It’s impossible to deny the massive impact that the British Royal Mint has had on the sustained popularity of gold as an investment vehicle. Collectable gold coins come from a number of countries, but gold bullion coins from Britain have long been some of the most coveted and valuable gold pieces on the market. The impressive history unique to the British Royal Mint is one major reason for the gold distributor’s massive success in achieving the ultimate reputation among bullion consumers.
It would be unfair to exclusively blame the Royal Mint’s impressive history for the popularity of British Gold Coins. Most collectors agree that the craftsmanship associated with coins like the Gold Britannia or the Queen’s Beasts Series is unparalleled within the bullion sector. Featuring high purity, detailed reverse and obverse artwork and exceptional security features, British Gold Coins have won a reputation of excellence among even the most discerning bullion collectors.
For new buyers, the wide range of coins and other bullion products offered by the British Royal Mint might seem daunting. In reality, we are consistently impressed with both the quality and the quantity of new releases created by the brilliant minds behind the world’s oldest mint.
Hero Bullion offers a wide variety of British Gold Coins for purchase. British gold bullion coins are typically minted using .9999 pure gold and are shipped in brilliant uncirculated (BU) condition. We take great care to ensure that our British Gold Coins are shipped in excellent condition and packaged to avoid any scuffing, chipping or damage during transit.
This page will provide readers with everything they need to know about British Gold Coins, including the history of the Royal British Mint, the most popular coins distributed by the mint, and how to buy British Gold Coins.
The Royal British Mint
As we explained in the introduction to this guide, the British Royal Mint offers one of the most impressive histories of any government mint. The Mint was officially established in 886 AD, but coinage offers an even more extensive history in Great Britain. When Romans invaded Britain in the year 43, they immediately established a number of mints all over Great Britain. One mint in London even produced coins for the roman empire for nearly half a century.
Celtic tribes native to England also used coinage in varying capacities, although no historical record currently suggests that they established any kind of organized mint in the country. Celtic coinage has been found dating back to as early as 80 BC. However, truly organized and mass mintage on the island did not happen until Britain decided to consolidate existing mints across the country into a single centralized mint facility.
This consolidation occurred in 886 under the order of Alfred the Great, king of the West Saxons who ruled part of England at the time. This original mint is the same mint that would eventually become the Royal British Mint. While experts generally quote 886 AD as the official mint founding date, it wasn’t until 1279 that British mints were officially consolidated in the Tower of London, which contained the original mint from 886.
Over the centuries, the amount of coinage produced by the British Royal Mint has both increased and decreased. Henry VIII enacted “The Great Debasement” during wars between Britain, Scotland and France. This law led to a great decrease in the number of coins produced by the Royal Mint. Mint production increased steadily during the 17th century, when innovations in the minting process began to allow British mint leaders to produce more coins of greater quality.
Renowned scientist Isaac Newton was named the Warden of the Mint at the end of the 17th century. His primary objective in this position was to mitigate rapid counterfeit production, which had decreased the value and public perception of British Royal Mint coins. He was successful, and the passage of the 1696 Coin Act imposed hefty penalties on counterfeiters.
During the onset of the 18th century, the rapid expansion of the British Empire led to a gradual increase in the number of coins distributed by the British Royal Mint.
While the global financial crisis of 2008 presented a number of obstacles for the British Royal Mint – as well as all government mints – the past decade has witnessed a significant revival of public interest in British Gold Coins. The production of 24-karat Gold Britannia Coins, the success of the Queen’s Beasts Series and a number of other victories have made the British Royal Mint into a formidable force within the bullion market.
Gold Britannia Coin
Though the British Royal Mint distributes a number of popular coins, few coins are as instantly recognizable as the Gold Britannia. The Silver Britannia is perhaps more popular among seasoned investors, but it is the Gold Britannia that helped the mint to enter a new era of profitability following its explosive release in 1987. The coins were initially minted using .917 silver, but new mint technologies employed in 2013 allowed the British Royal Mint to begin distributing .9999 pure gold versions of the popular coin.
While the Britannia Coin as we know it in the bullion world was only created by the Royal Mint in 1987, the history of the image for which it is named extends far longer into history. Historians claim that the Britannia symbol has been used as the prominent feminine depiction of the British Isles since the first century BC, making it an enduring representation of the island of Great Britain.
Coinage featuring the likeness of lady Britannia is actually far older than most readers might initially assume, too. Roman coinage dating back to the second century AD have been found with Britannia on them, making Britannia one of the oldest continuing coin images in the world. Coins involving Britannia have been used consistently throughout various historical periods; Roman coins used Britannia on various silver coins for centuries before Britain began to adopt the image as its own.
Struck with .9999 pure gold bullion, the Gold Britannia Coin is one of the most intricately detailed gold pieces on the market.
