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Britannia has represented Britain for almost 2,000 years, reflecting the strengths and interests of this island nation. She first appeared on Roman coins and from 1672 has graced the coins of every British monarch. In 1987 came an important new coin, the Britannia. And from 2013 she will begin a new chapter as the changing face of Britain, with a new design by a British artist each year, new and purer precious metals and new denominations – including this Britannia Gold Proof Twentieth-Ounce Coin, fine, and so beautiful.
An iconic symbol Britannia is instantly recognisable in all her incarnations, from the early personification of Britain on Roman coins to the Victorian ruler of the waves complete with warrior’s helmet and Neptune’s trident. She is always of her time, each new depiction a mirror of Britain. The 2013 Britannia artist, portrait sculptor Robert Hunt, has created a traditional Britannia, seated in a pose recalling the familiar reverse design of the 50p and draped in classical robes. But his Britannia turns her head to listen to the wider world, a wisdom encapsulated in the owl – a most modern twist.