World Coins

Royal Mint features ‘50 years of the 50p’ with set

The Royal Mint features ‘50 years of the 50p’ with a five-coin set. Rare and popular designs, like the New Pence design that began the series in 1969 and the 2009 Kew Gardens coins (background image), receive a reprisal in new base metal and silver versions.

Images courtesy of the Royal Mint.

Fifty years ago, not long after opening its new minting facility in Wales, the Royal Mint underwent decimalization, ushering in the 50-penny coin (along with all the other pence-and pound-denominated coins).

To mark the 50th anniversary of the “50p” coins, the Royal Mint has issued limited edition sets featuring its famous designs, and is allowing visitors to the Royal Mint Experience the chance to strike their own copper-nickel 50-penny coins.

The Royal Mint Experience (the mint’s visitor center) is the only place, “currently,” where a commemorative 50-penny coin is available individually, according to the Royal Mint (which suggests that an individual offering of the coins may be made more available later).

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The first 50-penny coin (one of the New Pence coins, as they were termed) was officially introduced in October 1969, replacing the 10-shilling note, and featured a revolutionary and, at the time, controversial seven-sided shape. 

The first design to appear on the new 50-penny coin in 1969 was a depiction of Britannia by Christopher Ironside. The Brilliant Uncirculated 2019 edition available from the visitor center bears that original New Pence design last used in 1982 (no longer new, after 13 years in circulation), before the design was modified.  

After paying the Royal Mint Experience entry fee, members of the public may strike one 2019 New Pence 50-penny coin for an additional £6.90. Up to four additional coins may be purchased for £8.90 per coin. Customers may make only one tour per day, and acquire only five coins, total, per visit. 

For the first time, this strike-your-own-coin feature of the Royal Mint Experience also combines augmented reality technology, produced by the company Zappar. After individuals strike their coin, they will then be able to view exclusive content by scanning the specially designed visual marker on the packaging.

Nicola Howell, director of consumer business at the Royal Mint, said, “As we mark such a significant anniversary, we know the 2019 50p New Pence will be equally appealing, as this is currently the only place customers can get this coin in this presentation for a limited time period.”

Collectible sets, designs

For those collectors who can’t make it to the Royal Mint, the commemorative 50-penny coins were available in two different sets, which quickly sold out.

The five-coin sets, in Brilliant Uncirculated copper-nickel and Proof .925 fine silver versions, feature 2019 examples of five of the most popular and rare 50-penny designs of the coin’s history.

Replicated designs were those of the 2009 Kew Gardens 50-penny coin (which has the lowest mintage for circulation, at 210,000 pieces), and the 50-penny coins commemorating Roger Bannister’s world record sub-four-minute mile (2004), 100 years of the Scouts (2007), and 100 years of the Girl Guides (2010), as well as the iconic New Pence 50-penny coin. 

The copper-nickel set was limited to a mintage of 3,500 sets, and its issue price was £90.

The Proof silver set had a mintage limit of 1,969 sets, which were sold for £225 each. 

The standard 50-penny coin weighs 8 grams and measures 27.3 millimeters in diameter.

For more about the coins, visit the Royal Mint website

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