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    Modern Numismatics

    Louis Golino has been a collector of American and world coins since childhood and has written about coins since 2009. He writes about modern coins and other numismatic issues for Coin World. He is a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum.

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  • Royal Mint Issues 50 Pound Britannia Silver Coin

    In recent years several world mints have issued silver coins sold at their face value .  The trend began with the Royal Canadian Mint’s $20 for $20 silver coin program, which was expanded to include a wide range of higher-face value silver coins,  and France’s precious metal coins sold at their face value through post offices and the Paris Mint, which include silver and gold coins in various sizes and denominations all the way up to a 5,000 euro gold coin.

    In 2013 the Royal Mint entered this segment of the market with a 20 pound coin featuring the celebrated design by Benedetto Pistrucci of Saint George slaying the dragon that has graced British gold sovereigns for hundreds of years.  It was followed by another 20 pound coin and then two 100 pound coins – the first depicting Big Ben and the second Windsor Castle.  All were hits with buyers, but the Big Ben coin seemed to elicit more interest because of its strong design and sold out almost instantly.

    Now the Royal Mint has issued a new coin of this type, the first 50 pound silver coin struck in brilliant uncirculated finish.  The coin uses the modern rendition of Britannia that first appeared on the 2014 Britannia proof coins, a design which many collectors feel should have been at least nominated for a Krause Coin of the Year award.

    Designed by Royal Mint artist Jody Clark, who also created the fifth effigy of Queen Elizabeth II that debuted this year, the design was an immediate hit with collectors in 2014.  It is not often that a coin is issued that was designed by the same artist on both sides, as the 2015 50 pound coin is. 

    2015 is also the year when Britannia returned to circulating UK coinage, and the Queen became the UK’s longest-reigning monarch. 

    According to the Mint: “Britannia is a popular representation of Britain, reimagined through the centuries, always reflecting the United Kingdom at a moment in time.  She personifies our nation, our history and the values we uphold.  Today’s Britannia, depicted by Jody Clark, is strong and elegant, standing before the world with the British lion at her side.”

    This particular version of Britannia is so popular because of the way it takes the classic allegorical Britannia that has appeared since Roman times and updates her for the 21st century.  It is an especially compelling design that also brings out Britannia’s charm and beauty and her projection of strength in a new and unique way.  And the symbolism of a large globe also struck a chord with buyers whether they were British or from another country.

    In 2014 the 5-oz. silver proof version of this coin sold out quickly, and that coin has appreciated handsomely in the secondary market.  Those who could not afford that version bought either the 1-oz. proof or the 5-coin proof set.

    Now those who love the design have a chance to obtain it for just 50 pounds, which is $75 at the current exchange rate.  That is less than the price of any of the 2014 proof coins.    

    100,000 of these coins will be struck, and I expect them to sell briskly.  In fact, buyers have reported having difficulty ordering the coin online, as happened with the Big Ben coin.