Royal Mints bullion Lunar Rooster range out along with revised Britannia

We had a good look at the new 2017 lunar Year of the Rooster coins from the Royal Mint when we featured the proof range a short while ago. We all knew the bullion coins were coming and so they have. No real changes to the range – it’s a one ounce gold and a one ounce silver, both with restricted mintage and both sold individually, or in bulk via tubes or monster boxes.

This article was just to be a recap of the bullion variants but in amongst the images was one of the usual lunar privy version of the Britannia that’s come out for even longer than the lunar range has. No big deal we thought, it’s a bullion Britannia with a repeating edge engraving showing the current lunar animal. Then we noticed something different…

It’s the first time we’ve seen the 2017 bullion Britannia, and we weren’t expecting any changes to the familiar Philip Nathan design. The ‘crinkle’ finish introduced in 2015 took over from the clean look that was used prior to that, and for 2017 that remains on the obverse face. The reverse is new. A radiating pattern of a type similar to that used on the Royal Canadian Mint’s Silver Maple Leaf coins over the last couple of years has debuted. No doubt introduced as an anti-counterfeiting measure, it looks superb, an easy upgrade on prior looks, and giving the coin a much classier look.

We’ll know shortly if we’ve jumped the gun and this is just a change for the edge privy variant (unlikely), but it appears this could be the first look at a new Britannia design. No indication yet if the gold will be similarly upgraded, but it’s hard to believe that won’t be the case. More soon, hopefully with better images. Beautiful coin before, better now. Top marks.



The Royal Mint’s lunar bullion launch has become an eagerly anticipated event on the worldwide bullion calendar, particularly after the sell-out success of its gold and silver Lunar Year of the Monkey bullion coins for 2016. The Royal Mint’s ‘rooster’ is the latest in the 1,100 year-old organisation’s popular series to hit the competitive lunar bullion market.

The Royal Mint’s Director of Bullion, Chris Howard, said “The coin has already sold to full mintage in silver through The Royal Mint’s wholesale trading activities, and gold is already 50% sold – before the official launch date”. This is only the fourth release in The Royal Mint’s lunar series, which started with the 2014 Year of the Horse followed by lunar sheep and monkey years in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

The Royal Mint’s Lunar Shēngxiào Collection, named to honour the Chinese zodiac, is a celebration of the UK’s diverse multi-cultural society, and lends a unique British angle to this ancient custom. Each lunar year is linked to one of 12 animals, whose traits are attributed to those born during that year. Celebrated annually – Year of the Rooster starts on 28 January 2017 – it is traditionally a time for exchanging tokens and gifts of money in red envelopes, symbolising good wishes for the recipient’s health, wealth and prosperity.



British-Chinese artist and printmaker Wuon-Gean Ho, designer of The Royal Mint’s lunar collection, continues the striking series with the rooster.

The rooster is the tenth sign in the Chinese zodiac, so it may be no coincidence that number ten represents perfection in Chinese culture – people born in the Year of the Rooster are believed to be confident characters who love to stand out from the crowd. Said to spend a great deal of time perfecting their appearance, they like to be thought of as attractive and beautiful, and are often very fashion conscious, relishing any opportunity to show off their style and charm. They are loyal and devoted friends and natural leaders in the workplace.

The Royal Mint’s lunar bullion coins are struck as limited mintage one-ounce 999.9 fine gold coins, and one-ounce 999 fine silver coins, and are available to buy in tubes of 10 or 25 coins, dependent on the metal purchased.

During her research process Wuon-Gean made detailed observations of roosters and hens to capture a real sense of their personality and movement.

“The breed I have depicted on the coin is a Marsh Daisy from the Lancashire/Liverpool area of the UK – I wanted to root the design firmly in a real place. The Marsh Daisy is a gentle and friendly breed, well-adapted to sandy marshland. They are beautiful birds with a very flat, pillow-like comb called a rose-comb.”

“The flowers in the design are also called Marsh Daisies, an affectionate name for the flower also called sea-thrift, common to the areas where the birds live.”





SILVER ROOSTER £2 UKP 0.999 SILVER 31.21 g 38.61 mm BULLION 138,888
GOLD ROOSTER £100 UKP 0.9999 GOLD 31.21 g 38.61 mm BULLION 8,888


Here’s the usual Britannia coin that the mint has been producing for a third-party for the last few years, one that has on its edge a repeating privy mark depicting a lunar symbol. Produced for American bullion dealer A-Mark Precious Metals usually (to be confirmed), this will be the fourth time the Royal Mint has struck this special variant, all the more unusual in that official variants are hardly ever produced.

Basically, it’s a standard bullion Britannia with a small mark repeatedly engraved into the edge, we think at every 45 degrees around the circumference. Mintages tend to be unlimited over a set period and they’re sold in the same way as the regular Britannia – tubes of 25 and monster boxes of 500.  A-Mark have never been one for the individual coin sale, so collectors will have to work a little harder for the smaller quantity, but they do turn up at alternative dealers after a while.

As we said at the beginning of the article, the big news is the change of design on the face, the best yet we think. The crinkle finish is still present on the obverse, but the radiating pattern on the reverse face is reminiscent of the Royal Canadian Mints newer Maple Leaf coins. Not only does this look good, it’s also a potent anti-counterfeit system as it raises the bar significantly to being able to reproduce the design by reverse engineering dies. Fine detail is the enemy of the low rent forger.

The above-right image is one of ours trying to pull out of the official picture a better look at the coin face, so don’t get hung up on the mildly distorted view of the face. It does give you a better look at the radiating pattern however.