Britannia, The Changing Face Of Britain
14 Jul 2016
The Royal Mint has launched its perennial classic for 2016, The Britannia Proof Coin Collection. The range, which includes individual coins such as the United Kingdom’s smallest coin weighing just one fortieth-ounce and the Premium Six-Coin Set, is struck in fine gold and fine silver to Proof finish. This year for the first time since 2012, the range features the ¼ oz Gold edition of the coin.
Britannia, a figure conceived by the Romans to represent the female personification of Britain, has featured prominently on the nation’s coinage for centuries. It has become a Royal Mint tradition to feature a new design on Britannia coins each year, with every artist presenting their own unique interpretation of Britannia to reflect the changing face of Britain.
The 2016 design shows a proud, patriotic Britannia with the British lion at her feet, a familiar pairing in popular history. With Britannia representing the nation, the lion is often used to depict the courage and strength of the British people. The lion is at rest, ready to rise at her command to the defence of the realm.
Sculptor Suzie Zamit is the only woman to have designed a coin featuring Britannia, the iconic female symbol of Britain. The 2016 Britannia is her third design for The Royal Mint, following her design for the 2010 Britannia coin range and the 2009 Charles Darwin Bicentenary £2 coin.
Susie 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.”
Each Britannia set and coin is housed in a Royal Mint branded case, tailored accordingly to the contents, and is complemented by a booklet that reveals Britannia’s story and the inspiration behind the design.