Information about National Symbol: Britannia, Seated

Britannia, Seated
Ionian Islands / Two Oboli 1819

The figure of Britannia is best known as a national personification of the United Kingdom. The name is a Latinisation of the native Brittonic word for the island, Pretanī, which also produced the Greek form Prettanike or Brettaniai, which originally, in the fourth to the first centuries BC, designated a collection of islands with individual names, including Albion or Britain. In Modern Welsh the name remains Prydain. After the Roman conquest in 43 AD, Britannia meant Roman Britain, a province covering the island south of Caledonia (roughly Scotland). Britannia is the name given to the female personification of the island, and it is a term still used to refer to the whole island.

When Roman Britain was divided into four provinces in 197 AD, two were called Britannia Superior and Britannia Inferior. Even then, an allegorical figure of Britannia was already depicted on some provincial Roman coins struck on the island.

A British cultural icon, she has featured on old English coins since 1672, as well as on some colonial coinage. On modern (decimal) coins, she was first featured on the 50 pence denomination from 1969 until the redesign of all circulating coinage in 2008. With a new image, she is now depicted on the definitive £2 coin issued annually since 2015, as well as on the gold and silver "Britannia" bullion coin series.

The figure has traditionally been depicted seated (as on the coins listed below); however, on some coins the figure is standing, for which see separate list.

Britannia, Seated - Example/s on coins
Ionian Islands / Two Oboli 1819

Britannia on colonial coinage

Ionian Islands / Two Oboli 1819

The figure of Britannia was also displayed on the coinage of British colonies and protectorates, such as this example on a Two Oboli coin (equal to a penny) from the Ionian Islands. The island issued their own coinage, compatible with the small British pre-decimal denominations in its dimensions and composition, from 1819 to 1964.

United Kingdom / Fifty Pence 2019 New Pence (NCLT)

Britannia on 50p coins

United Kingdom / Fifty Pence 2019 New Pence (NCLT)

The figure of Britannia graced the first coins of the 50 pence denomination of the British decimal Pound Sterling, which was introduced in 1969 - a couple of years before decimalisation, initially to circulate in parallel with the existing pre-decimal coinage.

The coins were later made smaller while retaining the design by Christopher Ironside, but were then replaced by a new design in 2008.

The iconic design is sometimes re-issued by the Royal Mint as Non-Circulating Commemorative (NCLT) coins for collectors, such as the one pictured here.

