Britannia silver a silver alloy com posed of 95.84% silver and 4.16% copper. English Parliament introduced the standard in 1697 in an attempt to deter the melting of sterling silver coins by making a higher standard for other items made of silver. In 1720 silversmiths were again allowed to use sterling silver, making Britannia silver an optional alloy.
Between 1687 and 1720 Britannia silver was marked with a woman's figure (Britannia) and a lion's head erased. Since 1999 Britannia silver has been marked with the fineness hallmark 958 inside and oval. The symbol of Britannia became optional. The Royal Mint has issued "Britannias" since 1998, a silver bullion coin, containing one troy ounce of silver, minted in Britannia standard silver.