The obverse of the Gold Britannia features a head profile of Queen Elizabeth. This is commonplace among British Gold Coins, as well as most coins from the Canadian Royal Mint and Australia’s Perth Mint. Paying homage to the regal likeness of Britain’s revered monarch, the Gold Britannia Coin depicts her wearing a crown, pearl earrings, and her favorite pearl necklace. On the obverse side of the coin, we note the artist’s name, Elizabeth II’s name, the denomination of the coin and the phrase “Dei Gratia,” meaning “by the grace of god.”
The reverse of the Gold Britannia is where the classic coin gets its name. Here, a stunning Britannia wears a flowing dress and carries her famous trident, shield of Britain and olive branch. She also wears her helmet, which is the latest addition to Britannia’s wardrobe, having been added around three decades ago.
Gold Queen’s Beasts Series
For fans of British history – and especially for fans of the regal Queen Elizabeth II – the Queen’s Beasts Collection is an unmitigated look into the impressive culture and unique history of the British Empire. The series includes eleven different pieces. Ten of the gold coins depict a different one of the ten ‘beast’ statues created and displayed during the coronation of England’s current monarch. The eleventh coin in the series, the finishing piece, features a beautiful depiction of all ten beasts surrounding an image of Her Majesty.
During the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, ten heraldic statues were created by sculptor James Woodford. Each statue is meant to represent a different aspect of Queen Elizabeth’s lineage and genealogy. In the tradition of the British monarchy, the families from which the Queen comes are extremely important. Each beast has been designed and constructed carefully to represent a different family associated with the Queen’s lineage.
These beasts include:
- The Lion of England
- The White Greyhound of Richmond
- The Yale of Beaufort
- The White Dragon of wales
- The White Horse of Hanover
- The White Lion of Mortimer
- The Unicorn of Scotland
- The Griffin of Edward III
- The Black Bull of Clarence
- The Falcon of the Plantagenets
Clearly, these coins highlight the history of the British monarchy and government in a way that very few collectable coins are able to. Each of these ten coins carries with it a unique level of history and attention to detail, which has helped to make them some of the most valued coins in the history of bullion.
The obverse of each coin includes a depiction of Queen Elizabeth II’s face and neck. This art has been designed by sculptor Jody Clark. Interestingly enough, the Royal Mint claims that Jody Clark will design the entire series. This gives the coins a level of continuity in design style that few coin collections can realistically offer. We are impressed with the detail and texture included on these designs. Queen Elizabeth is shown here with her crown, as well as her pearl earrings. She is slightly aged, keeping accurate to the current aged glory of Britain’s female monarch.
The reverse of each coin includes a different one of the gold Queen’s Beasts listed above. Each beast is rendered in impressive detail and has been designed, again, by the renowned artist Jody Clark. Every beast in the series also carries the heraldic shield of the family that they represent, adding yet another impressive bit of history and classic British culture to the coin’s imagery.
We can’t stress this enough: the Queen’s Beasts collection offers the most historically detailed and cultural exploration of Britain that we’ve seen out of any British coin. There should be no confusion as to why the Queen’s Beasts collection has become an instant classic among gold bullion collections around the world.
Tudor Beasts Series
Following the conclusion of the massively successful silver and Gold Queen’s Beasts Collection of British Gold Coins, the Royal Mint announced the beginnings of a brand new series. The Tudor Beasts Coins will carry on the legacy of the Queen’s Beasts, paying homage once again to the proud history of both England and the monarchs that have ruled it.
Fans of history should recognize that the Tudors were historically a major ruling family of Britain. During the rule of Henry VIII, the beasts were created in an effort to celebrate and legitimize the divine right of the Tudors to rule England. Half of the beasts in the ten-piece set represent the King, and the other half represent the right to rule of the Queen.
Jody Clark returns once again to make her mark on this series, delivering a detailed depiction of Queen Elizabeth’s head and neck on the obverse side of each coin. The textured background on both sides of the coin provides an added security feature, which might help to mitigate the high degree of counterfeiting associated with classic Gold British Coins
Investors should also be aware that the Tudor Beasts is a brand new series. The series begins with the release of the Gold Lion of England Coin, which represents the first of the ten beasts. For savvy investors and collectors, this means that 2022 is the year to begin collecting a brand new series which will very likely become rare and coveted by bullion collectors in the decades to come. The reverse of each Tudor Beast Gold Coin features another of the original Tudor Beasts created by Henry VIII.
Final Thoughts: Buying British Gold Coins with Hero Bullion
Boasting an extensive history and an even more impressive reputation among bullion fans, the British Royal Mint is one of the world’s dominant mints for a reason. Producing a number of fantastic options for gold collectors each year, the British Gold Coins offered by Hero Bullion provide impressive fineness and attention to detail while also reminding collectors of the beautiful history and culture of Great Britain and its monarchs.
If you want to buy British Gold Coins and have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Hero Bullion for more information.