Silver coins are possibly the oldest mass-produced form of coinage dating back to ancient civilisations such as the Greeks and Persians. But by 1947, as post-war Britain continued to suffer austerity measures, they were replaced by cheaper cupro-nickel. Many factors determine the value of a silver coin, such as its rarity, demand, condition and limited edition status. Today, collectables like the Morgan Dollar from The US Mint and the popular bullion coins from countries like Canada and China remain popular among collectors and investors. Like gold, this precious metal has seen a significant rise in value over the last decade and many of the world’s leading mints are keen to continue striking these coins in vast quantities in order to make the most of the growing demand.
Silver coins UK are ranked according to their purity: 925/1000 is Sterling Silver, 958/1000 is known as ‘Britannia’ and 999/1000 as Fine. In 2013, Britain’s flagship coin, Britannia which had been struck in 958/1000 for the last 25 years, was for the first time ever minted in 999/1000. This unprecedented and historic change of specification brought Britannia in line with the trademark standard of other famous bullion coins struck in this precious metal – these included iconic issues such as the 1oz Eagle from The US Mint, the 1oz Kangaroo from The Royal Australian Mint and 1oz Maple Leaf from The Royal Canadian Mint. The powerful image of Britannia had appeared on coinage dating back to the Romans but this increase also confirmed her place as Britain’s purest silver coin.