|Coin||Silver Fortieth-Ounce 2015 Britannia|
Britannia coins are British bullion coins issued by the Royal Mint in gold since 1987 and in silver since 1997.
The original Britannia silver coins contain one troy ounce (1 oz) of silver and have a face value of £2. Silver Britannias are also issued in fractional sizes of one-half, one-quarter, one-tenth, 1/20th and 1/40th of a troy ounce and with face values of £1, 50p, 20p, 10p and 5p respectively (that is, the fortieth-ounce silver piece is officially denominated as 5 pence). There is also a five-ounce coin of face value £10.
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.
The design for 2015 is the first commission of Antony Dufort for the Royal Mint; his interpretation of this much-loved national figure was so admired by the Mint that it was selected for the country’s new definitive bimetallic circulating £2 introduced the same year. The icon wears her familiar Corinthian helmet and holds the trident, a symbolic reminder of Britain’s maritime might. The version for the silver and gold proofs is given more details than the one on circulating coinage; there is a backdrop of a sailing ship with billowing sails, cliffs and a lighthouse - a nod to the pre-decimal penny and halfpenny designs.
This fortieth-ounce silver proof coin was issued in sets only, not individually.
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 · 5 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, the female personification of Great Britain, facing left. She is wearing a crested Corinthian helmet; in her right hand she is holding a trident which rests on her shoulder. Her shield has the symbol of the Union Jack cross on it.
In the background, cliffs and a lighthouse to left, a sailing ship to right.
Around left, the inscription 1/40 oz FINE SILVER 999 2015; around right, BRITANNIA.
The artist's initials A.D. (for Antony Dufort) are around below right, facing the opposite way to BRITANNIA.