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Gold Britannia vs Sovereign

As the two primary British bullion coins, customers often ask us about the Britannia vs the Sovereign, and which is the best product to invest in. Both are extremely popular coins produced by The Royal Mint, and are by far the two most popular gold coins to buy UK, so at BullionByPost we’ve produced this handy comparison guide to help you decide which coin is the most suitable investment to suit your budget.

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Gold Britannia

First year of production: 1987

Gold purity: 999.9 or 24 carat (since 2013)

Weight: 31.10 grams or one Troy ounce

Dimensions: 32.69mm diameter, 2.8mm thick

The gold Britannia is the larger of the two coins and accordingly the more expensive. It is one troy ounce of pure gold. Out of 1000 parts, 999.9 of them
are gold - 99.99% pure.

The coin was first made by The Royal Mint as a 22 carat gold coin when created in 1987. It contained one ounce of gold but had additional metals mixed in to improve durability. As production technology improved, The Royal Mint changed the coin to be made of pure 24 carat gold from 2013 onwards. Silver Britannias and platinum Britannias are also produced by The Royal Mint.


Gold Sovereign

First year of production: 1817

Gold purity: 916.7 or 22 carat

Weight: 7.32 grams

Dimensions: 22.05mm diameter, 1.52mm thick

The gold Sovereign is the smaller coin of the two. It weighs just under a
quarter of an ounce and has been produced in the UK, Canada, India,
Australia and South Africa during its lifespan.

Sovereigns were first produced in 1817 as part of the Great Recoinage the year before and were the equivalent of a Pound. They were used in circulation until the First World War, at which point the UK switched exclusively to fiat currency due to cost and the shortage of precious metals.

Due to their age and the fact they were produced all over the world, the gold Sovereign is a globally recognised coin. Thanks to its smaller size and weight it is also more versatile than the gold Britannia coin – you can’t sell a quarter of a 1oz gold coin but if you owned four Sovereigns to make up that ounce then you can sell one of them if needed. As the Sovereigns are almost a quarter ounce in size they are also more affordable than Gold Britannias, though they do share the same CGT exemption and are VAT-free.

You may be interested in our Collectable Gold Sovereign coins too, with many historic years available.


Sovereign or Britannia?

The decision of whether to buy a Sovereign or Britannia will therefore generally come down to personal preference. Both are VAT-free and exempt from CGT, making them both a great choice for investments. Buying premiums tend to be low on both coins, though it can be worth checking at the point of purchase. Sovereigns are minted in their millions every year, and after 200 years of production there are many around, which keeps premiums low. As the larger coin however, the Britannia is cheaper to produce, so it can depend on the dealer and their stock levels as to which proves the most cost efficient.

Generally speaking, for large investors the Britannia will offer a good balance between flexibility and size convenience, but it is not uncommon for large investors to buy large numbers of Sovereigns when the premium is better. Those who prefer the historic pedigree and smaller size of the Sovereign may however prefer to exclusively by those. Whether you go for the Sovereign or Britannia however you can rest assured you are buying a great investment choice, and world-renowned coin.


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You can read more about Royal Mint bullion here. We also have specific resources about Britannia Coin Designs , Sovereign Coin Designs , and the mint marks that appear on Sovereigns to distinguish them between the mints that produced them over the years.

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