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Silver British Coins
2021 1 oz Silver British Britannia Coins (BU)
$32.15As low as $31.85
2021 1 oz Silver British Music Legends David Bowie Coins (BU)
$39.05As low as $38.55
2021 2 oz Silver British Queens Beast White Greyhound Coins (BU)
$66.10As low as $65.10
British Silver Coins
The Royal Mint has been around for right around 1,100 years and can track its history through every major event in Britain from political upheavals to technological progress. Back in 880, the Royal Mint created coins of Alfred the Great — the first coins to be produced by the mint.
History of Silver Coins in Great Britain
The first silver crowns were minted in 1551 during the reign of King Edward VI. They weighed approximately one ounce and had a standard of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper, making them more durable than pure silver coins. When Scotland and England united in 1707, it became known as the British crown.
In 1920, the silver content of the crowns was reduced to only 50 percent, with some of the content being replaced with manganese, which caused the coins to tarnish. In 1947, silver was taken out of the coins completely and replaced with a cupronickel.
Silver Britannia Coins
In 1997, the silver bullion coin was introduced to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the gold Britannia coin released for the first time in 1987. Each coin was one ounce, though you can also purchase these coins in fractional sizes of one-tenth, one-quarter, and one-half. In 2013, the Royal Mint introduced two new sizes: five ounces and one-twentieth of an ounce. The purity of these coins from 1997 to 2012 was 95.8 percent pure, but since 2013, the Britannia coins are .999 (or 99.9 percent) pure.
Philip Nathan designed the first reverse of the silver Britannia coin in 1997 — the majestic figure of Britannia standing proud in her chariot while being pulled by two horses along the seashore. Raphael Maklouf, however, designed the obverse, which is a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. On the odd years since, a non-repeating depiction of Britannia has been used on the reverse of the coin, while on the even years, the standard standing Britannia figure has been used. However, as of 2013, there will be a proof version each year with different designs and a bullion version that continues to feature the classic standing figure of Britannia.
Symbolism of the Britannia
Britannia is the personification of the British islands and is a Roman goddess that has been a popular figure since the first century, which was the first time she was ever depicted as a goddess. Having her on the silver bullion coin is not a new thing. Back in the 18th century, she was on many coins including pennies issued from 1797 all the way up to the decimalization that took place in 1971. At that time, Britannia was moved to be on the 50p coin and continued to reside there until 2008.
She stands as a symbol of liberty, unity, and strength, and she was used especially after the kingdoms of Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland came together to form one country in the 17th century.
Silver Lunar Coins – Shengxiao Series
The Royal Mint of England responded to the growing demand for lunar-themed bullion coinage in 2014 with the debut of its own lunar collection. Known officially as the Shengxiao Series, the collection features a distinct design on silver and gold bullion coins matching the animal from the Zodiac with the date mark for a given year. The coins are designed by British-Chinese artist Wuon-Gean Ho and deliver extremely artistic depictions of the 12 animals to feature in the Chinese lunar calendar.
Shengxiao is the Mandarin Chinese word for the Chinese Zodiac and the coins in the Shengxiao Series each include 1 Troy oz of .999 fine silver content. The coins arrive inside of individual capsules or rolls of 20 coins. A face value of 2 Pound sterling has been issued to each coin and the specimens feature a shared obverse design with the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. There are, however, variations to the obverse design throughout the series:
- 2014-2015 coins have the fourth-generation British effigy of Her Majesty created in 1998 by Ian Rank-Broadley.
- All 2014-2016 coins have a standard background field on the obverse found on most bullion coins. The Royal Mint issued the coins with a clear, mirrored background field.
- Coins issued in the series from 2016 onward feature Jody Clark’s fifth-generation effigy of Queen Elizabeth II in a design that features the Queen at the age of 89.
- Starting in 2017, the background field on the obverse was changed twice. The 2017 coins had a hammered background field on the obverse. From 2018 onward, the background field has the Royal Mint’s new guilloche background element that gives the appearance of braided rope.
The Year of the Horse was the lead-off design in this series when it launched in 2014. The available designs to date in this collection include:
- 2014 Year of the Horse – a wild stallion runs along the beaches of the southern coast of England with its long tail blowing in the breeze.
- 2015 Year of the Sheep – this release was the first to feature multiple members of a species as two-horned sheep are depicted looking back over their shoulders at one another.
- 2016 Year of the Monkey – in this playful design two monkeys are depicted jumping from the branches of one tree to the next.
- 2017 Year of the Rooster – the fourth release in the series features a large rooster standing amidst flowers as it greets a new day with its morning call.
- 2018 Year of the Dog – this release introduced ornate, textured backgrounds to the series as a small terrier breed of dog is featured sprinting at full speed with all four limbs off the ground simultaneously. Terriers are a favored breed in England and a fitting choice for the Year of the Dog design.
- 2019 Year of the Pig – in one of the most complex designs to date, the Year of the Pig delivers a different textured background with a sow in the foreground lying on her side as five piglets gather around. In the distant background, you’ll notice a quaint cottage among the trees with smoke rising from the chimney as the moon rises overhead in the night sky.
Silver Queen’s Beast Coins
One of the hottest sellers for the Royal Mint in recent years is the Queen’s Beast Series. This 10-coin collection is inspired by the heraldic beasts passed down through the British Royal Arms from the first official symbols of King Richard I (Richard the Lionheart) in the late-12th century through to the modern day. The beasts in this series were not chosen at random though. Each one represents a beast that was depicted in carvings at the 1953 coronation ceremony for Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey.
