Saturday, September 13, 2008

Britannia on coins

Britannia was personified as a goddess by the Romans where she first appeared on coins struck in AD 122 to commemorate the visit of Emperor Hadrian during the building of the wall across the north of England.

This motif was revived in 1672 when the first base-metal coins, consisting of copper halfpence and farthing were issued by authority of Charles II and Britannia has since graced British coins to the present day on the 50p. In 2008, Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that the Britannia would not feature in the new 50p though she will remain on the £2 coin.

Britannia also gave her name to British bullion gold coin first issued in 1987 with millesimal fineness of 917 (91.7% or 22 carat) gold. Copper was used to form the non-gold component till 1989 and from 1990, silver was used. 

The gold bullion is minted in 1, 1/2, 1/4 and 1/10 troy ounce with face value of £100, £50, £25 and £10 respectively.

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