Britannia (coin)

Last updated

Britannia (One ounce silver)
United Kingdom
Value2 pounds sterling
Mass
  • 32.45g (1997–2012)
  • 31.21g (2013–present)
 g
Diameter
  • 40.00mm (1997–2012)
  • 38.61mm (2013–present day)
 mm
Thickness3 mm (2013–present day) mm
EdgeMilled
Composition
  • .958 silver (1997–2012)
  • .999 silver (2013–present)
Years of minting1997–present
Obverse
Obverse of the 2016 Britannia bullion coin.png
DesignQueen Elizabeth II
Designer Jody Clark
Design date2015
Reverse
Britannia-2016-UK-One-Ounce-Silver-Bullion-Coin Reverse.png
Design Britannia
DesignerPhilip Nathan
Design date1987

Britannia coins are British bullion coins issued by the Royal Mint in gold since 1987, in silver since 1997, and in platinum since 2018. The coin patterns feature various depictions of Britannia, a feminine personification of the United Kingdom.

Contents

Britannia gold coins contain one troy ounce of gold and have a face value of £100. Gold Britannias also are issued in fractional sizes of one-half, one-quarter, and one-tenth of a troy ounce and with face values of £50, £25, and £10 respectively. In 2013 two additional sizes were introduced, a five-ounce coin of face value £500, and a fractional size of one-twentieth of face value £5.[ citation needed ]

Britannia silver coins contain one troy ounce of silver and have a face value of £2. Silver Britannias also are issued in fractional sizes of one-half, one-quarter, and one-tenth of a troy ounce and with face values of £1, 50p, and 20p respectively. Like the gold coins in 2013 two additional sizes were introduced, a five-ounce coin of face value £10, and a fractional size of one-twentieth of face value 10p.[ citation needed ]

Gold Britannia

From 2013 the gold coins have a millesimal fineness of 0.9999 (or 24 carat gold). Until 2012 the gold coins have a millesimal fineness of 0.917 (91.7% or 22 carat gold) with the non-gold component being copper until 1989 and silver from 1990.

2013– Gold Britannia specifications (gold content, and approx total weight)

Five ounces: diameter 65 mm, (156.295 g)
One ounce (2013) : diameter 38.61 mm, (31.104 g) 'larger thinner coin' just for 2013
One ounce (2014–) : diameter 32.69 mm, (31.104 g)
Half ounce: diameter 27 mm, (15.60 g)
One quarter ounce: diameter 22 mm, (7.86 g)
One tenth ounce: diameter 16.50 mm, (3.13 g)
One twentieth ounce: diameter 12 mm, (1.58 g)

1987–2012 Gold Britannia specifications (gold content, not total weight)

One ounce: diameter 32.69 mm, (31.104 g) (total wt 34.050 g)
Half ounce: diameter 27.00 mm, (15.552 g)
Quarter ounce: diameter 22.00 mm,(7.776 g)
Tenth ounce: diameter 16.50 mm, (3.110 g)


Gold Britannias are struck to an unlimited mintage every year. [1]

Silver Britannia

Since 2013 the silver coins have been produced with a millesimal fineness of 0.999 (99.9% silver). [2] They have a mass of 31.21 grams and diameter of 38.61 mm. [3]

From 1997 to 2012 the silver coins had a millesimal fineness of 958 (95.8% or Britannia silver). Total mass 32.45 grams, diameter 40.00 mm. [4]

Silver Britannias have been released each year beginning in 1997, when a silver proof set was offered. In 1998 and in all subsequent even-numbered years the reverse design has depicted a standing Britannia figure. Beginning in 1999 and continuing in odd-numbered years, a series of alternate, non-repeating depictions of Britannia have replaced the standing figure on the reverse. Starting in 2013, the proof versions of the coin will feature a different design each year, while the bullion version of the coin will always feature the classic standing Britannia. While mintage was limited prior to 2013, in 2013 and after mintage of the bullion version of the coin is unlimited based on demand. [2]

Some 2014 silver Britannia coins were struck with the incorrect obverse as there was a mix up during the manufacturing process with the 'Lunar' Year of the Horse coins from The Royal Mint, as both coins were to the same fineness and specification, [5] and similar but not identical obverse sides. It is thought that there are around 17,000 examples with the mis-strike, which have been dubbed the 'Mule Britannia' These coins have fetched substantial premiums on online auction sites. [6]

Silver Britannia mintages

The following table has the most recent numbers of coins minted by year. [7]

