The Britannia image has been on British coins for centuries. But no longer. For the first time in more than 300 years, the figure of Britannia will not appear on new British coins.
The image first appeared on the copper farthing back in 1672. And like Lady Liberty is for the US, the Britannia image is filled with history and is symbolic of British democracy, patriotism and liberties.
The coming disappearance of Britannia from new British coinage has caused a bit of a stir for Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who approved the change as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Brown’s approval is marked in contrast to his public campaign of British patriotism, say critics.
“The new coins will be launched in the spring in accordance with the end of a long process. The Queen personally approved the designs, in accordance with the Royal Mint, and there’s a lot of excitement about the project, for which I’m sure the nation will be equally proud once they see the product.”
Although the newest coins will no longer bear the Britannia image, there is no stated law or intent for it to never return.
For another perspective of this story, read the following Newscom article, British coins to lose Britannia symbol: