British Gold Coins

The British Gold Coins

British Gold coins are famous all over the world due to their impressive historical designs and high gold content. The oldest mint in the world, the Royal Mint, has produced some of the most remarkable gold bullion products available on the market, such as the British Sovereign Gold Coins and the Half Sovereign British Gold Coin. These coins were made of 22-karat pure gold and were minted between 1817-1917, in 1925, and later, and again in 1957. Yet, the most popular British Gold Coins design is, without a doubt, the Gold Britannia released in 1987, made of 22-karat .9167 pure gold and bearing one of the most popular British figures – the Lady Britannia.

These coins feature different depictions of Britannia and, starting with 2013, are struck from .9999 pure gold. Another very popular collection of UK Gold coins, introduced in 2014, is the Royal Mint Gold Lunar Series, which commemorates the Chinese Lunar Year  by consecutively depicting every calendar animal on the reverse side of the coin series. The series was designed by the British-Chinese artist Wuon-Gean Ho. These British Gold Coins are manufactured of .9999 fine gold with the first issue being “Year of Horse” Gold coin, followed by the “Year of Sheep” in 2015 and the “Year of Monkey” in 2016. These coins are minted in limited editions, making them highly appealing to collectors and investors worldwide.

The Royal Mint

The Royal Mint is the oldest mint in the world, with its history dating back to 886, and having witnessed many wars, empires, and challenging technologies. During its first years, the mint was represented only by the London Mint, which was ruled by Alfred the Great, although there were several other mints within the British Kingdom. In 1279, the headquarter of the mint was established in the Tower of London which remained its location for 500 years. At that time, in the 16th century, the Royal Mint achieved monopolization of coinage production. Sir Isaac Newton was designated in 1696 as the Warden of the Mint, and was responsible for identifying counterfeited coins. He was later appointed as the Master of the Royal Mint and carried this status until he died in 1727. In 1809, as a result the lack of space in the Tower of London and the war with France,the British Mint decided to move its location to East Smithfield. The mint’s structure has been rebuilt several times in order to accommodate to the mint’s constant growth, but its redesigns lasted only until 1967 when it was relocated in Llantrisant. Finally, the British Mint became a trading fund at the end of the 1980s and in 2009 was acquired by HM Treasury, being turned into a limited company.

British Gold Coins Sizes and Designs

British Gold coins are minted in several design and weight options. Gold Britannia coins are available in 1/10 oz., ¼ oz., ½ oz. and 1 troy ounce weight options of .9167 gold purity, for the editions up until 2012. As of 2013, Gold Britannia’s are struck from .9999 pure gold, with three additional weights of 5 oz., 1/20 oz. and 1/40 oz., being the smallest British coin. Gold Lunar Series coins are produced of .9999 pure gold and are available in 5 oz., 1 oz., ¼ oz. and 1/10 oz. size options. The original British Sovereign Gold Coins minted are produced of 0.2354 oz. of pure gold, but are also available in several weight options of 0.0588 oz., 0.1177 oz., 0.4708 oz. and 1.1775 oz.

The British Sovereign Gold Coins

British Gold Sovereign Coin carry several designs, the first features the British Shield and crown motif, encircled by a heraldic wreath. Modern British Sovereign gold coins depict the image of St. George killing a dragon, created by the Italian engraver Benedetto Pistrucci. On the reverse side of the coin is always depicted the profile portrait of the British sovereign, at that time, including: King George II, King George IV, King William IV, Queen Victoria (three designs), King Edward VII, King George V and Queen Elizabeth II (three designs). Gold Sovereigns have been struck from 1817-1917, in 1925 and from 1957 to present day.

The Britannia Gold Coin

The obverse design of the Gold Britannia coin features a depiction of Lady Britannia, standing with her trident and shield in her hands. This representation is a symbol of freedom and prosperity to the British nation. Lady Britannia has been depicted on coins for thousands of years, dating back to the Roman Empire. Her representation for this outstanding coin has been redesigned several times during the coin’s striking history: the Standing Britannia (1987-1996), the Charioteer Britannia (1997), the Britannia & The Lion (2001), the Helmeted Head Britannia (2003) and the Seated Britannia. The obverse side of these coins has always featured a profile portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in several versions: the “Third Portrait” for Gold Britannias issued between 1987-1997, the “Fourth Portrait” for coins issued up until the 2014 Gold Britannia editions, and starting with the 2015 coin, the more mature “Fifth Portrait” of Her Majesty, designed by Jody Clark, is used for these remarkable coins. 

The British Gold Lunar Coins

British Gold Lunar Coins feature unique depictions for each of the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals. Gold Lunar Series coins started with the “Year of Horse” Gold Lunar coin in 2014, and continued with the “Year of Sheep” in 2015 and the “Year of Monkey” in 2016. Each of these coins’ reverse design is created by the remarkable British-Chinese artist Wuon-Gean Ho. The next gold coins within the series are expected to depict the following Chinese calendar symbols: the pig, the rat, the ox, the tiger, the rabbit, the dragon and the snake. The obverse side of the coins features the “Fourth Portrait” of Her Majesty’s Queen Elizabeth II for 2014 and 2015 editions, and the “Fifth Portrait”, starting with the 2016 editions.

If you have any questions about these remarkable pieces of the British Gold coinage, please do not hesitate to contact us at 800.852.6884. You can also reach Bullion Exchanges customer service associates online through use of our live chat feature, or by email at

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