Landmarks of Britain bullion series debuts
The first coin released in the new format is again the one for Big Ben, “the Elizabeth Tower that dominates the skyline at the northern end of the Houses of Parliament,” according to the mint. It is shown from the street level against an overcast sky, which is typical of London.
In addition, the Big Ben and Buckingham Palace designs also appeared on 2-ounce silver coins in 2014 and 2015 that were denominated at £100 and sold at their face value. The Big Ben coin sold out quickly and acquired a nice premium.
But later buyers discovered that they could not redeem the coins for face value at UK banks, and the mint moved away from issuing high-face-value pieces, although it did also issue a £50 coin in 2015 with the design of the 2014 Proof Britannia that is very popular with collectors.
The new series, which is being sold in the U.S. exclusively by APMEX (www.apmex.com) and is also available around the world from other sellers, is being marketed as a regular bullion coin sold at a premium over its melt value. APMEX offers it for about $24, which represents a 40% premium over silver value.
The coins have a limited mintage of 50,000 pieces and come encapsulated but without a box or certificate.
The Big Ben design was popular when the 2-ounce version was released, and these coins are the first of the 1-ounce series, which should bode well. Also, only four coins are required to complete it, which also helps.
However, I do not expect anything like the situation we saw with the Australian Silver Swan that I discussed recently, given a mintage twice as high as that of the Swan’s and the fact that the Big Ben design is not new.
The landmarks depicted in the Royal Mint series are well known outside of Britain, but it remains to be seen whether collectors will want to acquire multiples, or just build a set.