|Coin||Gold Fortieth-Ounce 2020 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.
This year’s design is both respectful of the past as well as a contemporary interpretation. Britannia stands facing into the wind, a trident planted into the rocks as the waves crashes around her. On her arm she holds a shield featuring the head of a lion.
James Tottle is the designer of the 2020 Britannia collection and is best known for his dramatic ice sculptures; magnificent figures carved from large frozen blocks. In 2018, James went on to win a live ice sculpting competition with a red dragon’s head at Tatry Ice Master.
Born and brought up in South Wales, James Tottle said of his design, “I felt that a strong pose with a striking silhouette of Britannia in the foreground alongside the Union flag in the background would produce a well-balanced image; I also wanted to feature the lion so I worked it onto the shield. The image needed some movement and drama so I used crashing wave and a billowing dress to achieve this.”
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 facing half right, with billowing robes, her crested Corinthian helmet pushed back. In her left hand, a trident planted into the rock at her feet; her right hand holds a shield featuring a lion's head. In the background below, crashing waves. The rest of the background design displays the characteristic lines of the Union Jack.
Around, the inscription BRITANNIA 1/40 oz 999.9 FINE GOLD. The date of issue, 2020, is horizontal, incuse in the line of the cross of the Union Jack.
The artist's initials JT (for James Tottle) are in the right field, below the end of the inscription.
This fortieth-ounce gold proof coin was issued in sets only, not individually.
Coins from the Britannia 2020 series (different designs for proof and bullion):
- 1 oz Platinum Bullion, Britannia 2020
- 1/4 oz Platinum Proof, Britannia 2020
- 1/10 oz Platinum Bullion, Britannia 2020
- 5 oz Gold Proof, Britannia 2020
- 2 oz Gold Proof, Britannia 2020
- 1 oz Gold Bullion, Britannia 2020
- 1 oz Gold Bullion (Oriental version), Britannia 2020
- 1 oz Gold Proof, Britannia 2020
- 1/2 oz Gold Bullion, Britannia 2020
- 1/2 oz Gold Proof, Britannia 2020
- 1/4 oz Gold Bullion, Britannia 2020
- 1/4 oz Gold Proof, Britannia 2020
- 1/10 oz Gold Bullion, Britannia 2020
- 1/10 oz Gold Proof, Britannia 2020
- 1/20 oz Gold Proof, Britannia 2020
- 1/40 oz Gold Proof, Britannia 2020
- 1 kg Silver Proof, Britannia 2020
- 5 oz Silver Proof, Britannia 2020
- 1 oz Silver Bullion, Britannia 2020
- 1 oz Silver Bullion (Oriental version), Britannia 2020
- 1 oz Silver Proof, Britannia 2020
- 1/2 oz Silver Proof, Britannia 2020
- 1/4 oz Silver Proof, Britannia 2020
- 1/10 oz Silver Bullion, Britannia 2020
- 1/10 oz Silver Proof, Britannia 2020
- 1/20 oz Silver Proof, Britannia 2020
- 1/40 oz Silver Proof, Britannia 2020