London, Jan 27 (UNI) In what is being billed as the most significant revamp of the currency since decimalisation, Britannia-- the patriotic symbol based on a Roman goddess-- will no longer be on any British coin for the first time in more than 300 years.
As part of a redesign by the Royal Mint, Britannia will be replaced with a representation of modern Britain.
Gordon Brown, it was revealed, personally approved a decision to remove Britannia from the 50p coin, as reported by Daily Mail.
The disclosure rebutts Mr Brown's repeated declarations of his patriotism in the run-up to taking over from Tony Blair.
Critics said it was "depressing" that it would not be the default design on the tails side of a British circulation coin for the first time since 1672, when she first appeared on British coins.
The revamp is the culmination of a process that started in 2005, when the Royal Mint launched a competition to find designs for the UK's coins.
More than 4,000 designs, submitted by 526 artists, have been whittled down to seven by the Royal Mint's Advisory Committee on Coin Design.
The current standard designs for 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p and 50p pieces were rolled out in the run-up to decimalisation in 1971 and were joined by the 20p piece in 1982 and the 1 Pound in 1983. They have been minted in batches every year since then.
The 2 Pound coin will be unaffected and limited-edition non-circulation coins are still expected to carry Britannia.
A Treasury spokesman told the Daily Mail the new designs would represent the best traditions of British coinage and are totally in line with the Government's desire to celebrate British heritage, including historic national and heraldic emblems.
The figure of Britannia was created by the Romans some 2,000 years ago as a personification of the British Isles, which they called Britanniae.
She first appeared on a Roman coin during the rule of Emperor Hadrian.
Britannia , however made her debut appearance on a British coin during the reign of Charles II, on the copper farthing in 1672 and the copper halfpenny in 1673.
The figure was conjured up as a symbol of Britain's political and naval might during the time of the Third Anglo-Dutch War, and by the Victorian era Brittania had grown to become a more forceful, trident-holding representation of the British Empire.
Between 1797 and 1970, she was on the penny coin and now features on an estimated 769million 50p pieces in circulation.
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