were made from copper, and later bronze. In 1971, Britain adopted decimal currency and Britannia was chosen for the 50p copper/nickel alloy coin. In 1987, Britannia was finally “promoted” to grace the gold bullion coin which is known today as the modern Britannia. Ten years later in 1997, a silver bullion Britannia was also issued.

In modern times, different aspects of Britannia’s history and character have been interpreted by different artists. The portrait by David Mach is the ninth to appear on both the 2011 Silver and Gold coins of Elizabeth II’s reign. The 2012 and 2013 coins were designed by Philip Nathan with the obverse continuing to show the acclaimed monarch effigy by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS. The first Gold Britannia coins were produced in 22 carat form.

The Gold Britannia is issued in weights of 1 Troy ounce, half-ounce, quarter-ounce and tenth-ounce. The Silver Britannia is produced in a weight of 1 Troy ounce only and has a face value of £2.00. The large coins are those which attract the best premium. The reason for this is the costs of manufacture are approximately the same regardless of size and therefore gold content.

Although it is 1 Troy ounce of pure Gold, the Britannia is in fact the highest denomination coin in Britain. So, as well as being free from VAT as it is investment-quality Gold, it is also free from Capital Gains Tax on any sale or transfer which is advantageous over other bullion coins and bars as an investment instrument.

Security Features and Tax Benefits of Britannia Coins

Britannia coins offer a unique advantage for UK collectors: they are exempt from capital gains tax. While they might be more expensive than gold bars, the added value comes with their advanced security features, ensuring authenticity and reducing the risk of scams, especially with the 2021, 2022, and 2023 issues.

Britannia coins boast sophisticated microprinting, with clever designs that change depending on how the coin is held. Starting from 2021, these coins include intricate security features:

  1. Latent Image: This acts like a hologram, shifting from a padlock to a trident when viewed from different angles. This feature first appeared on British coinage on the £2 coin in 1997.
  2. Surface Animation: Advanced micro-engraving lasers create the illusion of waves rolling behind the figure of Britannia, adding a dynamic element to the coin’s design.
  3. Micro-Text: Surrounding the figure of Britannia is the inscription “Decus et Tutamen,” meaning “an ornament and a safeguard,” produced using specialist micro-lasers.
  4. Tincture Lines: These lines depict patterns and colors on the coin’s surface, further enhancing its security and aesthetic appeal.

In comparison, the Canadian Maple Leaf also utilizes sophisticated microprinting, but the Britannia’s combination of these advanced features makes it particularly secure and appealing for collectors.

2013– Gold Britannia Specifications:

From 2013, Gold Britannia coins have a millesimal fineness of .9999 (24 carat gold). Until 2012, the fineness was .917 (22 carat gold), with copper used until 1989 and silver from 1990.

  • Five ounces: Diameter 65 mm, approx. 156.295 g
  • One ounce (2013): Diameter 38.61 mm, approx. 31.104 g
  • One ounce (2014–): Diameter 32.69 mm, approx. 31.104 g
  • Half ounce: Diameter 27 mm, approx. 15.60 g
  • One quarter ounce: Diameter 22 mm, approx. 7.86 g
  • One tenth ounce: Diameter 16.50 mm, approx. 3.13 g
  • One twentieth ounce: Diameter 12 mm, approx. 1.58 g

1987–2012 Gold Britannia Specifications:

  • One ounce: Diameter 32.69 mm, gold content 31.104 g (total weight 34.050 g)
  • Half ounce: Diameter 27.00 mm, gold content 15.552 g
  • Quarter ounce: Diameter 22.00 mm, gold content 7.776 g
  • Tenth ounce: Diameter 16.50 mm, gold content 3.110 g
  1. Allowed Variations:
    • Weight: Up to 0.100 grams per coin.
    • Diameter: Up to 0.125 millimeters per coin.
  2. Weight Measurement:
    • The variation from the standard weight will be measured as the average of a sample not exceeding one kilogram of coins.
  3. Minimum Weight:
    • The minimum acceptable weight for the coin is 31.010 grams.

The British Royal Mint has issued Proof editions every year and these should be sought where possible. Generally, the Britannia is not a high mintage coin. The years with the lowest numbers minted are 1990 to 2000. Coins minted in the years 1990, 1991 and 1997 are particularly sought after as their proof mintage was 262, 143 and 164 respectively. There are several design variations of the reverse, notably the year 2003 which featured Britannia’s head only as opposed to the usual full figure.

Silver Britannia tends to be sold in bulk because of the much lower value of Silver. Beware that Silver prices are much more volatile than Gold.

From an investor point of view.

When it comes to security features, you can’t beat the Britannia or Maple coins. They may not be the most exotic in terms of design, and some countries offer more visually appealing coins, but security is my number one concern.

For long-term, large purchases, I recommend the Britannia; for smaller, more liquid assets, consider sovereigns. The British Mint has become highly competitive, lowering premiums, and now offers some of the cheapest whole ounces available. Both Britannia and Maple coins are excellent in terms of having a low premium over spot, but you can find even better deals with reputable UK dealers like Atkinson and Chards.

2022 vs. 2023 Gold Britannia Coins: Do the Queen’s Death affect the premium?

When deciding between the 2022 and 2023 Gold Britannia coins, both have their unique aspects that might appeal to collectors. The 2022 version marks the year of Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, while the 2023 version, although potentially limited in production with her effigy, represents the final issuance of her portrait on these coins.

The Queen’s effigy is present on numerous coins, which may reduce their perceived rarity. However, coins featuring King Charles III could gain value due to his likely shorter reign and current lower popularity. Owning both 2022 and 2023 coins could be beneficial, especially if paired with the first coins depicting King Charles III. This combination might enhance their overall value. The 2023 coins might be favored if included in a set with 2023 Charles coins. The Queen’s effigy is widespread, and future generations may not prioritize collecting her coins, especially as older collectors retire and decrease their bullion purchases. None of these coins are going to be rare or worth much more than spot 

Currently, Britannias have the lowest premium.

Living in the UK, you can purchase 1oz Gold Britannias at a 4% premium above spot. As of now, Britannias are at a 4.35% premium, with further reductions if you buy more than one.

A word of caution: don’t expect to recover the fractional premium when selling. I used to think that way for years. Recently, I sold 1/4 and 1/10 ounce Britannia and Maple coins to a major bullion dealer and was only offered spot value. Other dealers made similar offers. You may only get premiums back in private sales.

4 Sovereigns or a 1 oz Britannia coin.

When comparing 4 Sovereigns, weighing a total of 29.28g, to a 1 oz Britannia coin, there are several factors to consider. Sovereigns, typically cheaper by about £30 than a Britannia, often have lower premiums, particularly advantageous as fractionals. Both coin types are easy to sell and are CGT exempt, enhancing their appeal. While Britannias boast superior security features, their premiums on 1 oz coins are relatively modest. Sovereigns have historical value and fractional flexibility, making them more liquid, especially given their lower individual cost of 7.32g of gold. This can be advantageous when needing to sell smaller amounts of gold. However, premiums rise with fractionals, and the liquidity benefit may vary by region, as evidenced by difficulties in the American resale market. Understanding local dealer spreads is crucial, as the difference between buying and selling prices impacts overall profitability. Despite the durability of Sovereigns, both coin types are easy to sell. The Britannia’s full ounce of 999 or 9999 gold is appealing, particularly in markets with import taxes on lower purity gold. Ultimately, while some favor Sovereigns for their low premiums and divisibility, others may prefer Britannias for their security features and higher gold content, aligning with global bullion trends.

Both are effective for stacking, and the choice often boils down to personal preference and market conditions.

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