The Britannia was minted for the first time in 1987, as the first European bullion coin. It is issued by the British Royal mint in four weights. In 1987, the annual production of the one ounce coin had an absolute maximum of 92,000 pieces. Today, its market share is around one percent.
The Britannia Coin possesses, like the Sovereign and Krugerrand, a fineness of 917, corresponding to 22 karat. Until 1989 the coin consisted of a coper alloy of 1/12. After that, it was changed to a copper-silver alloy which resulted in a color change from red to yellow. The coin is issued in four sizes: 1 ounce, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz and 1/10 oz. In 1987, the first year of issue, 92,000 one-ounce coins were minted.
The coin’s edge is reeded. The front depicts the minting year, weight in ounces, and of course Britannia, the female personification of the island. Until 2000, the coin shows the “Standing Britannia Design” with shield, helmet and trident, conceived by Philip Nathan. Since 2001 the design of Britannia has been changed every odd year. In 2001 the new design showed “Britannia with a Lion”, 2003 “the Head of Britannia” and in 2005 “Sitting Britannia”. The reverse side shows Queen Elisabeth II and the coin’s face value of 100 British Pound for the one ounce coin.