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British Fifty Pence coin

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British Fifty Pence coin

Template:Infobox Coin The British decimal fifty pence (50p) coin – often pronounced "fifty pee" – was first issued on 14 October 1969 in the run-up to decimalisation to replace the ten shilling note. Despite the coin's novel shape, there was initial confusion amongst some members of the public, with the coin being mistaken for both the old half crown and the new ten pence piece.[1]

The coin is minted from a cupronickel alloy of 75% copper and 25% nickel. Between 1969 and 1997 the coin weighed 13.50 grams and had a diameter of 30.0 millimetres. On 1 September 1997 the coin was reduced in size to weigh 8.00 grams with a diameter of 27.3 millimetres. Apart from the reduction in size the design remained essentially the same (although the original size is no longer legal tender). The old size 50p coin was withdrawn from circulation on 28 February 1998.

The coin is not circular but is an equilaterally curved heptagon to aid identification. The sides are not straight but are curved so that the centre of curvature is the opposite apex of the coin. In other words, whilst the coin is of a shape which doesn't have a fixed radius about any point, it does have a fixed diameter as a minimum dimension across the face of the coin. This allows the coin to be more easily used and verified as legal tender automatically in vending machines and slot machines for example and also to roll freely (see also curve of constant width). The same shape, though of a smaller diameter, was also later used for the twenty pence piece.

The current reverse of the coin was designed by Matthew Dent who in April 2008 won a Royal Mint competition to redesign the reverses of all circulating coins (except the £2 coin).[2] It depicts the lowest point of the Royal Shield, with the words FIFTY PENCE below the point of the shield. The original reverse of the coin, designed by Christopher Ironside, depicted a seated Britannia alongside a lion, accompanied by either NEW PENCE (1969–1982) or FIFTY PENCE above Britannia, with the numeral 50 underneath the seated figure.

Three different obverses have been used so far – from 1969 to 1984 the head of Queen Elizabeth II by Arnold Machin, from 1985 to 1997 the head by Raphael Maklouf, and since 1998 the head by Ian Rank-Broadley.[3] As of 31 March 2010 there were an estimated 845 million 50p coins in circulation.[4]

Variations

Up to 2013 there have been twenty-one varieties of 50p coin (excluding Olympic 50ps of which there are 29), six large and fifteen small, as follows. [5]

Large – standard design

1969–1972, 1974–1981
Obverse: Machin head, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D date,
starting to the right of the head.
Reverse: Britannia and lion, 50 below, NEW PENCE above.
Dates 1971–1972 and 1974–1975 were issued in collectors' sets only.
1982–1984
Obverse: Machin head, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D date, starting to the right of the head.
Reverse: Britannia and lion, 50 below, FIFTY PENCE above.
Date 1984 only available in collectors' sets.
1985–1993, 1995–1997
Obverse: Maklouf head, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D date, starting to the bottom left of the head.
Reverse: Britannia and lion, 50 below, FIFTY PENCE above.
All dates except 1985 available in collectors' sets only. Demand for the 50p coin decreased with the issue of one pound coins in 1983.

Large – commemorative issues

1973: Commemorates the UK's accession to the European Economic Community.
Obverse: Machin head, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D, starting to the right of the head, no date.
Reverse: Nine clasped hands, 1973 50 PENCE in the centre. The design originally had the word EUROPE in the middle, but this was vetoed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.[6]
89,775,000 issued
1992–3: Commemorates the completion of the EC single market and the British presidency of the EC.
Obverse: Maklouf head, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D, starting to the bottom left of the head.
Reverse: Conference table with seats and stars, 50 PENCE below, 1992 1993 above.
109,000 issued.
1994: 50th anniversary of the Normandy Landings ("D-Day").
Obverse: Maklouf head, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D 1994, starting to the bottom left of the head.
Reverse: An invasion force of ships and planes, 50 PENCE to the right. Designed by John W Mills.
6,705,520 issued.

