- The Royal Mint has unveiled its 2023 Britannia commemorative collection – the first to bear His Majesty King Charles III’s official portrait.
- This year’s Britannia coin has been designed by Jonathan Olliffe and is inspired by Britannia’s maritime origins.
- The 2023 Britannia coin will be available to buy in collectible sets as well as individually in a range of precious metals.
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The Royal Mint, the official maker of coins for the United Kingdom, has launched its annual Britannia coin collection. This is the first opportunity for collectors to own a commemorative Britannia coin bearing His Majesty King Charles III’s official portrait.
This year’s Britannia coin design has been created by Jonathan Olliffe, who previously designed the Gymnastics 50p coin for the 2012 London Olympics. Jonathan’s depiction of Britannia is inspired by her maritime origins. The design features Britannia riding a chariot through the waves, drawn by mighty sea creatures, to symbolize her protecting the nation and its shores. This year’s design is more reminiscent of historic seals and medals, particularly those from 18th-century iconic designs.
The design includes many of the familiar symbols that are associated with Britannia. In this year’s design, Britannia can be seen wearing a Corinthian helmet as well as carrying a trident and a shield decorated with the Union Flag. On closer inspection, a face of a lion can also be seen at the front of the chariot, with the chariot being pulled through the waves by horses that bear the characteristics of aquatic creatures like seahorses, with scales on their bodies and fins in place of manes and hooves.
Jonathan Olliffe, the designer of the 2023 Britannia coin, said:
“It was my aim to create something authentic and truly original, whilst maintaining a classic style. Philip Nathan’s 1997 Britannia coin design depicts a horse and chariot. I liked the concept of featuring a chariot within the design but in a less predictable way, and I mixed the horse form with a seahorse, and it worked! The fin or tail at the back added an element of the mystical to it. I looked at classical paintings and the anatomy of horses, and sea life imagery.
“These mystical aquatic creatures with suggestions of horse-like anatomy feature heavily in the foreground of the design and maintain a strong and empowering presence as they rise from the ocean waves, adding a sense of depth and structure to the design.”
Rebecca Morgan, Director of Collector Services, said:
“Britannia has a long and enduring history on UK coins and is instantly recognizable among collectors across the world. From her first appearance on Roman coins through to featuring on every coin bearing a British monarch since the reign of Charles II. The 2023 commemorative Britannia coin celebrates a true icon who’s evolved through the ages on coins produced by The Royal Mint, with this year’s design highlighting her maritime origins and connection.
“We anticipate the 2023 Britannia commemorative coin to be extremely popular among collectors, with it being the first edition in the range to bear His Majesty King Charles III’s official portrait.”
The figure of Britannia first appeared on Roman coins but disappeared with the end of the Roman Empire. Britannia re-emerged in the Elizabethan era but only returned to coins in 1672 during the reign of Charles II. From that time to the present day, she has featured on the coins of every British monarch.
The Britannia 2023 collection is available in a range of precious metals individually and as part of sets. To purchase the 2023 Britannia coin, visit The Royal Mint’s website.