Silver Coins

Lunar calendar British silver coins

2020 Year of the Rat 5-pounds silver foin

Every year since 2014, the Royal Mint issues 3 silver proof coins to celebrate the years of the Chinese zodiac (生肖, Shēngxiào). These coins, which also have gold versions, are among the most sought-after bullion coins of the United Kingdom.

In the Chinese zodiac, each year is represented by an animal. There are 12 animals, repeating every 12 years. In Asian traditional culture, the animal of the year of birth is believed to influence the personality of each individual.

AnimalYears
Rat1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020
Ox1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021
Tiger1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022
Rabbit1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023
Dragon1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024
Snake1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025
Horse1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026
Goat1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027
Monkey1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028
Rooster1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029
Dog1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030
Pig1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031

Three different silver coins are issued every year:

  • £2 – 1 ounce .999 fine silver – 38.61 mm
  • £10 – 5 ounces .999 fine silver – 65.00 mm
  • £500 – 1 kilogram .999 fine silver – 100.00 mm

The British Royal Mint started in 2014 with a silver coins picturing a galloping horse. The design evolved each year, with two Yorkshire Swaledale sheep in 2015, ajumping Rhesus monkey in 2016, a crowing rooster in 2017 and a leaping dog in 2018.
More recently, the 2019 design shows a breastfeeding pig and the 2020 coin shows a rat among chrysanthemums.

The lunar series coins all show the year’s animal on the reverse with the lettering “YEAR OF THE [ANIMAL] * [YEAR]”, the actual weight of silver and the fineness. The obverse bears the portrait of the queen Elizabeth II with her title “ELIZABETH II · D · G · REG · F · D” (Latin for “Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, Defender of the Faith”) and the face value.