Small – standard design

1997
Obverse: Maklouf head, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D 1997, starting to the bottom left of the head.
Reverse: Britannia and lion, 50 below, FIFTY PENCE above.
Issued only in 1997, but in very large numbers as it had to replace all the earlier types of 50p coin, which were withdrawn from circulation within 6 months.
1998–2008[7]
Obverse: Rank-Broadley head, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D date, starting to the bottom left of the head, IRB under the bust.
Reverse: Britannia and lion, 50 below, FIFTY PENCE above.
2008–
Obverse: Rank-Broadley head, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D date, starting to the bottom left of the head, IRB under the bust.
Reverse: The bottom apex of the Royal Shield as part of the Matthew Dent design implemented across the UK coinage in 2008, FIFTY PENCE below.

Small – commemorative issues

1998: 25th anniversary of Britain joining the EU.
Obverse: Rank-Broadley head, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D date, starting to the bottom left of the head, IRB under the bust.
Reverse: Arrangement of 12 stars with 1973 EU 1998 underneath and 50 PENCE below. Designed by John W Mills.
5,043,000 in circulation.[8]
1998: 50th anniversary of the National Health Service.
Obverse: Rank-Broadley head, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D date, starting to the bottom left of the head, IRB under the bust.
Reverse: Caring hands holding sun's rays, FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY above and 50 PENCE below, NHS repeated 5 times around the border.
5,001,000 in circulation.[8]
2000: 150th anniversary of the Public Libraries Act of 1850.
Obverse: Rank-Broadley head, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D 2000, starting to the bottom left of the head, IRB under the bust.
Reverse: Open book above pillared building inscribed PUBLIC LIBRARIES 1850 2000 above and 50 PENCE to the right.
11,263,000 in circulation.[8]
2003: Centenary of the Women's Social and Political Union (the Suffragettes).
Obverse: Rank-Broadley head, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D 2003, starting to the bottom left of the head, IRB under the bust.
Reverse: Suffragette chained to railing holding a banner inscribed WSPU in her left hand, 50 PENCE to the left and a billboard inscribed GIVE WOMEN THE VOTE to the right, with 1903 below and 2003 to the right.
3,124,030 in circulation.[8]
2004: 50th anniversary of the first sub-four-minute mile, Roger Bannister, 6 May 1954.
Obverse: Rank-Broadley head, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D 2004, starting to the bottom left of the head, IRB under the bust.
Reverse: Lower body of a runner, superimposed on a stopwatch showing 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. Large 50 and PENCE at bottom, between runner's legs.
9,032,500 in circulation.[8]
2005: 250th anniversary of the publication of Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language.
Obverse: Rank-Broadley head, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D 2005, starting to the bottom left of the head, IRB under the bust.
Reverse: 50 at top, with the dictionary definitions of 'fifty' and 'pence', JOHNSON'S DICTIONARY 1755 at bottom.
17,649,000 in circulation.[8]
2006: 150th anniversary of the Victoria Cross.
Obverse: Rank-Broadley head, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D 2006, starting to the bottom left of the head, IRB under the bust.
Reverse: Pictures of both sides of the Victoria Cross, inscribed 29 JAN 1856 with VC FIFTY PENCE below. Designed by Claire Aldridge.
12,087,000 in circulation.[8]
2006: 150th anniversary of the Victoria Cross.
Obverse: Rank-Broadley head, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D 2006, starting to the bottom left of the head, IRB under the bust.
Reverse: Soldier carrying wounded comrade, FIFTY PENCE below. Designed by Clive Duncan.
10,000,500 in circulation.[8]
2007: 100th anniversary of the Scout Movement.
Obverse: Rank-Broadley head, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D 2007, starting to the bottom left of the head, IRB under the bust.
Reverse: The traditional Scouting fleur-de-lys, FIFTY PENCE above, scouting motto BE PREPARED below. Designed by Kerry Jones, Royal Mint engraver/designer.
7,710,750 in circulation.[8]
2009: 250th anniversary of the foundation of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.[9]
Obverse: Rank-Broadley head, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D 2009, starting to the bottom left of the head, IRB under the bust.
Reverse: Design showing the pagoda that is located in the gardens, encircled by a double helix of vine and accompanied by the dates 1759 and 2009, with the word KEW at the base of the pagoda.
210,000 coins in circulation. [8]
2010: 100th Anniversary of the Girl Guides.
Obverse: Rank-Broadley head, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D 2010, starting to the bottom left of the head, IRB under the bust.
Reverse: An encircled small logo of the Girlguiding UK, the fleur-de-lis with a star, surrounded by 6 of the same logo but larger and not encircled and itself surrounded by the worlds CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF GIRLGUIDING UK. At the base appear the words 50 and below that PENCE.
7,410,090 coins in circulation. [8]
2011: London 2012 Olympic Games – 29 different designs.[10][11][8]
Obverse: Rank-Broadley head, inscription ELIZABETH II D G REG F D 2011, starting to the bottom left of the head, IRB under the bust.
Reverse: 29 different designs by members of the British public, each illustrating a different Olympic sport (aquatics, archery, athletics, badminton, basketball, boccia, boxing, canoeing, cycling, equestrian, fencing, football, goalball, gymnastics, handball, hockey, judo, modern pentathlon, rowing, sailing, shooting, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon, volleyball, weightlifting, wheelchair rugby and wrestling). At the base the words 50 PENCE. For the mintages of each of the 29 designs, see below
2011: 50th anniversary of the foundation of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).[12]
Obverse: Rank-Broadley head, inscription ELIZABETH.II D.G.REG.F.D, starting to the bottom left of the head, IRB under the bust; FIFTY PENCE inscribed under neck of bust.
Reverse: The WWF logo, surrounded by fifty icons radiating outwards intended, in the words of designer Matthew Dent, "... to represent the various facets of the WWF". 2011 inscribed at base.
3,400,000 in circulation. [8]

