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On June 15, 1215, King John of England signed the Magna Carta. This was a seminal event in human history, as it solidified the notion that people have rights that the government cannot violate. While much of the rest of Europe has come to adopt that concept, Britain has often served as the prominent defender of that idea, most notably during the two World Wars. She has weathered many storms, repeatedly overcoming threats and adversity. The Gold and Silver Britannia Series celebrate that strength and character.
The Gold Britannia series got its start in 1987, the year after the United States started issuing Gold and Silver Eagles. The series quickly grew in popularity not only in its issuing country but also throughout Europe and North America. The series featured four sizes: one ounce, half ounce, quarter ounce, and one-tenth ounce. Ten years after the gold series began, the Silver Britannia was introduced. It has always been struck as a single ounce. 2013 was an important year for the series, as it marked several important changes. Two new sizes, five ounce and 1/20 oz, were introduced for the Gold Britannia. The purity for all coins in the series was also upgraded. Gold coins went from .917 fine to .9999 fine, while silver coins went from .958 to .999 fine. Today, Britannias are prized among collectors both for their beauty and for the dependability of their source, the British Royal Mint.
The Gold and Silver issues of 2019 share the same designs. Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait by Jody Clark, which was introduced in 2015, is at the center of the obverse. The monarch wears her Royal Diamond Diadem, which she wore at her coronation and that she traditionally wears to the State Opening of Parliament. She is depicted in right-side profile and also wears earrings. Her name, “ELIZABETH II,” and abbreviated Latin title, “D G REG F D” (By the Grace of God, Defender of the Faith), join the coin’s face value of “2 POUNDS,” on the rim.
The reverse features Philip Nathan’s Britannia design, which debuted on the inaugural Gold Britannia and has frequently featured on issues throughout the series. Nathan captures Britain’s strength and character by depicting Britannia standing tall in a strong wind. She wears a military helmet and holds a trident in her right hand. In her left hand, she balances a shield that is adorned with the Union Jack, a globally recognized symbol of the issuing nation. Rim inscriptions offer the figure’s name, “BRITANNIA,” and the weight and purity of the respective coin.