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2013 Silver Britannia Coins are the Lowest Quality

The Royal Mint

The Royal Mint must have the highest production costs out of many of the World Mints – apparently it costs them considerably more to produce their coins than it does the Austrian Mint, U.S. Mints, Royal Canadian Mint, the Perth Mint in Western Australia who we believe all produce coins not only cheaper but also to a much higher quality.  We do not know why this is.  Perhaps it is so they can pay their new Executive team the extortionate wages they believe they deserve?

Low Quality

For years we have warned our customers of the substandard quality and inflated price of many of the Mint’s coins.  If customers do not need to avoid Capital Gains Tax then we have often recommended buying at the lowest possible premium over the spot price.  This often means buying one ounce gold or silver coins of our choice which are usually Austrian Philharmonics for the silver and Australian Kangaroos / Nuggets for the gold.  This not only means that the customer gets the best value but also means that they get coins minted to a higher quality and – in the case of the Australian coins – in a capsule.


We are aware that many of our customers are not only investors but also collectors and regardless of that we assume that the majority like to receive coins in the best possible condition.  We try and warn our customers – either prior to purchase or prior to despatch – of any scuffs, marks, dents, scratches or any other imperfections on either the coin or the packaging but we must admit to not always being as careful with brand new products.

2013 Silver Britannias

We received our first delivery of the 2013 silver Britannias in December 2012.  Whilst technically a bullion coin – bought primarily for their precious metal content – we also advertise them as uncirculated coins as they have not been in circulation.  We define uncirculated on our coin terminology page as:

Literally, this means that a particular coin has not been in circulation, but normally it describes the grade of a coin, a coin which is in mint condition. Please note this does not mean perfect, as most coins have scuffs and minor scratches, knocks and imperfections through the mass production methods used to produce them.

As you will see we make allowances here for the mass production methods used to produce modern coins.  However, even these allowances can not be expected to cover the extremely low quality of this year’s silver Britannia.  The reverse (with the Standing Britannia) is not too bad, there are just a few scratches on the highest parts.  However, the obverse does not do Her Majesty The Queen any favours – her cheek, chin and neck are very badly scuffed and scratched – and the field also has some markings.

2013britanniatwopoundsoneouncescuffedcloseupbusilverobv400 2013britanniatwopoundsoneouncescuffedcloseupbusilverrev400
2013 Silver Britannia Obverse – Close Up 2013 Silver Britannia Reverse – Close Up
Please accept our apologies for the coins looking black on these photographs.  We can assure you the coins are silver but as you will know if you have ever tried to photograph something bright and shiny – it can be difficult.  Please view our product page for images taken using our usual photography methods.

The Royal Mint’s Excuse

We have heard that The Royal Mint do not yet plan to do anything about their substandard manufacturing methods.  Apparently it is the way the coins are removed from the machine after striking and that is that!  Presumably the coins have always been struck in the same way and it is the change of alloy – from Britannia silver (.958) to fine silver (.999) – that has affected the end result.

2013 Silver Britannias For Sale

We are still offering the 2013 silver Britannia for sale, not only to meet demand, but also because we have placed our usual order – and taken delivery – and we would not want to renege on the deal.  However, you have been warned!

These coins are still in the protective sheeting as issued by The Royal Mint and I can assure you that we have not been rolling them around our stock room or playing shove ha’penny with them.  In fact, they will be the same as if you purchase them from anywhere else.  We have had a conversation with one customer who had bought them from Europe and experienced the same problem.  In fact if your dealer has not warned you then you can assume that either they haven’t checked the coins or they are trying to feign innocence.

Exceptions to Our Terms and Conditions

Our standard terms and conditions – in line with the Distance Selling Act – state that:

13.  – (1) Unless the parties have agreed otherwise, the consumer will not have the right to cancel the contract by giving notice of cancellation pursuant to regulation 10 in respect of contracts –

      (b) for the supply of goods or services the price of which is dependent on fluctuations in the financial market which cannot be controlled by the supplier;

However, for customers who have purchased 2013 silver Britannias from us prior to our warnings of the condition of the coins (8th January, 2013) we are willing to make an exception.

If you have purchased 2013 silver Britannias and would like to exchange them for an alternative product or would like a full refund then please do not hesitate to get in touch on 01253 343081 and we will be happy to discuss this with you.

We can only apologise on behalf of The Royal Mint for their substandard quality.

It’s Not Just Us…

A quick search online highlights that many other dealers, collectors and investors have also spotted the inferior quality of these coins.  We wonder how much more it will take before The Royal Mint take action?

High Quality Silver Coins

22 thoughts on “2013 Silver Britannia Coins are the Lowest Quality

  1. It’s actually a tragedy that one of the worlds finest and collectable coin has turned into a highpriced, lowgrade bullioncoin, actually the worst there is.

    If you want to know how to destroy a collectable coinserie, this is it.

