This year marks the 25th anniversary of Britannia proof coins from the Royal Mint. To acknowledge the milestone, special 2012 proof coins in gold and silver have been released containing the original reverse design used on the inaugural 1987 issues.
Along with individual coins, the Royal Mint has also created special multi-coin sets for release as part of the anniversary celebration. Among them are nine-coin sets featuring the varying designs seen in the series since its debut.
When first introduced in 1987, the reverse of these extremely popular proof coins showcased Philip Nathan’s portrait of Britannia standing in a classical, flowing gown, armed with her trident and shield and wearing a Corinthian helmet.
"Philip Nathan’s design captures Britannia in her full splendor and is itself a triumph of numismatic art," states Dr. Kevin Clancy, Director of the Royal Mint Museum. "It draws its inspiration from a strongly maritime approach, Britannia windswept on a cliff-top, the very essence of authority and elegance. In such a momentous year for Britain it is entirely fitting for the coinage to be graced with an acknowledged masterpiece."
Eight other depictions of Britannia have been featured in the series since then. Of those, four more are the work of Nathan with the remaining completed by artists Christopher Le Brun, John Bergdahl, and two by Suzie Zamit.
These proof coins were originally produced in gold to one ounce and fractional 1/2, 1/4, and 1/10th ounce sizes. Proof coins in silver were added to the UK line-up ten years later in 1997. However, the use of Britannia’s image on coins dates back to the seventeenth century and has remained an integral figure on coinage from Great Britain ever since.
2012 Britannia proof coins in gold are available in 1/10th ounce coins (£10 face value), 1/4 ounce coins (£25 face value), a Three-Coin Set, and a Four-Coin Set. 2012 Britannia proof coins in silver include a Brilliant Uncirculated One Ounce Coin, a Proof One Ounce Coin, and a Four-Coin Set. Both gold and silver coins showcase the 1987 Philip Nathan image of Britannia.
In addition, the aforementioned nine-coin 25th anniversary sets are also available. The half-ounce silver collection contains nine coins, each with a face value of £1 and struck from .958 fine silver. Then there is a very limited gold collection containing nine £50 face value coins each struck from 22-karat, or .916 fine gold.
Specifications on the individual coins and the anniversary sets are provided below:
2012 Britannia Coin Specifications
|Brilliant Uncirculated One Ounce||Silver Proof One Ounce||Gold Proof Tenth- Ounce||Gold Proof Quarter- Ounce|
|Alloy||.958 Silver||.958 Silver||22-Karat Gold||22-Karat Gold|
Specifications for 2012 Britannia Anniversary Sets
|Silver Proof Four-Coin Set||Gold Proof Three-Coin Set||Gold Proof Four-Coin Set||2012 Britannia Silver Nine-Coin Set||2012 Britannia Gold Nine-Coin Set|
|Diameter||£2: 40.00mm £1: 27.00mm 50p: 22.00mm 20p: 16.50mm||£50: 27.00mm £25: 22.00mm £10: 16.50mm||£100: 32.69mm £50: 27.00mm £25: 22.00mm £10: 16.50mm||27.00mm||27.00mm|
|Weight||£2: 32.45g £1: 16.22g 50p: 8.11g 20p: 3.24g||£50: 17.02g £25: 8.51g £10: 3.41g||£100: 34.05g £50: 17.02g £25: 8.51g £10: 3.41g||16.22g||17.02g|
|Alloy||.958 Silver||22-Karat Gold||22-Karat Gold||.958 Silver||22-Karat Gold|
|Denomination||£2, £1, 50p and 20p||£50, £25, £10||£100, £50, £25, £10||£1||£50|
The obverse of each coin showcases Ian Rank-Broadleys effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. A crenellated edge particular to Britannia coins is also seen on each strike.
To place an order or find more information about any of the proof coins or anniversary sets, visit the Royal Mint website at www.royalmint.com.
About UK Royal Mint
The Royal Mint has a history dating back over 1,000 years. By the late thirteenth century the organization was based in the Tower of London, and remained there for over 500 years. By 1812, the Royal Mint had moved out of the Tower to premises on London’s Tower Hill. In 1967 the building of a new Royal Mint began on its current site in Llantrisant, South Wales.