Protect against inflation with Britannia gold coins and bars

With UK inflation at a 40-year high and expected to rise even higher, interest in physical gold is surging once again. And The Royal Mint’s Britannia gold coins and bars offer an accessible and affordable way to buy.

Britannia gold bars
(Image credit: © The Royal Mint)

Gold is regarded as the ultimate protection against inflation. No wonder it’s in demand with investors now. The price of the precious metal, trading at around $1,670 an ounce at the end of October, could rise above $2,000 in the months to come according to some experts, including Goldman Sachs and Societe Generale. The popularity of accessible gold investments such as The Royal Mint’s Britannia gold bullion coins and bars is rising accordingly.

The argument for investing in gold during periods of high inflation is a longstanding one. Unlike cash, which central banks can increase the supply of as they see fit, gold is a physical entity that is in limited supply; it therefore holds its purchasing power when the money supply is increasing, and inflation is rising. Gold prices can fall in value as well as rise – and they do – but the investment has a good long-term track record of holding its value against other goods during periods of uncertainty.

With inflation in the UK currently at a 40-year high – and expected to rise even higher over the rest of 2022 – interest in gold is surging once again. All the more so since high inflation is not a UK-specific issue; most Western economies are also facing steep price rises.

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In truth, there are good reasons to consider buying gold at any time; it can provide a stable core to a diversified portfolio of investments, helping you to spread risk and plan for the long term. How, then, to actually make such an investment in a safe and secure way, particularly with so many gold dealers advertising their services in a market that is not regulated by bodies such as the Financial Conduct Authority?

The Royal Mint, the official manufacturer of coins in the UK, is a reassuring option for many investors. The Royal Mint operates as a limited company – in fact, it’s the country’s oldest company – but it is wholly owned by the Treasury. The fact the UK Government stands behind the organisation means investors know they are dealing with a trustworthy counterparty selling legitimate gold.

The Royal Mint offers a number of gold bullion products – as well as investments in other precious metals such as silver and platinum – but is particularly well-known for its Britannia gold coins, minted using 24-carat gold with a fineness of 999.9. These are typically available in four different sizes, weighing one ounce, half an ounce, quarter of an ounce and one tenth of an ounce, and therefore provide an accessible and affordable way to buy high-quality gold.

One attraction of these coins for many investors is the long history and tradition of Britannia in British coinage. Britannia, the female representation of Britain, has been the face of The Royal Mint’s bullion coins since 1987, but first appeared on coins almost 2,000 years ago. Britannia featured on the coins of the Roman emperor Hadrian, in around AD 119, as the symbol of a new province and people, but was revived for the coinage of Charles II in 1672. She has appeared on the coins of every monarch since then.

The modern incarnation of Britannia coins was designed by the renowned sculptor and coin designer Philip Nathan, and a new range is introduced each year. The 2023 edition of the coin includes a number of advanced security features; The Royal Mint says these make the Britannia the most visually-secure bullion coin in the world. For example, the coins feature a latent image that changes from a padlock to Britannia’s famous trident, while Britannia’s shield bears the Union flag, which is accented with tincture lines.

Another popular option with investors buying from The Royal Mint is the Britannia gold bullion bar range. Designed by Jody Clark, the artist behind the fifth and final effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, which is in use on the UK’s coins, the bars also come in a range of different sizes, from one gram to one hundred grams. As with the Britannia coins, this ensures investors with different budgets have an opportunity to invest.

Each gold bar carries an individual serial number and is presented in a secure Britannia-branded blister pack. Many purchasers enjoy the bars as collectors’ items, as well as regarding them for their investment value.

The Royal Mint offers two options for investors who purchase gold from them. Some people choose to take delivery of their purchases, storing the gold as they see fit. The alternative is to store your gold in The Royal Mint’s own storage facility, known as The Vault®. Located in a secure site close to Cardiff, The Vault® charges an annual fee for storage, of around 1% of the value of your gold, plus VAT, but for your money, you get security and professional storage conditions.

Once you own Britannia gold coins or bars, their value on the secondary market will rise and fall as the price of gold fluctuates – if you want to realise this value, you can sell your holdings back to The Royal Mint, or through an independent gold dealer. Demand for individual coins and bars may rise or fall over time, meaning their value may not move exactly in line with the gold price, but this is nevertheless an excellent way to get exposure to the precious metal’s qualities as a long-term store of wealth.

• Find out more about investing in Britannia gold coins and bars here: