|Coin||Gold Fortieth-Ounce 2017 Britannia|
Like many other mints, the Royal Mint issues bullion coins in precious metals, having much higher intrinsic value than their face value. The one-fortieth ounce (1/40 oz) gold coins are denominated as Fifty Pence (50p) and have been issued since 2014.
These tiny coins are legal tender but are not intended for circulation. They are targeted at collectors who appreciate the special editions as pieces of art. The coins are typically "one-year" types usually issued in parallel with other denominations with the same reverse designs.
Britannia as a symbol has been depicted on British coinage for centuries. The bullion series called Britannia has been issued in gold since 1987 and in silver since 1997; it has a "definitive" depiction - used on bullion coins (Brilliant Uncirculated grade), as well as “Britannia, the Changing Face of Britain” - a series of one-year designs like this one - used on proofs made for collectors.
While firmly rooted in the times of the Romans, a modern Britannia has emerged, appearing as a symbol of design excellence in high fashion magazines and associated with all things fashionable during the ‘Cool Britannia’ phase in the 1990s. On the 30th anniversary of the gold Britannia bullion coin, fine art student Louis Tamlyn has created a contemporary reverse design, reflecting a time of political change when the eyes of the world have often been on Britain. His design also contains a trident mint mark that celebrates these important anniversaries.
This fortieth-ounce gold proof coin was issued individually and in sets.
The obverse of the coin depicts the crowned old head of Queen Elizabeth II facing right, wearing the Royal Diamond Diadem crown worn for her Coronation (her effigy known as the "Fifth Portrait").
In small letters below the head, the artist's initials J.C (for Jody Clark).
Running continuously around the effigy is the monarch's legend: ELIZABETH II · D · G · REG · F · D · 50 PENCE ·. Translated from Latin: Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen, Defender of the Faith, followed by the value and denomination in English.
The reverse shows the standing figure of Britannia, in a style breaking with earlier traditional depictions. She is seen from the back, cradling her trident in one arm and holding a shield in the other hand (textured with concentric circles), and is wearing the familiar crested Corinthian helmet. Britannia's lower torso and legs are transformed into a map of Great Britain, with lines radiating outward from the centre of the coin.
To her right, the design displays the characteristic lines of the Union Jack.
Around, the inscription BRITANNIA 1/40 oz FINE GOLD 999.9 2017, interrupted in the right field by a trident privy mark with the numerals 30 between its teeth, as a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the gold Britannia range.
The artist's initials LWT (for Louis Tamlyn) are between the trident mark and the 2 of 2017. The face value is on the obverse.
Individual coins were issued in a presentation folder, Royal Mint product code: BR17G40, issue price £70.00; 888 issued from limit of 1,500.