Obverse. Photo © APMEX
  • 50 Pounds 1998-2006, KM# 1010, United Kingdom (Great Britain), Elizabeth II
  • 50 Pounds 1998-2006, KM# 1010, United Kingdom (Great Britain), Elizabeth II

Britannia, the female personification of the British Isles, takes her name from an ancient term for Great Britain and has been a popular figure since the 1st century, when she was first depicted on Roman coinage under the rule of Emperor Hadrian. Illustrated as a goddess, Britannia resembles the Roman figure Boudica. Britannia first appeared on British coins in 1672, when she graced the farthing. She was a firm fixture on coins from this point onwards, appearing on pennies issued under every monarch from 1797 until decimalization, when she was chosen to appear on the 50 pence coin until 2008.

Over the years, the image of Britannia has altered slightly, with her maritime links being emphasized by switching her spear to a trident. Britannia is seen as a symbol of British unity, liberty and strength, meaning she resurfaces during particularly challenging times. Like Columbia in the U.S. and Marianne in France, Britannia becomes more prominent in times of war or when national pride is booming.

In 1987, Britannia’s image graced the new Gold bullion coin minted by the Royal Mint known as the Gold Britannia. These Gold coins have since grown in popularity as an investment and a collector’s piece. Gold Britannias are available in sizes as small as 1/20 oz and as large as 5 oz Gold coins. In 1997, the Royal Mint expanded this design to a Silver bullion coin known as the Silver Britannia. Over time, both the Gold Britannia and Silver Britannia have experienced changes in design and an increase in metal purity, making them major players in the modern coin market.


Fourth crowned portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II facing right, wearing the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara.

The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara was a wedding present in 1947 from her grandmother, Queen Mary, who received it as a gift from the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland in 1893 on the occasion of her marriage to the Duke of York, later George V. Made by E. Wolfe & Co., it was purchased from Garrard & Co. by a committee organised by Lady Eve Greville. In 1914, Mary adapted the tiara to take 13 diamonds in place of the large oriental pearls surmounting the tiara. At first, Elizabeth wore the tiara without its base and pearls but the base was reattached in 1969. The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara is one of Elizabeth's most recognisable pieces of jewellery due to its widespread use on British banknotes and coinage.

ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA FIDEI DEFENSATRIX means Elizabeth II, by the grace of God, Queen and Defender of the Faith.

Engraver: Ian Rank-Broadley



A standing figure of Britannia, similar to that on florins (two shillings, KM# 801) of Edward VII by De Saulles.

The Gold Britannia coins feature different variations of the Britannia design, including a Standing Britannia, a Seated Britannia, and others. Illustrating the majestic Britannia, the Gold Britannias are some of the most beautiful Gold coins in the world.

Engraver: Philip Nathan



50 Pounds

4th portrait, Gold Britannia
KM# 1010 Sp# BO4
Type Commemorative Issue (Non-circulating)
Material Gold
Fineness 0.9167
Weight 17.025 g
Diameter 27 mm
Thickness -
Shape round
Alignment Medal
Royal Mint

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5th portrait, Half-Ounce Gold Proof Coin


Gold, 15.6 g, ⌀ 27 mm