50 Pence Coin (UK 50p)

You can find more details in our main article for 50p Coins.

The British Fifty Pence (50p) coin was introduced in October 1969 as part of the decimalisation of the British currency. It replaced the 10 shilling note, both being equivalent to half of one pound (£0.50). It is colloquially called the ‘50 pee‘. The coin has 7 sides (heptagonal) but has rounded corners on each apex so that the coin will roll and work in vending machines.

Smaller 50pOriginally, the coin has a diameter of 30mm and weighed 13.5g, but in 1997 this was replaced with a smaller version of diameter 27.3mm and weight of 8g. The thickness was kept at 1.78mm. The coin is made of Cupro-Nickel (75% copper, 25% nickel). The larger version was demonitised (i.e. ceased to be legal tender) in 1998.

All coins have an obverse featuring the portrait Queen Elizabeth II. There are three versions:

  • 1985-1997 – Designer: Raphael Maklouf
  • 1998-2015 – Designer: Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS
  • 2015 to date – Designer: Jody Clark

The reverse has shown a large variety of important UK milestones or people, and in doing so has made the coin very popular with collectors. Besides the coins intended for circulation, the Royal Mint have issued silver (normal and Piedfort), platinum and gold proof versions of the 50 pence piece.

Below are the 50 pence versions with mintage figures. There are also 29 different variants (listed on another page)  which were minted in 2011 in celebration of the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Year Event and Description of Reverse Designer Mintage
1969-1982 A figure of Britannia, seated beside a lion, with a shield resting against her right side,holding a trident in her right hand and an olive branch in her left hand. Says “NEW PENCE”. Christopher Ironside
1982-2008 Britannia – revised inscription. A figure of Britannia, seated beside a lion, with a shield resting against her right, holding a trident in her right hand and an olive branch in her left hand. Says “FIFTY PENCE”. Christopher Ironside
2008 -2012 A section of the Royal Arms showing elements of the third and fourth quarterings Matthew Dent
1973 United Kingdom’s accession to the European Economic Community Nine hands symbolising the EC. David Wynne 89,775,000
1992–1993 United Kingdom’s Presidency of the Council of Ministers and the completion of the Single European Market. Chairs around a table. Mary Milner Dickens 109,000
1994 50th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings. Allied invasion force heading for Normandy andfilling the sea and sky John Mills 6,705,520
1998 United Kingdom’s Presidency of the European Economic Community. Arrangement of stars for the 25th anniversary (1973-1998). John Mills 5,043,000
1998 50th Anniversary of the National Health Service. A pair of hands set against a pattern of radiating lines with the words “FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY” . David Cornell 5,001,000
2000 150th Anniversary of the Public Libraries Act 1850. The turning pages of a book, the Anniversary dates “1850” and “2000”. Mary Milner Dickens 11,263,000
2003 100th Anniversary of the formation of the Women’s Social and Political Union. The figure of a suffragette chained to railings andholding a banner on which appear the lettersWSPU, to the right a ballot paper marked with a cross and the words GIVE WOMEN THE VOTE. Mary Milner Dickens 3,124,030
2004 50th Anniversary of the first four-minute mile by Roger Bannister. The legs of a running athlete with a stylised stopwatch in the background. James Butler 9,032,500
2005 250th Anniversary of Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language. Entries from the Dictionary for the words FIFTYand PENCE, with the figure50 above, and the inscription JOHNSON’S DICTIONARY 1755 below. Tom Phillips 17,649,000
2006 150th Anniversary of the institution of the Victoria Cross 1. Depiction of the obverse and reverse of a Victoria Cross with the date 29 JAN 1856 in the centre of the reverse of the Cross, the letters VC to the right. Claire Aldridge 12,087,000
2006 150th Anniversary of the institution of the Victoria Cross 2. Depiction of a soldier carrying a wounded comrade with an outline of the Victoria Cross surrounded by a sunburst effect in the background. Clive Duncan 10,000,500
2007 Centenary of the Foundation of the Scouting Movement. A fleur-de-lis superimposed over a globe and surrounded by the inscription “BE PREPARED”, the dates “1907” and “2007”. Kerry Jones 7,710,750
2009 250th anniversary of the foundation of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. A design showing the pagoda encircled by a vine and accompanied by the dates “1759” and “2009”. Christopher Le Brun 210,000
2010 Celebrating 100 Years of Girlguiding UK. A hexagon made of six of the shamrock symbols of Girlguiding. Jonathan Evans and Donna Hainan 7,410,090
2011 Celebrating 50 years of the work of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Fifty small symbols showing the range of work of the WWF. Matthew Dent 3,400,000
2013 Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Christopher Ironside. The design which Ironside made for the 50p coin, showing the Coat of arms of the UK. Christopher Ironside 7,000,000
2013 Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Britten. The composer’s name, written across musical bars Value is on the obverse for the first time Tom Phillips 5,300,000
2014 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. A cyclist and a runner, separated by the Flag of Scotland. Alex Loudon and Dan Flashman 6,500,000
2015 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Pilots running to their planes while planes fly above them. Gary Breeze 5,900,000
2016 Team GB. A swimmer with the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Tim Sharp TBA
2016 Battle of Hastings. King Harold hit in the eye with an arrow, a detail from the Bayeux Tapestry. John Bergdahl 5,000,000
2016 150th Anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter. A portrait of Beatrix Potter above along with her name, dates of her birth and death (1866-1943) and Peter Rabbit Emma Noble TBA
2016 150th Anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter: Peter Rabbit Emma Noble 3,600,000
2016 150th Anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter: Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle Emma Noble TBA
2016 150th Anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter: Squirrel Nutkin Emma Noble TBA
2016 150th Anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter: Jemima Puddle-Duck Emma Noble TBA
2017 300th Anniversary of Sir Isaac Newton’s Gold-Standard Report Aaron West TBA

Also see our coin knowledge base articles on 50p Coins. We list more details and mintages there.


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