BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 January 2008, 12:49 GMT
Concern over Britannia's removal
Fifty pence coin
Britannia has symbolised Britain on coins for centuries
The removal of Britannia, the female personification of Britain, from the 50p coins has prompted a handful of MPs to ask the government to intervene.

Used on coins in Roman times, Britannia made a reappearance in 1672 - and MPs want to ensure her "uninterrupted presence" since then is not broken.

Britannia is shown sitting beside a lion, with a shield on her right side, holding a trident and an olive branch.

The Treaury said the next mint run would not include Britannia.

The Treasury also denied her presence had been "uninterrupted" as the MPs say, highlighting that she was temporarily replaced in 2007 when a coin was minted to mark the 150th anniversary of the Victoria Cross.

'Heraldic emblems'

Royal Mint said it would not comment on redesign plans, but there has been speculation that Britannia will be replaced with an image representing modern Britain.

The chosen designs represent the best traditions of British coinage

In a Parliamentary motion, Conservative MP Nigel Evans has asked the government to intervene in the "imminent removal" of Britannia.

His motion calls on the government to "understand the modern importance of historic symbols and to ensure that Britannia is not removed from British coins and that the uninterrupted presence of Britannia over 336 years is not broken".

The Treasury also said "the traditional Britannia design... will return in future mint runs".

The redesign comes after a competition launched in 2005 to encourage the wider public to submit designs.

A Treasury spokesman said: "As people will see when the new mint run is issued, the chosen designs represent the best traditions of British coinage, and are totally in line with the government's desire to celebrate our British heritage, including our historic national and heraldic emblems."

The coin that lost our interest
25 Apr 07 |  Magazine

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific