The Britannia bullion program is growing again, by getting small.
The Royal Mint announced Oct. 30 that it was adding three fractional
sizes to its gold Britannia bullion program — half-, quarter- and
Though already offered in Proof versions, those sizes have not been
part of the bullion program, until now.
The move is the latest effort to wrest market position from the
leading mints and bullion programs, including notably the American
Eagle, the Canadian Maple Leaf and the Austrian Philharmonic, plus the
Perth Mint’s gold Kangaroo program and silver Kookaburra coins.
The expansion of the Britannia program follows the Royal Mint’s
Sept. 22 announcement of a new bullion
trading website, which unlike other mints allows customers of
the Royal Mint to buy gold bullion coins directly.
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The new coin additions “will offer a choice of increments to
customers looking for versatility and a more easily divisible
portfolio,” according to the Royal Mint’s Oct. 30 announcement.
The new trading platform may be accessed 24 hours a day, 365 days a
year in order to buy and sell bullion coins directly from the Royal
Mint. With minimum order sizes, the Royal Mint will also store the
coins in “The Vault,” at its site in Wales, in an effort to court
buyers who are concerned about safety issues.
The trading website provides constantly updated live prices for gold
and silver at a rate linked to the current precious metal price.
As part of its Vault storage service, the Royal Mint guarantees to
offer purchase or “buy” quotations from customers wanting to sell
their coins, with the money being deposited in their account for
withdrawal or further purchase.
Collector Basics: What is a bullion coin?
The Britannia .9999 fine gold bullion coins feature the Ian
Rank-Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse. The reverse
shows the standard Philip Nathan design of a standing, windswept
Britannia holding a trident in her right hand and an olive branch in
her left hand.
The tenth-ounce £10 coin weighs 3.13 grams and measures 16.5
millimeters in diameter. The quarter-ounce £25 coin weighs 7.8 grams
and measures 22 millimeters in diameter. The half-ounce £50 coin
weighs 15.6 grams and measures 27 millimeters in diameter.
It is only since 2013 that Britannia coins have been struck from
.999 fine silver or .9999 fine gold, another move meant to widen
interest in the program. In 2013, the Royal Mint launched silver and
gold Lunar Year coins, also in .999 fine silver and .9999 fine gold.
According to the Royal Mint, sales of gold bullion coins has
increased in the United Kingdom after the coins were designated as
exempt from Value Added Tax. The Britannia, Sovereign and Lunar
bullion coins are also free from capital gains tax, according to the
Britannia .9167 fine gold bullion coins were launched in 1987 in
1-ounce sizes, followed by the launch of Britannia 1-ounce .958 fine
silver coins in 1997. Proof versions of both silver and gold series
have been offered at various times, including fractional sizes.
The Britannia design has also changed numerous times to try to
sustain interest, but the irregularity of the design changes may have
confused some buyers and collectors.
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