Jan Roettiers was the eldest son of Philip Roettiers, a medallist and goldsmith in Antwerp. He was born on 4 July 1631.

Philip Roettiers had helped Charles II while in exile with a loan of money and was promised work for his sons in return. After Charles II returned to England he called the two brothers John and Joseph to London and offered a competition between them and Thomas Simon to select the die engravers for the new milled coinage to be introduced in 1662. The Roettiers won the King's favour (Simon may not have had time to complete an entry). Joseph left London for the Paris mint in about 1680.

John became Chief Engraver in 1670 on the death of Thomas Rawlins and held the post until 1698.

He modelled the figure of Britannia used on the farthing and halfpenny denominations. It is widely believed that the seated position of Britannia was based upon a medal depicting Britannia of the Roman Emperor Commodus and that Frances Stewart, a prominent member of the Court and famous for her beauty, served as the model for the idealized Britannia.

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