Britannia Coin Designs
Jump to a specific year below:
The Britannia is one of the most recognisable coins in the world today, made in both gold and silver by the Royal Mint at their refinery in Llantrisant, South Wales where the Mint has been operating since the early 1970s.
The first gold Britannia was made in 1987 and has been produced annually for the last 31 years. The silver Britannia was a more recent addition to the Royal Mint’s range. Special anniversary proof editions were released in 1997 to mark the 10-year anniversary and bullion versions were released since 1998.
Upon release the gold Britannia, like the older gold Sovereigns, was a 22-carat coin. This continued to be the case until 2013, when the Royal Mint changed their policy and increased the coin’s purity to 24-carats; a step up from the gold Krugerrand to rival productions by the US and Canadian Mints.
Silver experienced a similar change, forced by competition from foreign mints. Initially, silver Britannia coins were minted at 958 fineness but in 2013 these coins changed to become 999.0 fine silver.
The Queen’s Portrait:
There have been five portraits of the Queen used on British coins since Queen Elizabeth II's coronation. The Young and Jubilee heads can be seen top left and top centre in the above image.
The first gold Britannias from 1987 to 1997 featured the third portrait of the Queen, as designed by Raphael Maklouf (top right).
Sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley won the Royal Mint’s contest to design the next portrait, and his designs were used from 1998 until 2015 (bottom left). Many commonwealth nations still use this portrait as the obverse for their coins today, most notably the Perth Mint in Australia.
Since 2015 the Royal Mint has used the fifth and likely final portrait of Queen Elizabeth (bottom right), as designed by their very own Jody Clark – the first Royal Mint employee to ever design the Queen’s portrait.
At present both the gold and silver Britannia coins feature a standing figure of the lady Britannia. This was designed by the artist and sculptor Philip Nathan and is derived from that of the Florins coin, better known as a Two Shillings.
Nathan’s coin design features Britannia looking to her left with the wind blowing her hair. In her right hand is a trident, and in her left is an olive branch clasped alongside a shield bearing the Union Flag. The artist’s signature is present at the base of the coin.
The design ran consecutively from 1987 to 1996, though a special edition was used in 1997 to mark the 10-year anniversary. It continued between 1998 and 2000 though other designs were introduced between 2001 and 2013, as listed below.
Traditional or ‘Classic’ Britannia:
This is the original design by
featuring a standing figure of the lady Britannia, complete with trident
Coins produced in this style between 2012 and 2017 were exclusively bullion coins. Unique designs were used for proof coins, as listed below.
To view specific year gold Britannias, click here.
To view our range of 1oz silver Britannias, click here.
For smaller size Britannia coins (1/2oz, 1/4oz, and 1/10oz), click here.
In this design, Britannia is riding in a two-horse chariot – a piece of imagery inspired by the Celtic Queen, Boudicca (Boadicea). This coin was also designed by Philip Nathan.
The 1997 coin was originally issued as proof only, then as part of 4-coin proof sets in 2003. The design was later re-used in 2009.
To view the 2009 gold Britannia coin, click here.
Designed by Philip Nathan , the 2001 Britannia coin features a more squared typeface. It is inspired by Queen Victoria’s ‘Una and The Lion’.
The reverse shows Britannia and the lion both facing to the left. The lady has her shield raised, trident in her
right hand behind her, and Nathan’s signature is beneath the lion’s mane.
To see our 2001 gold Britannia coin, please click here.
’s fourth Britannia design. The same typeface is used as the 2001 coin, but the tessellated
effect makes the coin look like a jigsaw and the waves stand out more notably.
The image is a side-facing portrait of Britannia, looking to the left of the coin while wearing a helmet.
To view our range of 2003 Britannia coins and sets, please click here.
The 2005 Britannia design features the lady Britannia sat down, with her trident and shield resting at her sides.
This was the last variation designed by Philip Nathan .
To view various 2005 Britannia coins and sets, click here.
Christopher Le Brun
became the first new designer of a Britannia coin. In his artwork, Britannia is sat
against a tree with the lion at her feet. A wreath runs around the tree and half the coin, while the Union Flag shield sits at her side and she plays with what looks like an olive branch.
To view the 2007 Britannia four-coin proof set, click here.
To view other 2007 Britannia coins, please click here.
The 2008 Britannia was designed by the sculptor
. The design was less busy or crowded than
previous years and showed the lady Britannia stood in amidst the crashing waves; trident in one hand, shield in the other.
A small lighthouse is visible behind her, which has led some to describe this coin as The Lighthouse Britannia.
To view the tenth, quarter, half and full ounce 2008 Britannia proof coins, click here.
To view our 2008 Proof Britannia gold four-coin boxed set, please click here.
