Gold Britannia Coin Information and Technical Specification

Written by Ian Davis – Bullion Manager • Last updated 4 Jan 2019

If your looking to buy gold britannia coins please check our dedicated page by clicking here. You can also follow this link to our Britannia gold bullion coin section.

Going For Gold

In 1987, Britannia finally received the accolade of being promoted to a gold coin for the first time ever, at least since Roman times. Britain decided to compete with the successful South African krugerrand bullion coin which had been minted by the million since introduced in 1967. The gold Britannia was born. In one ounce, half ounce, quarter ounce, and tenth ounce sizes, the new Britannia bullion coins had a face value of £100, £50, £25, and £10 each respectively. The weights quoted are the actual amount of fine or pure gold contained. Because of VAT on gold coins in the UK, sales of gold Britannias never took off in the way that krugerrands had, but now that most gold coins are exempt from VAT, as from January 1st, 2000, we hope that they will become more popular. They are a far more attractive design than the krugerrand.

The gold Britannia features a standing figure of Britannia, similar to that used on the Edward VII florins. The new "Standing Britannia" used on the gold Britannia coins was designed by sculptor Philip Nathan.

One Ounce of Gold

Many countries now issue a one ounce bullion coin, to be sold at a very low premium over the intrinsic gold value. The British version is the Britannia. Britannias were introduced in 1987, in four weights from one ounce to fractional sizes of half ounce, quarter ounce, and tenth ounce.
Britannias must rank amongst the world's most beautiful bullion coins. Both proof and bullion versions have been issued every year from 1987, although most of the proof coins are only available as part of complete sets.

Britannia - A New Design With A 2000 Year Old Tradition

Britannia first appeared as a reverse type on Roman coins almost 2000 years ago. She reappeared on copper halfpennies and farthings of Charles II from 1672, and continued to appear on bronze coins until decimalisation, when she jumped ship onto the new fifty pence coins.
Britannia is usually portrayed seated, but in 1901 to 1935 she appeared standing on British Trade Dollars, and from 1902 to 1910, also on the florins of Edward VII. The new "Standing Britannia" used on the gold britannia coins was designed by sculptor Philip Nathan.

VAT Free From January 2000

In Britain investment gold coins became VAT free.

Technical Specifications

The following table summarises the specifications of all the sizes.

Size Face Value Diameter Weight Alloy Gold Content Gold Content
    mms Grams /1.000 Grams Troy Ounces
One Ounce (1987 - 2012) £100 32.69 34.0500 .917 31.104 1.0000
One Ounce (2013) £100 38.61 31.2100 .9999 31.104 1.0000
One Ounce (2014 - to present) £100 32.69 31.2100 .9999 31.104 1.0000
Half £50 27.00 17.0250 .917 15.552 0.5000
Quarter £25 22.00 8.5130 .917 7.776 0.2500
Tenth £10 16.50 3.4120 .917 3.110 0.1000

The 1/12th of the alloy which is not gold, is copper for issues until 1989, and silver from 1990.

Diameter = Diameter in millimetres.

Britannia Proof Issues

In every year, The Royal Mint have produced proof versions of the Britannia. These are usually available only in sets of all four sizes, and in pairs of the two smallest sizes. We occasionally have one or more sets available, please take a look at our Britannia Proof Sets page.

Gold and Silver

In 1997, for the tenth anniversary of the gold bullion Britannias, a new design was rolled out. This shows Britannia standing driving a chariot drawn by two horses, in the manner of Boudicca, or Boudicea as she is better known. 

1997britanniagoldproofrev500-B-1

1997 Gold 1 Ounce Britannia Reverse

In addition, a new set of Britannia Silver Bullion Coins were introduced, weighing, containing similarly to their gold counterparts, one ounce, half ounce, quarter ounce, and tenth ounce of fine silver. For obvious reasons, silver Britannias are struck in Britannia silver (958 parts per thousand) instead of the more usual Sterling silver (925 parts per thousand).

With the four gold versions, and the four silver bullion coins each of which must be counted as a separate denomination, Britannia had now appeared on a total of eighteen different British coin denominations.

As at February 2001, we believe that the Britannia gold and silver coins for this year may feature new designs, but we will probably not hear more than this until August or later.

Britannia & The Lion

In 2001, another design of Britannia is that on the 2001 gold and silver Britannias. This shows Britannia standing beside a lion, in a portrayal reminiscent of the Una & the Lion £5 gold coins of 1839.

2001britannia100poundsoneouncegoldproofrev500-B-1

2001 Gold 1 Ounce Britannia Reverse

According to the Royal Mint:-

"This year's Britannia Gold and Silver Proof and Silver Bullion coins bear an exciting new reverse design, the third image of Britannia by Philip Nathan. The 2001 design combines Britannia with the British Lion and, to make Britannia even more British, depicting her dress and helmet as North European in style rather than South European. The vertical form of the figure of Britannia is matched by the lettering, giving the name Britannia, the weight of the coin and the date 2001. The design is anchored by the lion as the two figures move purposefully forward with a sense of unity and inseparability. The obverse bears the Ian Rank-Broadley portrait of Her Majesty the Queen with the legal tender value of each coin below the portrait."

Seated Britannia

In 2005, a new seated Britannia design arrived, although this new design recalls some of the earlist Britannias from Roman coins, and also most of those from the reign of Charles II onwards.

2005britannia4coinset1ozgoldproofrev500-B-2

2005 Gold 1 Ounce Britannia Reverse

The Britannia Family

Gold Britannias are available in four different sizes and weights, from one ounce to one tenth of an ounce, as detailed below.

