Silver Britannias vs American Eagle: The Ultimate Guide to Investing in Silver Coins

Choosing between Silver Britannias and American Silver Eagles often leaves investors weighing design, purity, and financial implications. In this article, we put these silver coin titans head-to-head in a “silver britannias vs american eagle” showdown, giving you the insights needed to discern their investment perks, historical significance, and tax benefits. We keep it simple—no fluff, just essential information to help you decide which silver coin may best complement your investment portfolio.

Key Takeaways

Silver Britannias: An Overview

Various silver coins including Silver Britannias and gold bullion coins

Silver Britannias, recognized as UK’s official silver bullion coin, offer more than just their metal value. Their features include:

These features make them a favored choice among investors and offer potential benefits for those seeking a diversified portfolio.

History of Silver Britannias

The inaugural release of the Silver Britannia coin in 1997 commemorated the 300th anniversary of the Britannia silver hallmarking standard, as well as the 10th year since the introduction of gold Britannia coins by the Royal Mint. The coin, featuring 1 ounce of silver with a fineness of 95.8%, underwent a change in 2013 when its fineness was increased to 99.9% silver. Since then, silver Britannia coins have continued to be a popular choice for collectors and investors alike.

Design and Key Features

Iconic Britannia figure representing British unity, liberty, and strength

The design of Silver Britannias is an artistic triumph. The reverse features the iconic image of Britannia, adorned with a Corinthian helmet and holding Neptune’s trident, accompanied by an owl symbolizing wisdom. Four security features have been incorporated into the coins to aid in authentication.

Britannia, the national personification of Britain, represents the country’s unity, liberty, and strength. Her portrayal has been a constant presence in British art, culture, and coinage dating back to Roman times. The obverse side of the coin showcases Queen Elizabeth II, the reigning monarch, in line with the longstanding tradition of British coinage. Several artists, including Suzie Zamit, David Lawrence, and Philip Nathan, have contributed to the Silver Britannia’s design over the years.

Benefits of Investing in Silver Britannias

Silver Britannias offer myriad advantages to investors. Apart from their low premiums, the coins’ status as legal tender in the UK offers tax efficiency and exemption from Capital Gains Tax. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or a novice, these silver coins provide value, liquidity, and divisibility, making them an excellent addition to any investment portfolio.

American Silver Eagles: An Overview

American Silver Eagles and gold bullion coins

American Silver Eagles, originating from across the Atlantic, have established a prominent position in the worldwide bullion market. As the official silver coin of the United States Mint, these American Silver Eagle coins are offered in various finishes to cater to the needs of investors and collectors alike. With a purity level of 99.9%, the coins feature intricate designs on both sides, enhancing their appeal.

History of American Silver Eagles

The American Silver Eagle coin made its debut in 1986, seeing the light of day a year prior to the gold Britannia. The coin features the cherished Walking Liberty design, symbolizing freedom and democracy. As a popular choice among gold coins collectors, it stands out alongside its silver counterpart.

The release of the Type 2 American Silver Eagle in 2021 brought forth multiple new security measures, including the absence of a reed on the edge of the coin, providing an extra layer of authentication.

Design and Key Features

The design of American Silver Eagles speaks volumes about the values and ideals of the nation. The obverse side of the coin showcases Liberty in full stride, while the reverse design features a Heraldic Eagle with a shield, clutching an olive branch and arrows. A circle of 13 five-pointed stars above the eagle symbolizes the original colonies of the United States.

The introduction of Type 2 American Silver Eagles brought changes to the coin’s design. The reverse now depicts an eagle landing, revitalizing the coin’s visual appeal while maintaining its enduring symbolic representation. No matter the type, each coin’s design is a reflection of American values and history.

Benefits of Investing in American Silver Eagles

American Silver Eagles present a host of benefits to investors. The coins are government-guaranteed, providing assurance for the weight, content, and purity, thereby ensuring their authenticity and value. Moreover, these coins meet the criteria for inclusion in Precious Metals IRAs, offering investors a chance to safeguard their wealth through a physical asset within a tax-advantaged retirement account.

Comparing Silver Britannias and American Silver Eagles

Comparison of Silver Britannias and American Silver Eagles

Although both Silver Britannias and American Silver Eagles are top selections for silver enthusiasts, they each boast distinct features. A comparison of the two in terms of design, purity, weight, and investment benefits can provide valuable insights for potential investors.

Design Comparison

Silver Britannias and American Silver Eagles both exhibit designs that are intricately tied to the historical and value systems of their respective nations. The Silver Britannias portray Britannia, symbolizing British values of protection and defense.

On the other hand, American Silver Eagles depict Lady Liberty and the American Bald Eagle, representing American ideals of freedom and democracy.

