British Silver Britannia

Overview of the Series

Great Britain was a little late in getting into the modern bullion game, not releasing their first silver Britannia until 1998. It has been issued regularly since then in at least BU quality (though it's not BU as one would think of an American Silver Eagle, it's shinier, but not reflective like a proof). The coins are fairly large - larger than most 1-oz silver bullion coins - because they are Britannia silver in composition - 95.84%, which became a standard in England in 1697. Thus, since they contain a full 1 troy ounce of silver, the coin actually weighs 1.043 troy ounces (32.45 gm) to make up the balance.

In addition to these, the British Royal Mint also releases proof varieties in various fractional denominations (I think 1/2, 1/4, and 1/10 oz.), and they also issue gold versions.

The obverse, as with all coins of the realm, features the Queen along with the denomination of "2 POUNDS" (£2). Besides "QUEEN ELIZABETH," the obverse also features the letters, "D.G. REG FID DEF" which, as far as I can tell, stands for "by the Grace of God, Defender of the Faith" (where D.G. is short for "dei gra." (If anyone knows otherwise, please let me know!)

The reverse design changes every year, though there have been repeats. Originally, from 1998-2007, the original reverse of Britannia at the shores with a shield in one hand and trident in the other was used on even years (1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006). However, in 2008, it was replaced with a new "Standing Wave" variety, and the pattern was again broken in 2009 by re-using the 1999 Britannia in chariot design. For someone a tad OCD like myself, it's annoying.

Coins in the Set

Excluding anything but the silver BU variety, there are 14 coins in the set through 2011. The reverse designs are (note these are not formal names unless in quotes):

My Collecting Goal

My goal with this set is to collect a set in certified NGC/PCGS holders in MS-69 condition (though the MS varieties really do have a somewhat reflective surface). I didn't start this set until 2009, and in that year I also started to collect the raw version directly from the Royal Mint. That's noted in the photographs below.

Note that another coin collector, Michael Parrish, has collected a complete set of NGC MS-69 Britannias. You can view his collection here.

A Note on the Photographs: Because I'm collecting these in slabs, it is very difficult to take good photos of the coins because (1) I'm photographing through thick plastic, and (2) that plastic is scratched and has dust that accumulates no matter how many times I wipe it off. In addition, (3) BU coins as the British Royal Mint churns out are reflective and not matte, though not reflective to the point of a proof surface, and so are extraordinarily difficult to photograph. So keep in mind that the actual coins look better than the photographs make them out to be.

2007 Great Britain Silver Britannia 2008 Great Britain Silver Britannia 2009 Great Britain Silver Britannia

2010 Great Britain Silver Britannia 2010 Great Britain Silver Britannia


2007 YES MS-69, NGC
2008 YES MS-69, PCGS
2009 YES BU
2010 YES BU & Proof