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Britannia gets new looks in 2021 series from Royal Mint
- Published: Apr 2, 2021, 10 AM
The Royal Mint’s unveiling of the 2021 Britannia precious metal program reveals that for the first time it is using two different designs in the same year’s range of products. This allows the Mint to offer designs reflecting the nation’s diversity, according to the Royal Mint.
The 2021 program also becomes the first time the Britannia has included a Proof gold kilogram coin, to meet the growing demand for larger, precious metal coins.
Special collector versions of the 2021 designs, with limited mintages, were launched March 18, with bullion versions to follow later.
Annual Britannia coins
Each year the Royal Mint produces a new Britannia collection that is inspired by different aspects of the nation. This year the collection celebrates Britain’s spirit of innovation, and for the first time will feature two designs — a core range and a “Premium Exclusive” range — both of which have been designed by artist P.J. Lynch.
The core Britannia range, a continuation of the collection, features the iconic female with trident and shield next to her lion guardian, as she looks to the horizon.
The Premium Exclusive range is a new addition to the collection. Over the next four years the Royal Mint will continue to explore diversity through the Premium Exclusive Britannia range.
In contrast to the core range, the allegorical Britannia is shown up close, in profile, and new minting technology gives an impression of moving waves in the background.
The diverse images for the 2021 coinage have no official description but they appear to show a Britannia whose heritage includes Afro-Caribbean elements.
Britannia’s enduring image
Britannia, an icon of the British people for over 2000 years, first appeared on coins under Emperor Hadrian.
The Romans depicted Britain as a strong female — a symbol that has endured and continues to grace the nation’s coins today, including the standard £2.
Clare Maclennan, Divisional Director of Commemorative coin for the Royal Mint, said: “Britannia is an enduring symbol of the people, and as the nation evolves it is right that her image should evolve too.”
Lynch, designer of the 2021 Britannia series, said: “Creating an original new design for an icon such as Britannia is a dream for an artist. For the core range, I started with a lot of sketching — lots and lots of thumbnail drawings of Britannia herself in different poses, sometimes with her lion guardian, and sometimes with her trident and shield on a rocky shore with waves splashing at her feet.
“For the Exclusive editions in the range, I decided it would be a good idea to go in close for a profile portrait of Britannia. I wanted her to look strong, resolute and attractive, but I also felt that her features should reflect something of the diversity of the people of Britain in the twenty-first century.”
All of the 2021 Britannia coins feature the Jody Clark effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse.
Multiple versions issued
Five different coins were issued in the Premium Exclusive range, with four of those coins no longer available.
That includes the Proof .9999 fine gold kilogram coin, which carried the hefty price tag of £70,275 (about $98,909 U.S.). Five examples of the coin, from a mintage maximum of six pieces, were made available when the program was announced March 18.
The Royal Mint may choose to offer the remaining example as part of another product, or perhaps use it for marketing purposes, but the disposition of that sixth piece is not yet announced.
The only coin from the Premium Exclusive range still available at press time March 28 is the Brilliant Uncirculated 1-ounce silver £2 coin, which has a maximum mintage of 7,510 pieces, of which 7,500 are available individually for £62.50 each.
A total of eight different gold coins and 10 silver coins were offered in the core program, including BU, Proof and Frosted Proof versions of the 1-ounce design. Many of the collector versions of the core bullion coins sold out quickly.
To view the full range and to see what remains available, visit www.royalmint.com/Britannia.
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