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.
Originally, 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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