2014 1/4 oz Silver SS Gairsoppa British Britannia Coins (BU)
$14.02 As low as $13.82
2013 1/4 oz Silver SS Gairsoppa British Britannia Coins (BU)
$18.52 As low as $18.32
2015 1 oz Silver British Britannia Coins (BU)
$22.77 As low as $22.47
2016 1 oz Silver British Year of the Monkey Coins (BU)
$24.07 As low as $23.77
2014 Horse Privy Silver Britannia Coins (BU)
$26.27 As low as $25.27
2015 1 oz Silver British Britannia Coins NGC MS69 ER
$37.28 As low as $36.28
2015 1 oz Silver British Year of the Sheep Coins NGC MS69
$45.28 As low as $44.28
2014 1 oz Silver Horse Privy Britannia Coins NGC MS69 PL
$49.28 As low as $48.28
2016 1 oz Silver British Britannia Coins (Gilded, BU)
$52.77 As low as $50.77
2016 1/10 oz Gold Australian Kangaroo Coins (BU)
$149.54 As low as $148.22
The Royal British Mint
The Royal British Mint is an institution not just in the United Kingdom, where it is the sole manufacturer of coins, but also to numismatists, general collectors, and investors in precious metals around the world. Now located in Llantrisant, which is in Wales, the mint is more than 1,100 years old, which lends a lot of heft to its reputation. The HM Treasury owns the Royal Mint, and has since 2010.
The mint is responsible for all the circulated coins in the United Kingdom, but it also creates medals for special events, schools, the government, the military, and similar institutions. It also mints commemorative coins and bars, and it exports pieces to other countries. In fact, it’s considered one of the leading and best export mints in the world.
The History of the Royal British Mint
The Royal British Mint’s existence dates back to 886, when it was still known simply as the London Mint. It fell under Alfred the Great’s power, but it wasn’t the only mint. It did take over complete production of circulated coins and commemorative coins over time, however. After moving to the Tower of London in 1279, it began its monopoly, which took place in earnest during the 1500s.
Ultimately, the mint moved from London and its Tower to the town of East Smithfield, where it finally merited a building all its own. There wasn’t enough room in the Tower of London to house its growth or its expanding machinery needs. A French war also played a part in the decision to move it to a safer location. The original building, created by James Johnson and Robert Smirke, went up in 1809. Later that century, the structure was once again expanded to accommodate the growing mint. Similar rebuilding and additions continued sporadically until the 1960s.
The mint became a trading fund in 1975, and in 2009, the HM Treasury bought it and turned it into a limited company in 2010. It is the sole provider of coinage in the UK, with a contract that gives it exclusivity. Today the Llantrisant mint houses a collection of royally minted coins that date back to the 16th century. Interestingly, the mint keeps the coins in 80 cabinets designed and built by Hugh Swann, who was the cabinet-maker for Elizabeth II.
Trial of The Pyx
One of the most interesting facts about the Royal British Mint has to do with its Trial of the Pyx, an ancient trial that helps the mint make sure that the pieces produced are of the highest quality. The trial dates back to the 12th century and usually occurs once a year. Since 1282, the procedure hasn’t changed much. The trials are actually judicial, with a judge and jury filled with assayers who are knowledgeable about the mint’s quality control standards. Today the trials take place at the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths’ official hall.
The procedure involves taking random coins from production batches throughout the year. The number chosen is generally proportional to the number of coins minted in a particular year. The only exception involves Maundy money, which is silver. For that, a strict 150 pieces get picked for testing.
During the trial, the judge and jury test the pieces for weight, purity, and similar quality standards. Although today’s production techniques make nonconformity unlikely, the Trial of the Pyx is a richly ceremonial tradition.
Coins and Bullion Offered Today
Above all else, the Royal British Mint makes coins, blanks, and special medals for the United Kingdom. Its first priority is to produce coins for circulation, which are largely bimetallic and made from base metals. However, the mint also makes medals and coins for other countries which lack mints of their own.
In addition to both traditional and commemorative coins, the mint produces gold and silver bullion coins. These pieces fall under the Trial of the Pyx, as well, which assures their quality. One of their most popular bullion offerings are the Brittania coins which are produced yearly in both gold and silver. The Gold Britannia Coins are minted with 99.99% pure gold while the Silver Britannia Coins are 99.9% silver.
Both the gold and silver Britannia coins feature the same design. On the coin’s obverse is the image of Britannia; a personification of the British Isles. She is standing at the edge of the ocean, wielding a trident in her right hand with a shield and olive branch in the other. The coin’s weight, purity and minting year are all located above her.
At the center of the coin’s reverse is an image of Queen Elizabeth II in profile. Each coin is marked with its minting year, legal tender value and inscriptions for the Queen. This information reads: “ELIZABETH DG REG FID DEF” which is Latin for “Elizabeth II, by the grace of god, queen, defender of faith.”
Over the course of history, the mint has established a truly solid reputation for itself, owing to its age. Investors and collectors know that its pieces are fully guaranteed and of the highest quality. Again, the Trial of the Pyx lends credence to the mint’s reputation. It goes to such great lengths to ensure pure, quality products that people trust the finished coins and bars implicitly.
The prices of gold and silver coins depend on the market at any given time. For investors, prices can range between a few dollars over spot for silver coins up to $50+ over spot for gold coins. Silver.com offers a broad selection of products from the Royal British Mint that can enhance your portfolio with beauty and value. Check out or extensive selection of Royal British Mint products today.