The Queen’s Beast Series debuted in 2016 from the Royal Mint with a first-ever 2 oz silver bullion coin, and expanded in 2017 to feature a 10 oz silver bullion coin. Each one features .9999 pure silver content and bears the Jody Clark fifth-generation effigy of Her Majesty on the obverse. The reverse design fields in the series all depict a different heraldic beast from the history of the British Royal Arms and include:
- 2016 Lion of England – the debut release reaches back to King Richard I’s adoption of three lions on the first officially recognized Royal Arms of England. The lion stands behind a shield that is quartered with the Three Lions in two quadrants, the rampant Lion of Scotland in the upper right and the harp of Ireland in the lower left.
- 2017 Griffin of Edward III – the second release and first of 2017 features the Griffin. A mythical creature, it was a favorite of Edward III and was used on his personal seal. With the body of a lion and the head, wings, and front legs of an eagle, the Griffin is considered the most powerful creature in the world.
- 2017 Red Dragon – 2017’s second release features the Red Dragon of Wales. The Red Dragon was used in the arms of Llwelyn ap Griffith, the last native Prince of Wales and came to the Royal Arms through Henry VII whose grandfather, Owen Tudor, was Welsh and married to Henry V’s widow, Catherine of Valois.
- 2018 Unicorn – the Unicorn of Scotland was integrated into the British Royal Arms when James VI of Scotland physically united the crowns of England and Scotland under his rule when he became King James I of England in 1603.
- 2018 Black Bull – the first Yorkist beast in the series, the Black Bull came to the Royal Arms through King Edward IV, the first king from the House of York. Edward IV spent his entire reign battling the Lancastrian King Henry VI for control of the crown, eventually defeating Henry V and establishing a brief Yorkist rule of the kingdom.
- 2019 Falcon of the Plantagenets – the House of Plantagenet enjoyed the longest rule over the English throne in history. Edward III was one of its most prominent members and enjoyed the second-longest rule in Medieval English history at 50 years. The White Falcon was his personal seal and appeared on his royal arms.
- 2019 Yale of Beaufort – the seventh design in the collection features the mythical Yale, a beast often depicted with the body of a goat or antelope, the tusks of a boar on its snout, and long, winding horns on its head. The Yale of Beaufort comes from King Henry VII whose mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, was an influential figure during the Wars of the Roses and had Henry with Edmund Tudor, son of Owen Tudor.
Silver Proof Queen’s Beast Coins
While the broader Queen’s Beast Series launched in 2016, the Royal Mint of England released the first proof versions of each design starting in 2017. The release schedule for the proof coins follows the same schedule as the bullion coins with different date marks reflecting the later introduction. While the silver bullion coins are only available in 2 oz and 10 oz silver, the Proof Silver Queen’s Beast coins are available in 1 oz, 5 oz, 10 oz, and 1 kilogram weights. The proof coins are individually packaged with the following options by weight:
- 1 oz coins – standard Royal Mint display box
- 5 oz coins – standard Royal Mint display box
- 10 oz coins – standard Royal Mint display box
- 1 kilo coins – wooden display box
Silver British Landmarks Series
The four-coin Silver British Landmarks Series from the Royal Mint of England was issued from 2017 to 2019. It included a singular release in 2017 and 2019, with two coins issued in 2018. Some of the most iconic architecture and national landmarks from across Britain are featured on the reverse side of the coins in this series.
Silver British Landmarks Series coins have 1 Troy oz of .999 fine silver with a face value of 2 Pound sterling backed by the British government. The coins in the series are available inside of individual protective plastic capsules and have a limited mintage of 50,000 coins per design.
The obverse of all the coins features the fifth-generation portrait of Queen Elizabeth II from Jody Clark. This right-profile portrait debuted on British coins in 2016 and the 2017 release in this series has a stippled, or hammered, background behind the Queen’s effigy. The 2018 coins and 2019 final release all have the newer guilloche background design element on the obverse.
For the reverse side of each of the four releases, some of the most iconic structures from Great Britain are depicted in brilliant reliefs. The four designs are available in the following order:
- 2017 Big Ben – the debut release features the clock known as Big Ben. The tower itself is officially known as Elizabeth Tower, but colloquially referred to as Big Ben. The largest bell in the tower rings on the hour mark and the name Big Ben comes from Sir Benjamin Hall, the man who oversaw the installation of the bells during the tower’s construction in 1859.
- 2018 Tower Bridge – everyone has heard of London Bridge, but Tower Bridge is another of London’s five major bridges connecting the city across the Thames River. The Tower Bridge is 1/2 mile downstream from London Bridge and allows access to the Pool of London port facilities.
- 2018 Trafalgar Square – a common gathering place in London, Trafalgar Square was opened in 1844 in honor of Admiral Horatio Nelson and the Royal Navy’s victory against Spanish Naval forces at the Battle of Trafalgar. Featuring prominently in the square and on this coin’s design, Nelson’s effigy is atop a column in the center and guarded by four bronze lions.
- 2019 Buckingham Palace – for the final release, the official City of London residence for the monarch is featured. Buckingham Palace was originally constructed as The Queen’s House in 1761 for the wife of King George III and was a private residence. During the 19th century, it was enlarged with three new wings added and by 1837 it had earned the status as the official London residence of the monarch when Queen Victoria moved in.
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