Artist Suzie Zamit designed the reverse of this coin, with the more notably drawn style a nod back to early twentieth century French gold coins.
Britannia has a dour look on her face and is looking to the right of the coin, with leaves flanking the 2010 numbers.
Click here to view the 2010 one ounce Britannia gold coin.
For the 2010 four coin proof Britannia set, click here.
Scottish sculptor David Mach designed this Britannia; a ripple effect with Britannia amongst a billowing Union Flag.
Speaking to the Royal Mint after his coin was created, Mach said: " I worked out a design with as much movement as I could for a small surface area; movement that would encourage people to turn the coin and watch the light shift over the surface like I had done with half-crowns as a boy. My design acts as a lenticular image. The flag and Britannia appear to move reflecting a contemporary Britain; a changing Britain; a Britain which is culturally on the move but still with plenty of reasons to wave the flag.
To view the 2011 1oz gold Britannia, click here.
To see our 2011 three-coin proof gold Britannia coin set, click here.
Robert Hunt designed the first of several Proof Only coins for Royal Mint collection purposes, coinciding with the launch of the new, higher purity coins.
The design sees Britannia sat on a chair with a Greek helmet on and a different style of trident. The Union Flag
shield has disappeared, but instead an owl – a symbol of wisdom – sits on Britannia’s knee.
To view the 2013 1oz gold Britannia bullion coin, click here.
For the five-coin gold Britannia proof collection, click here.
The next Proof Only coin design came from the Royal Mint’s own Jody Clark , who in less than a year would be famed for becoming the first Mint employee to have their portrait of the Queen used for the obverse of British coins.
In Clark’s design, Britannia is posing almost like a model, still wearing the Greek helmet but with a slightly more traditional trident. A lion rests at her feet and a net-effect globe resides in the background giving a geometric, modern feel.
Click here to view the 2014 one ounce bullion Britannia gold coin.
For the 2014 proof Britannia six-coin set, click here.
The painter and sculptor Antony Dufort produced 2015’s proof design. His work includes the sculpture of Margaret Thatcher that currently resides in the Members’ Lobby of the Houses of Parliament.
This Britannia continues to keep Britannia wearing the plumed helmet but it’s a much closer portrait look at the lady once again. The shield has returned to her left side, while the trident rests on her right shoulder.
Like the 2008 Brit, a small lighthouse is visible in the background, though in this case it sits on the horizon while a ship sails inland.
Click here for the 2015 bullion gold Britannia.
Six years after her last design,
returned with another artistic piece of coin engraving. The Warrior Britannia again has Zamit’s unique style of lines, giving great detail to the coins – especially on the Lion’s mane
– and features a more traditional Britannia stood poised with shield and trident.
for the 2016 Britannia gold
British artist Louis Tamlyn produced this anniversary edition coin which is a clever mix of Britannia coming out of the United Kingdom but results in a very busy coin design.
The plumed helmet, trident, and shield all feature again, as does a subtle hint of the Union Jack to the right of the coin – with LWT engraved in the middle to indicate Tamlyn’s work.
To view the 2017 anniversary edition silver bullion Britannia,
For the proof 1/4oz gold Britannia coin complete with box & certificate, click here.
2017 – Britannia – 30th Anniversary Edition
2017 was an anniversary year for Sovereigns and Britannias. On the Sovereign coins a small shield mark resided to the left of the year. For the bullion Britannias, this mark was a small trident, just before the letter B for Britannia.
Both the gold and silver coins feature this mark, despite it being the anniversary for the gold coins. The background also features the guilloche pattern in the background behind Britannia – a new design feature to discourage counterfeiting.
Only 7,030 gold bullion Britannias and 120,000 silver bullion Britannias were minted with the trident privy mark.
For the 2017 uncirculated 30th anniversary gold Britannia, please click here.
Following the 2017 anniversary test, the new Guilloche effect was used for all 2018 Britannia coins. It was preceded by the Unicorn and the Bull of Clarence, coins part of the Queen’s Beast series, but this was by a matter of weeks.
2018 was also the year of release for the Platinum Britannia coin, limited to a mintage of 5000. This coin also
features the guilloche pattern and is a 1oz coin.
Please note that proof coins for the current year are exclusively sold by the Royal Mint unless sold back to us at BullionByPost.
2018 Oriental Border – Limited Edition:
To commemorate the Royal Mint’s move into the Asian bullion market a new bordered design of the Britannia was commissioned.
The pattern was inspired by the Chinese rooms at Buckingham Palace and the Royal Pavilion in Brighton.
Production is limited to 5,000 gold Oriental Britannias and 100,000 silver Oriental Britannias.
For help ordering any of our Britannia coins, or for more information, please call our customer support team on 0121 634 8060 or email us at [email protected]