Last year the Royal Mint made the decision to de-couple its proof and bullion Britannia ranges. Up until 2012 the proof Britannia was merely a high-quality proof-finish version of the design that adorned the bullion coin. The artwork changed on a semi-regular basis, alternating between the classic design that now permanently sits on the 2013/14 bullion coin, and a unique design, often quite superb, all of which are visible on our Britannia silver bullion guide.
For 2013 the Royal Mint satiated the appetites of proof coin collectors with a completely different design from the bullion that despite high prices was popular, no doubt due to the superb artwork. This year they’ve not only exceeded the high standard of last years artwork, they may just have released the most beautiful design in the Britannias history to date.
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. Available in gold and silver, and in seven different sizes, most of them are only available in sets, something at which the Royal Mint excels.
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.”
Whatever the design meaning or logic, in our view the end result is phenomenal. There’s an elegance to the artwork that fits the shape to perfection and especially on the five-ounce coin where the detail on show, such as the outline of the leg below the dress, the lions mane and the helmet, are perfect. Jody Clark is to be commended for his work here.
At present the only gold coins available singly now are the 5-ounce and the 1/20-ounce, with the tiny 1/40-ounce to be released along with its silver equivalent in September. Other single silver coins are limited to the 5-ounce and the 1-ounce. The 1/40oz coin is said to be the smallest coin minted in Britain since the time of the Norman ‘conquest’ in 1066. As a novelty it’s interesting, but it’s clearly too small to do justice to the artwork which has long since deteriorated at 8mm wide.
IAN RANK BROADLEY
Numerous boxed presentation sets are available. There are two gold 3-coin sets containing 1/2oz, 1/4oz & 1/10oz, or 1/4oz, 1/10oz & 1/20oz. In addition a 250 mintage 6-coin set containing all the sizes from 1oz down to 1/40oz is available in some extremely nice packaging.
0.9999 GOLD SPECIFICATION
|£500 GBP||156.295 g||50 mm||PROOF||50 (75 TOTAL)|
|£100 GBP||31.21 g||38.61 mm||PROOF||400 (IN SETS)|
|£50 GBP||15.60 g||27 mm||PROOF||500 (IN SETS)|
|£25 GBP||7.80 g||22 mm||PROOF||650 (IN SETS)|
|£10 GBP||3.13 g||16.50 mm||PROOF||650 (IN SETS)|
|£1 GBP||1.58 g||12 mm||PROOF||1,000 (1,550 TOTAL)|
|50 GBp||0.8 g||8 mm||PROOF||9,750 (10,000 TOTAL)|
0.999 SILVER SPECIFICATION
|£10 GBP||156.295 g||65 mm||PROOF||600 (1,350 TOTAL)|
|£2 GBP||31.21 g||38.61 mm||PROOF||2,500 (5,300 TOTAL)|
|£1 GBP||15.60 g||27 mm||PROOF||2,300 (IN SETS)|
|50 GBp||7.86 g||22 mm||PROOF||2,300 (IN SETS)|
|20 GBp||3.15 g||16.50 mm||PROOF||3,300 (IN SETS)|
|10 GBp||1.58 g||12 mm||PROOF||3,300 (IN SETS)|
|5 GBp||0.8 g||8 mm||PROOF||2,750 (IN SETS)|