2017 represents a dual anniversary for Great Britain's iconic Britannia coins, with the gold coin celebrating 30 years and the silver version marking it's 20th anniversary.
Since it's original debut in 1987, the Britannia has seen a total of fourteen different designs, and it has today become a tradition to feature a new interpretation of Britannia every year. The 2017 design was created by fine art student Louis Tamlyn. It is by far the most contemporary design effort to feature on the Britannia coin in it's three decade long history.Wether or not this is a good thing, only time will tell. One thing is undeniable though, this is a drastic departure from the design aesthetic that has characterised the coin ever since Phillip Nathan's original, and now iconic, 1987 coin. In Phillip Nathan's design we saw a more realistic, relatable portrayal of this allegorical embodiment of Britain. Her feet rooted firmly on bedrock, while her hair and gown were windswept while holding a trident, shield and olive branch. Less idealised and more visceral, drawing inspiration from the legends of Boadicea. A strong character who was not immune to her surroundings. Standing simultaneously as a defender and unassuming welcoming figure. While the designs have changed over the years, those principles have always remained at the core of every new Britannia design. Until now. The 2017 design is far more abstract than any that came before. Now while breaking with tradition is fine and well, doing so seemingly just for the sake of novelty simply doesn't add any value.
Britannia is seen on the reverse of the coins from the back while cradling her trident on one arm and holding a shield in the other hand. She is wearing the familiar plumed Corinthian helmet, and the right hand side of the design displays the characteristic lines of the Union Jack. That is about where the similarities with any previous coin ends. Her lower torso and legs are transformed into a map of Great Britain, with lines radiating outward from the centre of the coin.An interesting addition this year is the use of a special trident mint mark, with the numbers “20” added for the silver coins and “30” for the gold coins to denote the coins as special anniversary releases.
The obverse features the standard Royal Mint effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II by Jody Clark.There are quite a few versions of this special proof coin available, but the most popular one is sure to be the 1oz silver proof Britannia. Struck from 1oz of pure .999 Fineness silver the coin measures 38.61mm(1.52 inch) in diameter. While the 2017 Britannia has an authorised maximum mintage of 10 800 coins, only 7500 will be available to order on their own like this in a Royal Mint black clamshell presentation box, at a price of £85.00(US$112.50) each. Following the 1oz silver coin is the special Britannia 2017 six coin silver proof set which contains a 1oz, ½oz, ¼oz, 1/10 oz, 1/20oz and 1/40oz silver coins. All six coins bear the same design as the 1oz flagship coin, and as likewise struck from .999 Fineness silver. Presented in a black Royal Mint presentation box, the set has a limited availability of only 2500 and is listed by the Mint at a price of £215.00(US$284.64) per set. The next coin that I feel warrants mention is a special brilliant uncirculated strike of the regular bullion Britannia coin. At a limited mintage of 10 000 coins the Royal Mint is asking £52.50(US$69.50) for these coins in a dated display box with a numbered certificate of authenticity.