Britannia | The Royal Mint

Add to your collection of iconic Britannia coins


Britannia Gifts

2017 Collection

100% reserved

Britannia 2017 UK One-Ounce Silver Brilliant Uncirculated Coin

Britannia 2017 UK One-Ounce Silver Brilliant Uncirculated Coin

Limited Edition 10,000

£52.50

No Longer Available

Britannia 2017 UK Fortieth-Ounce Gold Proof Coin

Britannia 2017 UK Fortieth-Ounce Gold Proof Coin

Limited Edition 1,500

£70.00

No Longer Available

Britannia 2015 Fortieth-Ounce Gold Proof Coin

Britannia 2015 Fortieth-Ounce Gold Proof Coin

Limited Edition 7,500

£55.00

No Longer Available

Discover Britannia

Britannia on British coins

Britannia first appeared on coins back in the Roman era. In the second century AD Emperor Hadrian introduced a number of coins that depicted a female figure who personified Britain, with the label ‘BRITANNIA’. When the Romans left Britain in the early 400s, Britannia vanished from coins and wasn’t to appear again for several centuries. In fact it wasn’t until Elizabeth I’s reign in the 1600s that Britannia started to play a part in national life once more. She featured in contemporary drama and literature, symbolising the growing maritime empire of the Tudor queen.

Charles II Britannia

In 1636 the legal scholar John Selden argued that Britannia proved Britain’s claim to the seas around her. He said that Britannia had been shown on Roman coins seated amidst the waves, portraying our naval strength. Perhaps that was why that Charles II chose to reintroduce Britannia onto our coins in 1672. Britain’s maritime strength was under threat and the king hoped that Britannia would inspire the nation.

A long reign

Since her reappearance in 1672, Britannia has never been absent from the nation’s coins. Over the years she became more and more associated with the sea. On the famous cartwheel pennies and twopences of 1797 she was shown seated on rocks in the sea, with a ship in the background and her spear replaced by a trident.

George III Britannia

Britannia continued to reign supreme on the copper and bronze coins of every monarch. When the UK switched to decimal coinage in 1971, Britannia appeared on the definitive 50p coin. Her lasting presence on our coins made her the perfect choice when The Royal Mint was choosing a subject to appear on coins for the international bullion markets. She was an appealing and distinctive figure that was also instantly recognisable as British. She featured on the first gold Britannia coins in 1987 and on the first silver Britannia coins in 1997.

1987 Britannia gold coin

She continues to be reinterpreted by different artists to this day, with different aspects of her nature and symbolism emphasised to reflect the times. She also remains a feature of the coins we use every day and her image graces the current definitive £2 coin.

2011 Britannia coin design

A Changing Horizon

Instantly recognisable all over the world, Britannia is perhaps our most famous national symbol. Inspired and iconic, she channels the spirit of a nation – a manifestation of the quirks and characteristics that make us who we are. As the twenty-first century reshapes Britain, redefining our sense of self, Britannia returns anew – a familiar figure looks towards a changing horizon.

Origins of an Icon

As the Roman Empire expanded, subjugated provinces were personified with female figures in a bid to establish order and create a sense of political unity. A warrior seated on rocks with a spear in her hand, Britannia first appeared on the coins of the Emperor Hadrian more than 2,000 years ago. When the Romans left the shores around 400 AD, Britannia vanished with them, only to experience a cultural revival during the reign of Elizabeth I. A return to coinage followed in 1672 as Charles II sought to inspire the British people by depicting this stirring symbol on the farthing and halfpenny, bolstering his claim to lordship of the seas. She’s been a fixture on Britain’s coins ever since.

coins

modern Britain

A Modern Iteration

Britannia’s story is one of reinvention and renewal. As Britain changes, so does our national symbol. Imperious or understated, each incarnation reflects the mood of the times. Britannia nods to our illustrious past but looks forward to new horizons. As Britain charts a new path, there’s plenty for us to shout about: trend-setting creatives, world-beating athletes and pioneering scientists who continue to reshape the world and how we perceive it. Channelling this sense of national pride, we rally behind Britannia come crisis or celebration. Reimagined once more, she adopts a brand new guise in tune with changing times, an icon for the twenty-first century.

Discover Britannia Designs

Britannia on British Coins

Britannia has featured on British coins for many years. She appeared on the copper coins of Charles II and the famous cartwheel pennies, and later bronze pennies, of every monarch up until decimalisation. Britannia was subsequently chosen to appear on the definitive 50p coin.

Read more

Britannia and the Romans

It was the practice of the Romans to personify continents and countries as female figures and for the Province of Britannia they used the seated figure of Britannia. Discover the history of Britannia and the Romans with The Royal Mint.

Read more

The Britannia Design for 2011

Continuing The Royal Mint tradition of working with exciting artists and craftspeople, discover how The Royal Mint commissioned sculptor David Mach to produce a new Britannia coin design in 2011.

Read more

back to top