Britannia, Seated - showing 100 of 543 coins (Page 1 of 6)
CountryNameMintageLegend
United Kingdom Penny 1806 unknown GEORGIUS III · D : G · REX. 1806
United Kingdom Halfpenny 1806 unknown GEORGIUS III · D : G · REX. 1806
United Kingdom Farthing 1806 unknown GEORGIUS III · D : G · REX. 1806
United Kingdom Halfpenny 1807 unknown GEORGIUS III · D : G · REX. 1807
United Kingdom Penny 1807 unknown GEORGIUS III · D : G · REX. 1807
United Kingdom Farthing 1807 unknown GEORGIUS III · D : G · REX. 1807
United Kingdom Penny 1808 (Proof only) 1 GEORGIUS III · D : G · REX. 1808
Ionian Islands One Obol 1819 8,279,040 ΙΟΝΙΚΟΝ ΚΡΑΤΟΣ 1819.
Ionian Islands Two Oboli 1819 4,139,520 ΙΟΝΙΚΟΝ ΚΡΑΤΟΣ 1819
Ionian Islands Two Lepta 1819 9,461,760 ΙΟΝΙΚΟΝ ΚΡΑΤΟΣ 1819.
Ionian Islands Two Lepta 1820 9,461,760 ΙΟΝΙΚΟΝ ΚΡΑΤΟΣ 1820.
Ionian Islands One Lepton 1821 unknown ΙΟΝΙΚΟΝ ΚΡΑΤΟΣ 1821
United Kingdom Farthing 1821 2,688,000 GEORGIUS IIII DEI GRATIA.
United Kingdom Farthing 1822 5,924,352 GEORGIUS IIII DEI GRATIA.
United Kingdom Farthing 1823 2,365,440 GEORGIUS IIII DEI GRATIA.
United Kingdom Farthing 1825 4,300,800 GEORGIUS IIII DEI GRATIA.
United Kingdom Halfpenny 1825 215,040 GEORGIUS IV DEI GRATIA · 1825 ·
United Kingdom Penny 1825 1,075,200 GEORGIUS IV DEI GRATIA · 1825 ·
United Kingdom Farthing 1826 (First Issue) 6,666,240 GEORGIUS IIII DEI GRATIA.
United Kingdom Farthing 1826 (Second Issue) 6,666,240 GEORGIUS IV DEI GRATIA · 1826 ·
United Kingdom Halfpenny 1826 9,031,630 GEORGIUS IV DEI GRATIA · 1826 ·
United Kingdom Penny 1826 5,913,600 GEORGIUS IV DEI GRATIA · 1826 ·
United Kingdom Penny 1827 1,451,520 GEORGIUS IV DEI GRATIA · 1827 ·
United Kingdom Halfpenny 1827 5,376,000 GEORGIUS IV DEI GRATIA · 1827 ·
United Kingdom Farthing 1827 2,365,440 GEORGIUS IV DEI GRATIA · 1827 ·
United Kingdom Third Farthing 1827 1,440,000 GEORGIUS IV DEI GRATIA · 1827 ·
United Kingdom Half Farthing 1828 7,680,000 GEORGIUS IV DEI GRATIA 1828
United Kingdom Farthing 1828 2,365,440 GEORGIUS IV DEI GRATIA · 1828 ·
United Kingdom Farthing 1829 1,505,280 GEORGIUS IV DEI GRATIA · 1829 ·
United Kingdom Half Farthing 1830 8,776,320 GEORGIUS IV DEI GRATIA 1830
United Kingdom Farthing 1830 2,365,440 GEORGIUS IV DEI GRATIA · 1830 ·
United Kingdom Farthing 1831 2,688,000 GULIELMUS IIII DEI GRATIA 1831
United Kingdom Halfpenny 1831 806,400 GULIELMUS IIII DEI GRATIA 1831
United Kingdom Penny 1831 806,400 GULIELMUS IIII DEI GRATIA 1831
Ionian Islands Thirty Lepta 1834 unknown 30 ΙΟΝΙΚΟΝ ΚΡΑΤΟΣ 1834
Ionian Islands One Lepton 1834 unknown ΙΟΝΙΚΟΝ ΚΡΑΤΟΣ 1834.
United Kingdom Farthing 1834 1,935,360 GULIELMUS IIII DEI GRATIA 1834
United Kingdom Halfpenny 1834 537,600 GULIELMUS IIII DEI GRATIA 1834
United Kingdom Penny 1834 322,560 GULIELMUS IIII DEI GRATIA 1834
Ionian Islands One Lepton 1835 unknown ΙΟΝΙΚΟΝ ΚΡΑΤΟΣ 1835
United Kingdom Farthing 1835 1,720,320 GULIELMUS IIII DEI GRATIA 1835
United Kingdom Third Farthing 1835 1,451,520 GULIELMUS IIII DEI GRATIA 1835
United Kingdom Farthing 1836 1,290,240 GULIELMUS IIII DEI GRATIA 18316
United Kingdom Fourpence 1836 4,253,040 GULIELMUS IIII D:G: BRITANNIAR: REX F:D:
United Kingdom Fourpence 1837 (William IV) 962,280 GULIELMUS IIII D: G: BRITANNIAR: REX F: D:
United Kingdom Fourpence 1837 (Victoria, Proof only) unknown VICTORIA D: G: BRITANNIAR: REGINA F: D:
United Kingdom Halfpenny 1837 349,440 GULIELMUS IIII DEI GRATIA 1837
United Kingdom Penny 1837 174,720 GULIELMUS IIII DEI GRATIA 1837
United Kingdom Half Farthing 1837 1,935,360 GULIELMUS IIII DEI GRATIA. 1837
United Kingdom Farthing 1837 3,010,560 GULIELMUS IIII DEI GRATIA 1837
United Kingdom Fourpence 1838 2,150,280 VICTORIA D: G: BRITANNIAR: REGINA F: D:
United Kingdom Halfpenny 1838 456,960 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1838
United Kingdom Farthing 1838 591,360 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1838
United Kingdom Fourpence 1839 1,461,240 VICTORIA D: G: BRITANNIAR: REGINA F: D:
United Kingdom Penny 1839 (Proof only) unknown VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1839
