Britain’s Royal Mint unveils ‘world’s most visually secure bullion coin’

Britain’s Royal Mint unveiled what it calls “the world’s most visually secure bullion coin” today in the United Kingdom.

The five-coin Britannia range – with one-, half-, quarter- and 10th-ounce gold coins plus a one-ounce silver coin – contains four new security features that allow customers to verify the coins’ authenticity by rotating them in the light. Since it was introduced in 1987, Britannia has been the Royal Mint’s flagship bullion coin, the latest edition of which will go on sale from Oct. 19.

“Our Britannia bullion range is already one of the most sought after in the world, and these innovative new security features make it even more appealing for investors,” said Andrew Dickey, the mint’s divisional director of precious metals, who added his division “has experienced its busiest year on record.”

“Simply by moving the coin, you can authenticate it as a genuine Royal Mint product, giving investors complete confidence, whether they are buying directly from us or from our partners.”

The range includes a £10 10th-ounce coin; a £25 quarter-ounce coin; a £50 half-ounce coin; a £100 one-ounce coin; and a £2 one-ounce coin—all struck in 999.9 per cent gold.

One-ounce gold coin Half-ounce gold coin Quarter-ounce gold coin Tenth-ounce coin One-ounce silver coin
Denomination £100 £50 £25 £10 £2
Weight 31.21 grams 15.60 grams 7.80 grams 3.13 grams 31.21 grams
Diameter 32.69 mm 27 mm 22 mm 16.50 mm 38.61 mm
Obverse designer Jody Clark
Reverse designer Philip Nathan

A Royal Mint engraver inspects a recently struck Britannia bullion coin.


The layers of new security features lending credence to the coins’ visually secure nature include:

  • a latent image (first introduced on the £2 coin, the latent image acts like a hologram and changes from a padlock to a trident when the coin is seen from different angles);
  • surface animation (micro details on the coin created using advanced picosecond lasers create the illusion of waves rolling behind Britannia and come to life as the coin is rotated);
  • micro-text (the inscription “DECUS ET TUTAMEN,” translating to “an ornament and a safeguard,” surrounds Britannia and is created using specialist lasers); and
  • tincture lines (to reinforce security, the mint reintroduced the traditional art of tincture lines, depicting colours and patterns on metal).


The 2020 Britannia coins feature four new security features, including ‘surface animation’ produced by picosecond lasers.

The Royal Mint was one of the first mints in the world to use advanced picosecond lasers – also used in medicine and aerospace – for the production of coins.

The technology enables the mint to work on a submicron level, creating complex designs using indents that are 200 times narrower than the width of a human hair. Assembled together, these tiny indents can create special effects, including the movement of waves seen in the background of the Britannia coin.

“Britannia is one of our most iconic and enduring designs, so it was vital we retained the beauty of the coin whilst adding sophisticated new anti-counterfeit measures,” said Gordon Summers, chief engraver at the Royal Mint. “By focusing on the natural reflection of the metal, and using advanced new technology, we have created a unique and highly safe coin which gives customers complete confidence.”

Recently struck Britannia bullion coins are held in secure storage containers.


Demand for gold has significantly increased over the last six months as investors look for ways to diversify their portfolio through “safe haven” assets such as precious metals.

A statement issued by the Royal Mint notes the company saw online sales of gold Britannia coins increase by 236 per cent from April through September compared with the same period last year.

According to data from the World Gold Council, the United Kingdom’s net gold bar and coin demand in the first quarter (April-June) increased 86 per cent compared to the same period last year.

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