Two very popular and well regarded silver numismatics are without question the American Silver Eagle (ASE)and the British Britannia series of bullion coins. Both are highly symbolic representations of the cultural identities of their respective countries. The ASE depicts Liberty,the human symbol of the United States, and the national animal, the Bald Eagle. The Britannia coin has always had more appeal because its design was changed on a semi-regular basis until 2013, but it was always centred around the human identity of the United Kingdom, Britannia, and usually in concert with the UK’s national fauna, the Lion.
The Bradford Exchange have issued a new silver 1 oz coin for the British Territory of Tristan de Cunha, a remote group of volcanic islands in the south Atlantic Ocean which is the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world, lying 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) from the nearest inhabited land, Saint Helena. As a British Overseas Territory, its commemorative coins carry the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse, which means that despite having a population of just 259 inhabitants, the coin carries a decent level of legitimacy.
The coin combines the imagery of Liberty and Britannia into a single design by regarded US Mint artist Joel Iskowitz, an artist who has had 47 designs accepted by the mint to date, including the reverse of the Platinum Eagle. Depicting Liberty at left with a bald eagle at her feet, reaching out to clasp hands with Britannia to the right who is holding a shield and has a lion at her feet, the background shows a body of water, likely the Atlantic. Meant to represent the Special Relationship that is supposed to exist between the two nations, it’s a decent design, if a little unadventurous for me.
Now comes the big negative; price. We don’t normally cover The Bradford Exchange product here as coins are no more than a sideline and they aren’t an integral part of the market, but we felt this coin might be of interest. However, $199.00 for a 1oz clean-struck silver coin with a near 5,000 mintage seems incredibly excessive here. The coin is provided in an NGC/PCGS-style coin slab, yet it isn’t graded, although the wooden box it’s all presented in is nice enough. You can purchase with four payments, but when each payment is bigger than the cost of a proof Silver Eagle direct from the US Mint you can’t argue the value has improved. The style of art is a popular one and would make a nice centrepiece in a three coin set with an Eagle and a Britannia, bt our advice is to see where prices head before taking the plunge.