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.
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.”
This fortieth-ounce silver proof coin was issued in sets only, not individually.