I haven't bought any coins in ages, and when I stopped at the local coin shop, sticker shock hit hard. Silver Eagles carried a $12 premium over spot. Ouch! However, as I scanned the display case, I also saw one of these Britannias. The same 1 oz. .999 fine silver with a relatively modest $6 premium? Sign me up! I didn't even look at the year.
Very pretty, as personifications of empires go. Much more martial than the Liberty figure on the obverse of US silver dollars. Is that a good thing, though? I know the US does a terrible job of being peaceful, but maybe we should resume depicting liberty instead of dead presidents as a step toward keeping that idea in the public consciousness.
Is it odd that both the "Britannia" and the "Silver Eagle" are named for the design on the reverse instead of the obverse? But come to think of it, all the commonwealth silver coins seem to be identified by the back design. They all have Queen Elizabeth on the front, right? And the "buffalo nickel" is named for its reverse design and composition. I haven't really thought about popular naming conventions for coins until I started pecking at the keyboard tonight. Does anyone out there have any insight here?
On to the obverse.
Wait, that ain't the old hag, it's her septuagenarian spawn of a successor! I wonder how many times the mint made new blanks with his mug in preparation for his eventual coronation over the decades. The sad part is, that doddering old geezer is still several years younger than the dementia-patient-in-chief here in the US. At least having fossils in office might be a sign of collapsing empires. Too bad all these "democratic" and "monarchist" sociopaths will all do their damnedest to make us suffer as their arthritic claws grasp at fleeting power and prestige. But hey, I have silver now, even if it is sullied by the portrait of a usurper and cost almost $30 in greenbacks. Paper for the State, Silver if you're Down.
Think for a moment how easy international trade would be if it were as simple as $1=£2. Circulating coins need to be stronger than silver alone, so the traditional US 90% silver, 10% copper alloy would be one option. Sterling silver at 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper might also work. In any case, the basic ratios of precious metals would define a fixed exchange rate.
Took those C-notes to the coin shop as I holler 'fuck the State!' I wish I had that kind of cash for coins.
Base metal coins, fiat notes, and credit cards have corrupted our understanding of real money. If this were used as money, we could easily see "another day, another dollar" mean an honest day's wage. The worst problem was governments and their mints trying to set a fixed ratio between silver and gold when both are market commodities that will inevitably fluctuate against one another. This inevitably created shortages of the undervalued metal. That's a failure of central planning and price controls, not commodity money. And inflating the money supply would be nearly impossible when coins require a specific purity of metal, but that's a problem for the political class, and a defense against devaluation for the worker.
Stackin' shiny plates from the ceiling to the ground!