Like many other mints, the Royal Mint issues bullion coins in precious metals, having much higher intrinsic value than their face value. The one ounce (1 oz) silver coins are denominated as either two pounds (£2) or five pounds (£5), depending on the occasion.
Initially, these were only of the Britannia type, but in 2015 the Royal Mint started to use the format for coins with other types of reverse designs, celebrating various aspects of British heritage.
The coins are legal tender but are not intended for circulation. They are targeted at bullion investors or collectors who appreciate the special editions as pieces of art.
This design is the second release in a Royal Mint series dedicated to the history of British monarchy and the monarchs of England, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, and features James I of England, who was King James VI in Scotland. The reverse is based on a coin issued during his reign.
The Royal Mint says about it:
The British Monarchs Collection continues with a new addition to this innovative series dedicated to some of Britain’s greatest kings and queens. Building on the precedent set by the first coin in the series, the second release features another legendary royal with a design dedicated to James I - the Scottish king James VI who succeeded Queen Elizabeth I to become king of England.
As a worthy successor in the series, the seventeenth-century monarch appears on this new coin in the same classic design that would have featured on the coins of the Jacobean era. Whilst the design first appeared on British coinage more than 400 years ago, this coinage portrait has been faithfully recreated as close to the original as possible using state-of-the-art technology.