|Coin||Silver Tenth-Ounce 2008 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 tenth-ounce silver piece is officially denominated as 20 pence). There is also a five-ounce coin of face value £10.
The coins of the Britannia range in 2008 bear a new reverse design, this time by artist John Bergdahl, featuring Britannia on the beach, with her robes morphing into a giant waves, and a lighthouse in the background reminiscent of British pre-decimal designs.
The Royal Mint says:
"A new standing portrait of Britannia has been created for the coins of 2008 and is the work of John Bergdahl who wanted to convey a sense of Britannia being at one with the wind and sea and to make her seem elemental. He also wanted to incorporate traditional motifs, like the lighthouse, which have long been associated with Britannia in coin designs. Britannia here is shown to be maiden-like and innocent while at the same time being a warrior princess."
The tenth-ounce (1/10oz) silver coin was issued in Proof FDC grade only, in mint sets and as individual boxed proof coins.
The obverse of the coins shows the crowned mature head of Queen Elizabeth II facing right (her effigy known as the "Fourth Portrait"). The Queen wears the "Girls of Great Britain and Ireland" diamond tiara, a wedding gift from Queen Mary (Her Majesty's grandmother) in 1947 - which she also has on the Machin and the Gottwald portraits.
In small letters below the head, the artist's initials IRB (for Ian Rank-Broadley).
Around the effigy is the monarch's legend: ELIZABETH ' II D ' G REG ' FID ' DEF ' 20 ' 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.
At centre, the standing figure of Britannia facing right, holding a trident in her right hand and with a shield at her left side, decorated with the cross of the Union Jack with "heraldic stripes" indicating its colours. She wears a crested Corinthian helmet, pushed back to reveal her face. The fold of her dress transform into a wave. There is a lighthouse to the right.
Around above left, the inscription BRITANNIA, and the date 2008 above right. Around below, · 1/10 OUNCE FINE SILVER ·.
The artist's initials JB (for John Bergdahl) are incuse in the rocks under the lighthouse.
725 individual coins, plus coins in sets.