Purity and Weight Differences

Despite both coins boasting a silver purity of 99.9%, Silver Britannias tip the scale a bit more due to their larger diameter. However, this weight difference does not directly influence their value or investment potential, as factors such as local tax implications and other market conditions come into play.

Investment Benefits and Considerations

The investment benefits of Silver Britannias and American Silver Eagles differ based on the investor’s location. Silver Britannias are more popular in the UK due to their Capital Gains Tax-free status and lower cost.

Conversely, American Silver Eagles are favored in the US and Canada, offering a government guarantee and eligibility for Precious Metals IRAs.

Tax Implications for UK and US Investors

The tax consequences related to investment in Silver Britannias and American Silver Eagles differ for investors based in the UK and US. Understanding these implications can help investors make more informed decisions and potentially maximize their returns.

UK Tax Implications

For UK investors, Silver Britannias are exempt from Capital Gains Tax due to their status as legal British currency. However, American Silver Eagles may be subject to capital gains tax as they are not considered legal tender in the UK.

US Tax Implications

US investors may find American Silver Eagles to be more tax-efficient as they are eligible for inclusion in Precious Metals IRAs. However, Silver Britannias may be subject to capital gains tax as they are classified as capital assets in the US.

How to Buy, Store, and Sell Silver Britannias and American Silver Eagles

For both experienced investors and beginners, acquiring knowledge on how to purchase, securely store, and successfully sell Silver Britannias and American Silver Eagles is key. This process involves understanding where to purchase the coins, how to store them safely, and the best strategies for selling them.

Buying Tips

When buying Silver Britannias or American Silver Eagles, it’s important to:

  1. Research reputable dealers

  2. Compare prices

  3. Consider factors such as the current spot price of silver, the credibility of the seller, and any supplementary premiums or charges

This will help ensure a fair transaction.

Storage Options

Safe storage of your silver coins is of utmost importance. Options range from at-home storage to professional storage facilities, depending on your preferences and security needs.

While storing at home, it’s essential to ensure the safety of the coins from environmental damage and theft.

Selling Strategies

Strategically timing the market and selling your silver coins to trustworthy dealers can greatly impact your returns. The condition and rarity of your Silver Britannias or American Silver Eagles can also impact their selling price.

Spotting Counterfeit Silver Coins

Spotting counterfeit silver coins

With the popularity of Silver Britannias and American Silver Eagles, counterfeit coins have become a prevalent issue. Checking dimensions, cross-referencing details with official mint websites, and identifying security features help in confirming the authenticity of your coins.

Diversifying Your Silver Investment Portfolio

Diversification serves as a fundamental strategy in all investment portfolios. By investing in other popular silver coins and bullion bars or rounds, you can spread your risk and potentially enhance your returns.

Other Popular Silver Coins

Beyond Silver Britannias and American Silver Eagles, the market offers a wide range of other popular silver coins. The Canadian Silver Maple Leaf, Austrian Silver Philharmonic, and Chinese Silver Panda are just a few examples that offer unique designs and investment opportunities.

Silver Bullion Bars and Rounds

Silver bullion bars and rounds, as well as gold bullion coins, provide an alternative investment option to silver bullion coins. They usually come with lower premiums and are available in a variety of designs and sizes. Renowned mints such as The Royal Mint, Asahi Refining, and The Royal Canadian Mint offer high-quality silver bullion bars and rounds.


In conclusion, investing in silver coins like the Silver Britannias and American Silver Eagles provides more than just a financial return. It’s an investment in history, art, and international relationships. By understanding the history, design, investment benefits, tax implications, and buying, storing, and selling processes, investors can make informed decisions and potentially maximize their returns.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between American Eagle and Britannia?

American Gold Eagle and Britannia gold bullion coins differ in their legal tender status and tax exemptions. The American Gold Eagle is legal tender but not exempt from Capital Gains Tax (CGT) and VAT outside the US, while the Britannia gold bullion coin is legal tender in the UK and is both VAT and CGT free.

Why are silver Britannias so cheap?

Silver Britannias are cheaper because they have lower premiums than other silver bullion coins like Eagles and the British Royal Mint has a greater supply, making them more accessible and affordable.

Is it better to buy Silver Eagles or silver bars?

It is better to buy Silver Eagles over silver bars, as most experts recommend coins for their flexibility, making them the best option for the average investor.

Are Britannia silver coins a good investment?

Yes, Britannia silver coins can be a good investment choice due to their high market liquidity and ease of trade compared to bars. Consider adding them to your investment portfolio for potential returns.

What are the benefits of investing in Silver Britannias?

Investing in Silver Britannias has benefits such as low premiums, legal tender status in the UK, and exemption from Capital Gains Tax, making them popular among investors.