A subtle addition to the Britannia silver coin is a big deal to the
Royal Mint officials announced the continued expansion of its
Britannia bullion program with the release of a Britannia 1-ounce .999
fine silver bullion £2 coin sporting a privy mark. The privy mark,
which distinguishes the coin from the standard 2013 Britannia silver
bullion coin, is on the coin’s edge.
A privy mark is a usually small device used on coinage. Today,
privy marks are generally used for marketing and promotional purposes,
and are often commemorative in nature. The added adornment brands the
coin as special, and can be a logo, words or a combination of the two.
On the new Britannia, the privy mark celebrates the Chinese
lunar-solar Year of the Snake.
Privy marks generally appear as a design element or in the field
of a coin.
While world mints like the Royal Canadian Mint and the Perth Mint
have issued privy marks for more than 15 years, this is the first for
the Royal Mint. Britain’s use of a privy mark follows the adoption of
.9999 fine gold and .999 fine silver for Britannia bullion coins
beginning in 2013. Royal Mint officials seek to capture a larger share
of the bullion market, which generally favors pure metal coins over
those of lesser fineness. (Britannia bullion coins previously were
composed of .9167 fine gold and .925 fine silver.)
The privy mark takes the form of curled figures of a snake
appearing at intervals around the edge of the coin.
Philip Nathan’s Britannia figure appears on the reverse, with the
Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse.
The privy marked Britannia silver coins were produced for precious
metals dealer A-Mark in the United States, which offers the coins
exclusively on a wholesale basis. A representative of A-Mark referred
customers asking about the Snake privy mark coin to retailer Merit Financial.
Royal Mint officials confirmed the mintage for the silver privy
marked Britannia is “in excess of 500,000 with no limit,” while noting
no plans for a privy-marked gold version.
At press time, Merit Financial offered the coin only in rolls of
20, for about $700, or about a 46 percent premium above the precious
For more information, or to order the coin, visit Merit
Financial’s website, www.meritgold.com, or telephone
the firm at 800-515-5019. ■