United Kingdom Halfpenny 1839 (Proof only) unknown VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1839
United Kingdom Farthing 1839 4,300,800 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1839
United Kingdom Farthing 1840 3,010,560 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1840
United Kingdom Fourpence 1840 1,496,880 VICTORIA D: G: BRITANNIAR: REGINA F: D:
United Kingdom Halfpenny 1841 1,075,200 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1841
United Kingdom Farthing 1841 1,720,320 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1841
United Kingdom Penny 1841 913,920 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1841
United Kingdom Fourpence 1841 344,520 VICTORIA D: G: BRITANNIAR: REGINA F: D:
United Kingdom Farthing 1842 1,290,240 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1842
United Kingdom Fourpence 1842 724,680 VICTORIA D: G: BRITANNIAR: REGINA F: D:
United Kingdom Penny 1843 483,840 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1843
United Kingdom Farthing 1843 4,085,760 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1843
United Kingdom Fourpence 1843 1,817,640 VICTORIA D: G: BRITANNIAR: REGINA F: D:
United Kingdom Halfpenny 1843 967,680 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1843
United Kingdom Penny 1844 215,040 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1844
United Kingdom Farthing 1844 430,080 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1844
United Kingdom Halfpenny 1844 1,075,200 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1844
United Kingdom Third Farthing 1844 1,301,040 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1844
United Kingdom Fourpence 1844 855,360 VICTORIA D: G: BRITANNIAR: REGINA F: D:
United Kingdom Fourpence 1845 914,760 VICTORIA D: G: BRITANNIAR: REGINA F: D:
United Kingdom Penny 1845 322,560 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1845
United Kingdom Halfpenny 1845 1,075,200 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1845
United Kingdom Farthing 1845 3,225,600 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1845
United Kingdom Halfpenny 1846 860,160 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1846
United Kingdom Farthing 1846 2,580,480 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1846
United Kingdom Fourpence 1846 1,366,200 VICTORIA D: G: BRITANNIAR: REGINA F: D:
United Kingdom Penny 1846 483,840 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1846
United Kingdom Farthing 1847 3,879,720 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1847
United Kingdom Penny 1847 430,080 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1847
United Kingdom Fourpence 1847 226,200 VICTORIA D: G: BRITANNIAR: REGINA F: D:
United Kingdom Halfpenny 1847 752,640 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1847
Ionian Islands One Lepton 1848 unknown ΙΟΝΙΚΟΝ ΚΡΑΤΟΣ 1848
Ionian Islands Thirty Lepta 1848 unknown 30 ΙΟΝΙΚΟΝ ΚΡΑΤΟΣ 1848.
United Kingdom Halfpenny 1848 322,560 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1848
United Kingdom Fourpence 1848 712,800 VICTORIA D: G: BRITANNIAR: REGINA F: D:
United Kingdom Penny 1848 161,280 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1848
United Kingdom Farthing 1848 1,290,240 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1848
Ionian Islands One Lepton 1849 unknown ΙΟΝΙΚΟΝ ΚΡΑΤΟΣ 1849
Ionian Islands Thirty Lepta 1849 unknown 30 ΙΟΝΙΚΟΝ ΚΡΑΤΟΣ 1849
United Kingdom Fourpence 1849 380,160 VICTORIA D: G: BRITANNIAR: REGINA F: D:
United Kingdom Penny 1849 268,800 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1849
United Kingdom Farthing 1849 645,120 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1849
United Kingdom Farthing 1850 430,080 VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1850
Ionian Islands Thirty Lepta 1851 unknown 30 ΙΟΝΙΚΟΝ ΚΡΑΤΟΣ 1851
Ionian Islands One Lepton 1851 unknown ΙΟΝΙΚΟΝ ΚΡΑΤΟΣ 1851
Showing 1 to 100 of 543 Coins.
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