Mintages for circulation strikes

  • 1969 ~ 188,400,000
  • 1970 ~ 19,461,500
  • 1971–1972 ~ none
  • 1973 ~ 89,775,000
  • 1974–1975 ~ none
  • 1976 ~ 43,746,500
  • 1977 ~ 49,536,000
  • 1978 ~ 72,005,500
  • 1979 ~ 58,680,000
  • 1980 ~ 89,086,000
  • 1981 ~ 74,002,000
  • 1982 ~ 51,312,000
  • 1983 ~ 62,824,904
  • 1984 ~ none
  • 1985 ~ 682,103
  • 1986–1991 ~ none
  • 1992 ~ 109,000
  • 1993 ~ none
  • 1994 ~ 6,705,520
  • 1995–1996 ~ none

size reduced

  • 1997 ~ 456,364,100
  • 1998 ~ 64,306,500
  • 1999 ~ 24,905,000
  • 2000 ~ 17,915,500
  • 2001 ~ 84,998,500
  • 2002 ~ 23,907,500
  • 2003 ~ 23,583,000
  • 2004 ~ 35,315,500
  • 2005 ~ 25,363,500
  • 2006 ~ 24,567,000
  • 2007 ~ 11,200,000
  • 2008 ~ 3,500,000 (Britannia design)
  • 2008 ~ 22,747,000 (Matthew Dent design)[8]
  • 2012 ~ 32,300,000

London 2012 Olympic sporting series Mintages

2011

  • Aquatics (swimmer)~ 1,010,000
  • Archery ~ 1,010,000
  • Athletics (high jumper) ~ 1,010,000
  • Badminton ~ 1,005,000
  • Basketball ~ 1,005,000
  • Boccia ~ 1,005,000
  • Boxing ~ 805,000
  • Canoeing ~ 1,010,000
  • Cycling ~ 800,000
  • Equestrian ~ 1,005,000
  • Fencing ~ 1,005,000
  • Football ~ 500,000
  • Goalball ~ 1,005,000
  • Gymnastics ~ 1,007,313
  • Handball ~ 1,005,000
  • Hockey ~ 1,001,000
  • Judo ~ 1,005,000
  • Modern Pentathlon ~ 705,000
  • Rowing ~ 1,005,300
  • Sailing ~ 1,005,000
  • Shooting ~ 1,005,000
  • Table tennis ~ 1,010,000
  • Taekwondo ~ 1,005,000
  • Tennis ~ 605,000
  • Triathlon ~ 1,011,000
  • Volleyball ~ 1,005,000
  • Weightlifting ~ 1,105,000
  • Wheelchair Rugby ~ 505,000
  • Wrestling ~ 505,000 [8]

References

External links

Numismatics portal
  • The United Kingdom 50p Coin Information on the Fifty Pence (50p) coin from The Royal Mint website
Preceded by
Ten shilling note
Half Pound
1971–Present
Succeeded by
Incumbent

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