Two Mints, One Great Design

Published January 12, 2024 | 2 min read

By Louis Golino

On January 9, the United States Mint and the UK’s Royal Mint announced the release of a collaborative design featuring images of Lady Liberty and Britannia—the allegorical motifs representing the United States and the United Kingdom, respectively.

The design will appear on coins from both mints this year. The chief engravers of both mints—Joseph Menna at the U.S. Mint and Gordon Summer at the Royal Mint—worked together in a unique creative partnership.

Lady Liberty has appeared on U.S. coins since the Libertas Americana medal debuted in 1781. She symbolizes the importance of liberty to Americans. Britannia has been featured on English and UK coinage since the 1600s. Today, she is seen as the personification of Britain. But these two numismatic icons have never before appeared together on the coinage of either country, let alone both.

Two is Better than One

According to the U.S. Mint’s website, the new design shows the two figures in stoic profile portraits that feature “complementary and balancing elements suggestive of the faces on a playing card.” Liberty is shown carrying a torch and adorned with stars, while Britannia wields a trident and wears a Corinthian helmet. 

The reverse of the U.S. coin features a design with a sun rising amid clouds with trees on either side and all inscriptions above the sun. The British coins will all feature the joint design on the reverse and will carry the effigy of King Charles III on the obverse.  

The reverse of the U.S. version. (Photo: U.S. Mint)

The design prioritizes harmony between the two motifs. This symbolizes the close relationship between the two countries and gives each figure equal prominence. On the U.S. coins, Lady Liberty appears on top, while Britannia holds this position on the British version.

The motif is also reminiscent of 2004 French and British issues that marked the centennial of the 1904 Entente Cordiale, a series of agreements that the United Kingdom and the French Republic signed on April 8, 1904, that greatly improved Anglo-French relations. These coins show Marianne and Britannia intertwined together as one figure with two heads.

This unprecedented cooperative effort builds on the success of the two mints’ prior collaboration—the 2021 Mayflower 400th anniversary coin and medal. The directors of both mints, Ventris C. Gibson for the U.S. and Nicola Howell for the UK, say they are delighted with the new design and hope it leads to further cooperative programs.

The Royal Mint has indicated that bullion and collector versions of the 2024 coins will be available later this year. The coining facility is offering the design in silver and gold. At the time of this writing, the U.S. Mint is issuing only a 1-ounce gold proof, though the design will appear on other products down the road.