Figure of Britannia seated beside a lion, by Christopher Ironside.
Queen Elizabeth II portrait by Raphael Maklouf.
More about the Britannia 50p
The figure of Britannia seated beside a lion is the most common 50p design in circulation and first appeared in 1672 on a British coin during the reign of Charles II. Long before then there were Roman coins showing the word ‘BRITANNIA’ and the helmeted female representation of Britannia to celebrate the Roman capture of Britain.
Both the old larger type 50p and the new smaller 50p were made dated 1997 (when the coin size changed), however the larger version was only made for year sets. The smaller version was the only one that was circulated in large numbers.
Britannia was always present on at least one coin denomination until 2008, when the decision was made to remove her from the 50 pence piece. This was met with hostility by Daily Mail readers and objection by dozens of MPs who launched a ‘Save Britannia’ campaign at the time.
Despite the objections, the Britannia 50p design was replaced by the new Royal Shield in 2008 as the standard 50p design, and none have been issued since.
The Rarest Britannia 50p Coin
Only 682,103 Britania’s were produced for circulation in 1985, making it the third rarest 50p ever, and the second rarest larger (old style) 50p. These figures are only trumped by the 1992 EEC Single Market and the 2009 Kew Gardens 50p coins.