YearUncirculated1oz Proof (Orders / Issue Limit)Proof sets (Orders / Issue Limit)5oz Proof
1997 (.958 Ag)16,00511,832not available
1998 (.958 Ag)88,9093,0443,044not available
1999 (.958 Ag)69,394no proof coins releasedno proof coins releasednot available
2000 (.958 Ag)81,301no proof coins releasedno proof coins releasednot available
2001 (.958 Ag)44,8164,59610,000not available
2002 (.958 Ag)48,816no proof coins releasedno proof coins releasednot available
2003 [8] (.958 Ag)73,2712,016 / 5,0003,669 / 5,000not available
2004 [9] (.958 Ag)100,0002,174 / 5,000not available
2005 [10] (.958 Ag)100,0001,539 / 2,5002,360 / 3,500not available
2006 [11] (.958 Ag)100,0002,529 / 2,7503,000 / 3,000 (The Silhouette Collection encompasses 5 styles which are 1oz .999 silver & gold gilt)not available
2007 [12] (.958 Ag)100,0005,157 / 7,5002,500 / 2,500 (Sold out)not available
2008 [13] (.958 Ag)100,0002,500 / 2,500 (Sold out)2,500 / 2,500 (Sold out)not available
2009 [14] (.958 Ag)100,0006,7842,500 / 2,500 (Sold out)not available
2010 [15] (.958 Ag)126,3676,5393,497not available
2011 [16] (.958 Ag)100,0004,9732,483 / 2,500not available
2012 (.958 Ag)100,0002,500-not available
2013 (.999 Ag)Mint to Order2,500 in limited edition presentation, max mintage 8,500-1,150 in limited edition presentation, 3,500 in First Strike Presentation, max mintage 4,650
2013 (.999 Ag) Snake Privy Rim300,0000-0
2014 (.999 Ag)Mint to Order2,500 in limited edition presentation, max mintage 5,3001,750 in limited edition presentation, 550 in First Strike Presentation600 in limited edition presentation, 750 in First Strike Presentation, max mintage 1,350
2014 (.999 Ag) Horse Privy Rim1,000,0000-0
2015 (.999 Ag)Mint to Orderunknownunknownunknown
2015 (.999 Ag) Ram Privy Rim200,0000-0
2016 (.999 Ag)Mint to Orderunknownunknownunknown
2016 (.999 Ag) Monkey Privy Rim176,3000-0

Coin designs

The reverse design of the first silver Britannia from 1997 1oz silver Britannia coin 1997 reverse.jpg
The reverse design of the first silver Britannia from 1997
YearMetalFinishArtistDescriptionComments
1997Gold

Silver

ProofPhilip NathanBritannia riding horse-drawn chariot
1998Gold

Silver

Brilliant Uncirculated

Proof

Classic standing Britannia
1999Gold

Silver

Brilliant UncirculatedPhilip NathanBritannia riding horse-drawn chariotIn 1999, the silver Britannia repeated the Boudicca in chariot design used in 1997, but was only issued in the uncirculated bullion (non-proof) version, as opposed to 1997 when it was only issued in the proof version. [17]
2000Gold

Silver

Bullion

Proof

Classic standing Britannia
2001Gold

Silver

Bullion

Proof

Philip NathanWith lion, vertical textThis year features a new design, Britannia is shown standing, accompanied by a lion, similar to the Una and the Lion reverse used on the very rare 1839 £5 gold coins. [18]
2002Gold

Silver

Bullion

Proof

Classic standing Britannia
2003Gold

Silver

Bullion

Proof

Philip NathanBritannia wearing a helmet with waves in the background
2004Gold

Silver

Bullion

Proof

Classic standing Britannia
2005Gold

Silver

Bullion

Proof

Philip NathanSeated Britanniafeatures a seated figure of Britannia, similar to that used on halfpennies and farthings from 1672, which in turn reflects the original personification of Britannia on Roman coins of Hadrian. [19]
2006Gold

Silver

Bullion

Proof

Classic standing Britannia
2007Gold

Silver

Bullion

Proof

Christopher Le BrunSeated Britannia with lionfeatures a seated figure of Britannia, with large shield bearing the Union Flag (Union Jack), with a lion at her feet, and what looks like the white cliffs of Dover and a sailing yacht in the background. [20]
2008Gold

Silver

Bullion

Proof

John BergdahlWith large wavesThis year's Britannia has a new design featuring Britannia on the beach, with giant waves and a lighthouse in the background. [21]
2009Gold

Silver

Bullion

Proof

Philip NathanThe 2009 issue has reverted to the Chariot design last seen in 1999.
2010Gold

Silver

Bullion

Proof

Suzie ZamitIn Corinthian-style helmetDesigner Suzie Zamit says: "Britannia is a really important British icon and I wanted to create a design that represents her as a symbol of British liberties and democracy. I felt it was important to portray Britannia as strong - almost Amazonian - and courageous, but not overly warlike, more peaceful and protective".

...

Britannia wears a Corinthian-style helmet, emphasising her warlike spirit and is accompanied by a lion to symbolise courage. However, Britannia's serene gaze and the presence of an olive branch, also portrays the goddess as a protective defender of peace and modern British liberty and values. Her eastward looking gaze alludes to Britain's role in the EU and its presence in Afghanistan. [22]

2011Gold

Silver

Bullion

Proof

David MachIn front of large flagDavid Mach talks about his challenge to make Britannia a contemporary image and not just appear nationalistic: 'I worked out a design with as much movement as I could for a small surface area; movement that would encourage people to turn the coin and watch the light shift over the surface like I had done with half-crowns as a boy. My design acts as a lenticular image. The flag and Britannia appear to move reflecting a contemporary Britain; a changing Britain; a Britain which is culturally on the move but still with plenty of reasons to wave the flag.' [23]
2012Gold