  2. Even us silver collectors in Sweden have heard about this new, inferior quality of the Britannias, which really is a shame. It’s a beautiful coin series (or at least used to be) worth collecting. Our forum members are not pleased to hear these news.

  3. Lawrence and Caroline – One of the coin collecting blogs I follow had provided the link to your latest post, and I am so glad they did. Your observations are brutally honest, but absolutely correct on every count. I’ve collected several examples of each UNC Britannia Coin since the dawn of the UNC Coins in 1998. These 2013 coins have the very worst manufacturing quality and visual appeal ever encountered within this series. And, since the RM chose to roll out this revised product with their series standard portrait of Britannia, it certainly should have been the easiest to get absolutely right.

    Thanks for speaking on our behalf. Britannia Collector From Across the Pond!!

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  5. Can only respond the same as previous posts, very disappointed with this coin. Looked up the RM shop today and they don’t list the 2013 Britannia for sale, only requests for bulk orders but there Term/Conditions still state they issue only the top quality world class products ……..

  6. I have just bought a 2013 brtannia. It has scuff marks on the field. If I compare it with an earlier year, it is smaller, 38mm whereas the earlier one is 40mm. Is this what you would expect? Thanks

    • Thank you for the comment. Yes, the 2013 Britannia is .999 silver compared to the previous years that were .958 silver. The older years had other alloys contained in the coin and therefore meant the coin is larger that the new Britannia. You can see all the specifications of the older Britannia and the new Britannia here:

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  8. A very good and factual article. I have no idea why these coins are popular. Look at the Kookaburras if you really need an interesting coin.

    I think that people do not ralise how large the CGT is or else I cant understand why people buy these coins.

    Yes, i know they are British but god look at the price. They are the most expensive coins going. Any you wont get that premium back come resale!

  9. Who buys this shrapnel?

    Unlimited mintage, high premiums, and a mint that doesn’t give a toss.
    These coins are an insult to all the time and energy used in making them, starting with the silver miners!

    The RM should outsource ALL production to Perth or China and be closed down.

    • It’s such a shame isn’t it?

      For some strange reason they are still one of the most popular silver coins at the moment – despite every other World Mint’s coins being such better quality.

  10. I only found out about the widespread scratch problems of the 2013 only AFTER I had placed an order for one. Luckily, I only ordered 1, and it was more expensive than the American Eagle, Australian Perth Mint, and Canadian Mint by 4 dollars.

    The Canadian and Australian coins are shiny and beautiful and near flawless. The American coins don’t have the mirror shine, but are beautiful as well. Sadly, the most expensive one of them all seems to be the lowest quality I’ve come to find out. How disappointing.

    • We know. We would always recommend buying at the lowest possible premium, which is currently the Austrian Philharmonic but for some reason many people still purchase the Britannia.

      All we can do is keep trying to educate people and make them aware of our thoughts and feelings. We have passed our comments – and those of our customers – on to the Mint and they have said that they are reviewing this and that they will address many of the concerns we have shared with them.

      Fingers crossed.

  11. I stopped collecting silver bullion coins years ago, I still collect real numismatic coins, but less and less as the scratches and quality do drive you nuts. I now only buy bullion poured bars of silver, they come pre-scratched and they look like big old uglies, but my expectations are low, as are the margins.

    On a side note, I have recently purchased two 2013 Bullion sovereigns, and they are marked considerably. I put it down to the new Royal mint packaging, with the ever popular “tube” as opposed to the individual capsules of previous years.

    I was not happy at all with the 2013 sovereigns, but they are deemed as bullion coins, as so is it a real issue?

  12. I have several orders of Britannia coins before but only the recent order I have noticed scratches. I guess I have to start collecting Austrian coins instead.

  13. I’m sorry to say, these scratches are due to the production line. Somewhere after stamping, and before packaging, there is a problem. Something on that line is coming into direct contact with the blank. A caring supervisor would find that problem within minutes. When the problem is found, the man in charge, should be let go. For God’s sake, we are talking about The Royal Mint!

    • Hi Sophie, we thought you would be interested in this from Lawrence Chard, our numismatist and Director.
      Alloy Analysis
      In response to a question from one of our customers about the 1 part per thousand of impurity or admetal:
      I used our new Niton tester Niton tester on this coin, and got interesting results:
      Silver 1000 (+-6)

      Silver 1000 (+-8)

      All shown as parts per thousand. The figures in brackets are tolerances.

      As no other metals appear to have detected, it should be safe to assume that they constitute less than half of one part per thousand (< 0005 or 0.05%). From all this, I would deduce that the blanks are not alloyed with any other metal, but use “pure” silver, so any impurities would be the result of “imperfect” refining rather by addition.

  14. When you receive your coins straight from the Royal Mint, do you still check each one of them before sale or do you assume that they are all kosher?

    • We always check coins as they come in. They also go through a checking system as they leave our showroom which involves being checked thoroughly. I hope this reassures you.

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