This fixed-mintage silver coin struck from 1 troy ounce of 0.999 pure silver by the Commonwealth Mint commemorates the original gold laurel coin first minted under King James I over 400 years ago. And it’s available only from Birch Gold Group.
Since their very first mintage, laurel coins bucked two significant traditions of British coinage.
First, the monarch is shown wearing a laurel wreath rather than a crown. This isn’t terribly unusual – many historic coins featured monarchs wearing the ancient Roman symbol of triumph and military victory rather than a proper crown. (The ancient Romans developed a horror of monarchy in the century after its founding – presumably, of crowns as well.) James I chose the laurel to symbolize his union of Scotland and England – he inherited the throne of Scotland at 13 months old, and succeeded Elizabeth I when she died in 1603 as ruler of England and Ireland. James I was the first to rule all three, and also the first to refer to them as “Great Britain.”
(You’ll sometimes see him titled “King James VI and I” – because he was the sixth King James of Scotland, and the first of England. It’s an awkward title; presumably it was worth the hassle.)
Second, the laurel inverts the traditional facing of the reigning monarch. For over five hundred years, it’s been British practice to alternate facing between monarchs. King George VI faced left, so Queen Elizabeth II, his heir, faces right. However, King James VI and I of Scotland and England wanted to symbolize his loyalty to both his nations. He faced right on English coinage – so he asked the Royal Mint to produce the original laurel showing the other side of his face. Two different kingdoms, ruled by the same person; he was a king with two faces, and he showed both of them on his coinage.
Because Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is always shown in right profile, the silver laurel has her facing left instead – for a truly unique coin.
The reverse depicts the King James I version of the Shield of Royal Arms, representing three nations he ruled: three lions passant, symbolizing the English throne since the 12th Century, appear in the first and fourth quarters; Scotland’s lion rampant in the second, and Ireland’s harp in the third.
All silver laurels are struck with 0.999 pure silver, making them eligible for inclusion in a Precious Metals IRA – and this limited-mintage coin is distributed exclusively by Birch Gold Group.
Please note, Birch Gold’s selection of products rotates over time. To learn more about silver laurel coins, their availability and current pricing, please call us at (800) 355-2116.
Mint: Commonwealth Mint (exclusive distribution by Birch Gold Group)
Mintage: Fixed mintage
Dimensions: 38.6 mm diameter, 3 mm thick
Weight: 1 troy oz
Face value: Legal tender of Tristan da Cunha with face value of 1 laurel (£1 equivalent)
Fineness: 0.999 pure silver