Britain's Royal Mint revives classic Britannia design in 2012

Philip Nathan's famous design returns to mark 25th anniversary
Published : 12/14/11
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To mark the Britannia bullion coin’s 25th anniversary in 2012, the Royal Mint in Britain is reviving a classic coinage design for the silver edition in the program.

The classic Philip Nathan design of the iconic goddess will appear on the reverse of the 2012 Britannia silver £2 coin, the Royal Mint announced Nov. 2.

The Britannia program was launched in 1987 as a gold bullion coin to compete with the South African Krugerrand, Canadian Maple Leaf and American Eagle bullion coins. Ten years later, the Britannia program was expanded to offer a 1-ounce silver £2 version. All silver Britannias are struck in “Britannia silver,” the name given to an alloy of .958 fine silver.

Nine different reverse designs have appeared on the Britannia gold and silver coins since the program began in 1987, possibly none more famous than Nathan’s design, which shows a standing figure of a graceful Britannia, wind blowing her robes left while she holds a trident. Britannia wears a Corinthian helmet and bears also a shield.

Nathan based his design on De Saulle’s standing figure of Britannia on the florins of Edward VII.

Nathan’s classic design was employed on the silver and gold coins in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006, plus special designs for the Britannia in 1997 and 2001.

The 2012 Britannia silver coin weighs 32.45 grams, measures 40 millimeters and has a bullion finish. The mintage in bullion is unlimited.

The silver bullion coin is currently available both from the Royal Mint’s network of distributors at a price based on the current precious metals price plus a markup for associated production costs and slight profit, and in a collector form offered directly by the Royal Mint in a special colorful sleeve packaging for £59.99.

The same design will be used on the bullion coins sold through the distributor network and the pieces in special collector packaging. No difference in the finish exists between the bullion coins in the special sleeve packaging and those that have begun entering the dealer distribution network.

Representatives have not confirmed when Proof 2012 Britannia silver coins would be offered.

To order the Britannia coin in special packaging, write to the Royal Mint, FREEPOST, NAT23496, P.O. Box 500, Llantrisant, Pontyclun CF72 8YT, visit the Royal Mint website at, or telephone the Royal Mint toll-free at 866-519-7298 in the United States or at 866-924-0861 in Canada. ■

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