She's Great Britain's big sister to America's Miss Liberty, and her image has graced British coins of the realm for centuries – from the Roman Emperor Hadrian (117-139 AD) to Britain's William III in 1696 and beyond.
The beautiful, timeless and elegant image of Britannia has remained a familiar and welcome presence on Britain's coinage for almost 2,000 years as a symbol of pride and continuity that personifies one of the world's most resilient nations.
The Silver Britannia was first struck in 1997 in 95.8% fine silver, just over sterling purity, as The Royal Mint's answer to other government-issued bullion coins, including the U.S. Silver Eagle, Canada's Silver Maple Leaf and China's Silver Panda.
But the Mint would up its game in 2013, when the Britannia was first struck in 99.9% silver, making it the purest silver Britannia coin ever. Sharing Philip Nathan's original 1987 reverse design for the first gold Britannia, the 2013 Silver Britannia became a new classic destined to match – or surpass – its many predecessors.
Today, all Silver Britannias are minted in 99.9% pure silver and current issues unite two longstanding British icons: the fifth effigy of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II created by Jody Clark on the obverse, and a new, nautically-inspired portrait of Britannia designed by Anthony Dufort on the reverse.
Shining against a background of distant sailing vessel, Britannia is shown wearing a Corinthian helmet as she wields a trident and a shield with the distinctive Union Jack motif. Currently, proof issues of the silver Britannia feature a new Britannia design each year.
Besides being among the most beautiful designs ever used on a silver bullion coin, Britannias are a low-mintage series. The Royal Mint now produces the Silver Britannia as proofs or uncirculated coins in seven denominations: £10 5 Oz., £2 1 Oz., £1 1/2 Oz., 50p 1/4 Oz., 20p 1/10 Oz., 10p 1/20 Oz., and the smallest of the United Kingdom's coins, the 5p 1/40 Oz.