The 2014 Britannia Proof Collection… and the United Kingdom’s smallest coin
The changing face of Britain as personified by the figure of Britannia is captured once again on The Royal Mint’s Britannia Gold and Silver Proof Collection, which for 2014 includes the smallest coin to be minted since the forming of the United Kingdom more than 300 years ago. Following on from Robert Hunt’s 2013 Grecian Britannia, this year’s elegant yet powerful interpretation by Royal Mint engraver Jody Clark features an art deco Britannia, standing proudly in front of a three-dimensional globe, accompanied by a lion, its tail draped protectively around her feet.
Britannia first appeared on Roman coins about 2,000 years ago, and since then has evolved to represent the strengths and challenges of Britain, from queen of the seas on the copper coins of George III to the warrior seen on the pennies of George IV and through the change brought about by decimalisation when she graced Christopher Ironside’s famous 50p. Britannia returns in 2014 re-imagined in a stunning contemporary reverse design.
For centuries, artists have used symbols to convey Britannia’s virtues – the trident and spear for might, balanced by her delicately draped robes, or an olive branch for peace. The design for 2014 by Jody Clark revisits this tradition.
Jody explains: “In approaching my design I started by researching what had gone before. Britannia has appeared in so many different compositions and with such a variety of symbols, I wanted my design to recall her history and tradition but with the elements surrounding Britannia, rather than weighing her down.
“Although some of the elements are motionless – the globe as a backdrop, the shield and trident placed at her side – I feel there is a dynamism to the design. There is a sense of movement as Britannia’s hair and robes flow, as does the mane of the lion, an iconic symbol of strength and pride that I was keen to include, and I hope that the two appear united as I intended them. Although the lion is at Britannia’s feet, its tail is curled around her, protective and tamed.”
The Britannia collection for 2014 is being launched in July with a choice of individual coins and sets, struck in 999 fine silver or 999.9 fine gold. This will be followed by the release on an individual basis of the Fortieth-Ounce coin in September. Each coin is housed in a distinguished Royal Mint case, tailored to each coin or set, complemented by a booklet that reveals Britannia’s story and the inspiration behind the design. A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany the chosen item, confirming that it is part of a limited presentation.
About The Royal Mint
The Royal Mint is one of the world’s oldest and most venerable organisations, with an unbroken history of minting British coinage dating back over 1000 years. Though more than ten centuries have passed since then, The Royal Mint’s reputation for both quality and integrity has always endured.
While The Royal Mint’s finest traditions are always respected, it continually innovates in order to stay at the forefront of world minting, embracing the latest production techniques and technology in order to offer excellence to our clients across the globe. By underpinning our proud heritage with a highly progressive outlook, coins from The Royal Mint remain a byword for trust and reliability the world over.
There were estimated to be 28.9 billion UK coins in circulation at 31 March 2014 ,with a total face value of £3.9 billion, all manufactured by The Royal Mint. In total, nearly 2 billion UK coins were issued during 2012-13
As well as over 1,000 years of producing British coinage, The Royal Mint has long been trusted with the currencies of other countries. It currently serves more than 100 issuing authorities around the world and meets approximately 15% of global demand, making us the world’s leading export mint.
In April 2014, The Royal Mint unveiled plans to develop a purpose-built visitor centre at its headquarters in Llantrisant, South Wales. Construction is expected to be completed during 2016.