Jonathan Olliffe, designer of the 2023 Britannia coin design 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 serpent 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 recognisable 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.