1998elizabethiitenthoz10poundsbritanniagoldproofrev500-B-1

1998 Tenth Ounce Gold Britannia

2017elizabethiiquarteroz25poundsbritanniagoldproofrev500-B-1

2017 Quarter Ounce Gold Britannia

1988britannia50poundshalfouncegoldrev400

1988 Half Ounce Gold Britannia

2015britannia1ozgoldbullionrev500-B-1

2015 1 Ounce Gold Britannia

Britannia - A New Design With A 2000 Year Old Tradition

Britannia first appeared as a reverse type on Roman coins almost 2000 years ago.

She reappeared on copper halfpennies and farthings of Charles II from 1672, and continued to appear on bronze coins until decimalisation, when she jumped ship onto the new fifty pence coins.

1969fiftypencebritanniarev400

Britannia is usually portrayed seated, but in 1901 to 1935 she appeared standing on British Trade Dollars, and from 1902 to 1910, also on the florins of Edward VII.

The new "Standing Britannia" used on the gold britannia coins was designed by sculptor Philip Nathan.

British Trade Dollars

Britannia also made an appearance between 1901 to 1935 when she appeared standing on British Trade Dollars, these were never circulated in Britain , but were made for use in the area of the Straits Settlements, Singapore, and Malaya.

Low Premium Over Gold Content

As with most one ounce gold bullion coins, they are made available to world bullion dealers at a 3% premium over the current gold fix, so that after distribution costs, the coins would be available to investors in quantity at about 4% to 5% over intrinsic gold values, and possibly 10% premium for single pieces.

Higher Premium on Smaller Sizes

The fractional sizes were issued at higher premiums to bullion dealers of 5%, 7%, and 9% respectively. The fractional coins have never been as popular as the full one ounce coins, usually only being purchased as singles, so that in practice, it would usually cost 10% to 15% premium for the half and quarter ounce, and from 20% to 50% premium for the tenth ounce, most of which seem to have been used in jewellery. Most bullion houses do not want the bother of handling small quantities of low value coins.

VAT Free From January 2000

In Britain investment gold coins became VAT free.

Continuous Service from Chard

Chard have maintained a dealing service for both collectors and investors in bullion and numismatic coins since 1964.

 

Full Alphabetical Index of Products

You can find all of our gold Britannias by clicking here and browsing the online catalogue. Alternatively our entire backdated gold and silver range can be found on this link. We provide a full breakdown in the table below with appropriate hyperlinks.

Alphabetical
Bullion Britannias
Buy - Sell Britannia Proof Sets
Dates - Half Ounce
Dates - One Ounce
Dates - Quarter Ounce
Dates - Tenth ounce
Designs on Britannias
Half Sovereign and Tenth Britannia Sets
Proof Britannia Sets
Proof Tenth Ounce Coins - £10
Proof Quarter Ounce Coins - £25
Proof Half Ounce Coins - £50
Proof One Ounce Coins - £100
Proof 2 Coin Sets
Specifications
Type Sets
Weight or Size Sets

Dated Index

Please click on the prices to be taken to the correct product

Date 1 oz Bullion Proof Set Proof 1 oz
1987 £1,248.16 £2,415.01 (4 Coin) £1,316.86
1988 £1,248.16 £2,383.23 (4 Coin) £1,200.00
1989 £1,248.16 £2,415.06 (4 Coin)  
1990 £1,248.16 £2,584.53 (4 Coin)  
1991 £1,248.16    
1992 £1,248.16 £2,648.09 (4 Coin) Issued as part of set
1993 £1,248.16 £2,657.34 (4 Coin) Issued as part of set
1994 £1,248.16 £2,753.96 (4 Coin) Issued as part of set
1995 £1,248.16 £2,499.80 (4 Coin) Issued as part of set
1996 £1,248.16 £2,436.24 (4 Coin) Issued as part of set
1997 £1,248.16 £2,648.04 (4 Coin)  
1998 Not Issued £2,542.12 (4 Coin) Issued as part of set
1999   £2,436.19 (4 Coin) Issued as part of set
2000 £1,248.16 £2,542.17 (4 Coin) Issued as part of set
2001 £1,248.16 £2,499.80 (4 Coin) Issued as part of set
2002 £1,248.16 £2,436.19 (4 Coin) Issued as part of set
2003 From £1,207.51 £2,436.24 (4 Coin) Issued as part of set
2004 £1,248.16 £2,383.28 (4 Coin) Issued as part of set
2005 Not Issued £2,383.28 (4 Coin) Issued as part of set
2006 Not Issued £2,648.04 (4 Coin) Issued as part of set
2007 £1,248.16 £2,584.53 (4 Coin) Issued as part of set
2008 £1,248.16 £2,859.93 (4 Coin) Issued as part of set
2009 £1,248.16 £2,859.93 (4 Coin)  
2010 From £1,225.26 £2,965.85 (4 Coin)  
2011 £1,248.16 £2,965.85 (4 Coin)  
2012 From £1,225.26    
2013 £1,248.16 £2,750.00 (5 Coin)  
2014 £1,248.16    
2015 £1,248.16    
2016 £1,248.16    
2017 £1,248.16 £3,300.00 (6 Coin)  
2018 £1,236.71    
Date Proof 0.25 oz Proof 0.1 oz
1987 £372.15 £171.77
1988   £171.77
1989   £171.77
1990   £171.77
1991   £171.77
1992   £171.77
1993   £171.77
1994    
1995   £171.77
1996   £171.77
1997   £171.77
1998   £171.77
1999    
2000    
2001 £372.15 £171.77
2002 £372.15 £171.77
2003   £171.77
2004 £372.15 £171.77
2005   £171.77
2006   £171.77
2007   £171.77
2008 £372.15 £171.77
2009 £372.15 £171.77
2010 £372.15 £171.77
2011   £171.77
2012    
2013    
2014    
2015    
2016    
2017 £450.00  
2018