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The “Changing Face” of the 2013 Silver Britannia Coin

When the Royal Mint launched the 2013 silver Britannia, it was marketed as “the changing face of Britannia.” The mint had conducted a survey amongst British residents and found that only one in four people can correctly identify the iconic image of Britannia.

As a result the disappointing survey, Royal Mint announced a change to its Britannia program in order to promote the iconic warrior goddess that dates back to Roman times and is such an important historical symbol for Britain.

As well as a change to the 2013 silver Britannia coin, actors were recruited in Britain’s most populated cities to help raise awareness of what Britannia represents.

Changes to Britannia silver coins

The 2013 Britannia silver has significant improvements from earlier issues, most notably an increase in purity from the traditional 22 carat gold which contains a silver purity of 95.8%, to a finer purity of 99.99%.

Gold and silver coins do not come any purer than this and is only matched by a handful of other coins including the Austrian Philharmonic and South African Krugerrand.

The issue limit was also extended. Ordinarily the Royal Mint only strike 100,000 silver bullion for distribution worldwide, but the mintage limit was lifted to 300,000 last year. Finally, the design was changed. Rather than her usual standing position, sculptor Robert Hunt features her in a seated position with an owl on her lap.

A brief history of Britannia

The symbol of Britannia on silver coins dates back to the first century, but did not appear on British coins until the farthing was introduced in 1672. It is from the Goddess that Britain was so-called following the Roman occupation of 43AD.

Britannia is a figure of war and like Posiedon is depicted with a trident, a symbol connected with the sea. After Britain defeated the Spanish Armada under the guidance of Henry VIII, Britain was officially the world’s leading superpower and “ruler of the waves.”

The history of Britannia’s symbolism and connection with water dates back earlier than the Romans however – by about 5500 years. The name is believed to be taken from the Sumerian goddess Barats, the Holy Lady of the Waters, who later became Barati in ancient Veda scriptures of India and promoted by the influential sea-faring Phoenicians.

In ancient Egypt she was known as Bairthy, and later as Brito-Martis in ancient Greece. The Roman’s adopted her as Fortuna, the goddess of Good fortune, but became known as Britannia after her symbol was given to represent the small island of the coast of mainland Britain which would go on to build an empire reaching all four corners of the globe.

2013 Silver Britannias For Sale

You can buy 2013 silver Britannia coins for attractive prices from online retailers. Although silver prices are holding their own in the current climate a sharp decline last year saw spot prices fall below the $20 mark. Today, silver spot is $21.70, although is expected to fall as low as $19 an ounce during the course of 2014, but could more than double when the credit crash wipes out banks around the world.

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