Silver

Bullion

Proof

Philip NathanClassic standing BritanniaIt draws its inspiration from a strongly maritime approach, Britannia windswept on a cliff-top, the very essence of authority and elegance. [24]
2013Gold

Silver

ProofRobert HuntBritannia and the owlher head appears turned, symbolizing an interest in lands beyond her borders. She wears a Corinthian helmet and holds Neptune's trident to represent her claim as "ruler of the waves". An owl is present as a symbol of wisdom. [25]
2014Gold

Silver

Proof Jody Clark Britannia with lion in front of globeI wanted to include a lion in this Britannia portrayal too because I had decided upon a very feminine and elegant looking Britannia, and I needed the strong presence of the lion to balance the design out. I didn't want it to be overly soft and flowing. I don't think a lion had featured for a while either so I knew I wanted to include one in mine.

...

Why did you place the globe in the background – what is it – what does it represent?

In my research I found that Britannia often sat on the globe in an imperial fashion. I didn't think that was a very modern concept. Instead, I decided to place it alongside her. I wanted to make the design appear as if Britannia is moving with the globe, and portray a sense of movement, with flowing elements like her dress. I thought it would be nice to have the contrast of static graphic elements too, like the globe. I found it a real balancing act getting the traditional aspects in whilst giving them a modern twist. [26]

2015Gold

Silver

ProofAnthony DufortCorinth helmet and shieldAnthony looked back to Greek and Roman coins and statues to ensure authenticity while modelling her trident and Corinthian helmet. [27]
2016Gold

Silver

ProofSuzie ZamitWarrior Britannia with lionSusie has brought her own perspective to Britannia, 'the warrior queen'.

"I knew it was important to make Britannia immediately recognisable but I also tried to think about how she could represent Britain in the twenty-first century. Britannia represents British liberty and democracy, especially potent in times of national insecurity, so I wanted to portray her as a strong figure, almost Amazonian, proud, patriotic and courageous. She is reminiscent of the goddess 'Athena,’ a warrior but in a protective, peace-keeping way.

"The shield, a symbol of protection and security, incorporates the Union Jack and I included the lion as national symbol of courage. Visually it is very strong, beautiful and watchful and also a symbol of protection. The inclusion of wind and sea reflect the more modern, forward thinking themes of renewable and green energy". [28]

2017Gold

Silver

ProofLouis TamlynBritish isles forming body

30th anniversary design

Louis created the design as a first year student at Central Saint Martins college when the Royal Mint requested a 'contemporary interpretation' of Britannia. Louis states: Britannia used to be the name of Great Britain in Roman times and hasn't really been used enough as a visual feature. I think it is important to revive it as a visual feature of the Britannia design as it communicates notions of the history and identity of Britain; by showing Britannia and the island as one it changes our perception. [29]
2018Gold

Silver

ProofDavid LawrenceIn helmet with sunburst behindWears traditional British flowers around her helmet. [30]

Lawrence commented, "I wanted to create something with classical grace about it and a certain amount of gravitas: coins of the realm, especially when cast in valuable metals, are a serious business. I enrolled various family members to pose, bedecked with bedsheets and broomsticks for reference shots. It was then a matter of working through the compositions until some pleasing shapes could be resolved within the constriction of the coin’s roundel".

2019Gold

Silver

Proof

Brilliant Uncirculated

David LawrenceWith lion, thrusting tridentDavid said of his of design, "My initial thoughts were influence by the great engravers of the past. Their work has a classical grace and gravitas I was keen to recreate. After all, coins of the realm are a serious business. The lion had to be there somewhere, as did the shield and trident… many of the components were already decided in a way. The end result is an Anglicised version of ancient Rome". [31]
2020Gold

Silver

Proof

Brilliant Uncirculated

James TottleBritannia in front of flag with lion on shieldJames Tottle said of his design, "I felt that a strong pose with a striking silhouette of Britannia in the foreground alongside the Union flag in the background would produce a well-balanced image; I also wanted to feature the lion so I worked it onto the shield. The image needed some movement and drama so I used crashing wave and a billowing dress to achieve this". [32]
2021Gold

Silver

ProofP. J. LynchBritannia with lion
2021SilverBrilliant UncirculatedP. J. LynchContemporary Britannia in helmet looking out to seaOn Premium Exclusive only.

P. J. Lynch said of his design. “For the Exclusive editions in the range, I decided it would be a good idea to go in close for a profile portrait of Britannia. I wanted her to look strong, resolute and attractive, but I also felt that her features should reflect something of the diversity of the people of Britain in the twenty-first century.” [33]

2022SilverProofDan ThorneBritannia with trident and lion shieldDan Thorne said of his design, “My goal with this coin was to merge a classical feel with something that appeals to a wider, modern audience. I put the figure in a three-quarter view that we don’t normally see her in but kept the iconic distant gaze and proud stance. I wanted to have a fully 3D modelled Britannia but with the background in a flatter, graphic style in order to make her really stand out. I have included all the iconic imagery associated with Britannia – the lion, waves and flag – but in a more subtle way. All these elements are surrounded by the beading that is reminiscent of older coins.” [34]

See also

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