Most circulating commemorative 50-penny coins, however, were issued in the lead-up to the 2012 London Olympic Games. A series of 29 different designs honor the sports and athletes of the Games, and multiple versions in base metal and precious metal were issued.
The series served to attract many new collectors in the United Kingdom who spent hours searching their change to build a set. The 50-penny coin that explained soccer’s offsides rule garnered huge amounts of press for the Royal Mint, and the program was, according to Royal Mint officials, wildly successful.
Several other issuers have presented seven-sided “imposters” to the 50-penny coins from the United Kingdom. Seven nations, all in the sphere of influence of the British Empire or close by, issued seven-sided 50-cent or equivalent coins.
The Falkland Islands’ angular 50-penny coin depicts the extinct Falkland Islands fox. But the nation’s 1982 50-penny coin marking liberation of the island from Argentina, early numismatic propaganda in that ongoing foreign policy fight, is round.
Gibraltar’s 50-penny coin has a range of designs, notably the general circulation issues with porpoises. A commemorative Christmas series from Gibraltar most years depicted whimsical scenes of Santa but on occasion showed a more meaningful design like the Three Wise Men on 1988’s coin, or two shepherds guarding the flock on the 2002 coin.
The Isle of Man’s standard seven-sided 50-cent coin highlights a sailing Viking ship, though numerous Christmas and other commemorative designs can be found on the Isle’s denomination as well.
The 50-penny coin from Jersey depicts the Gothic gate arch at Grosnez castle on the island, or the island’s coat of arms, while Ireland’s seven-sided 50-penny coin (issued before adoption of the euro) shows the woodcock. A special design in 1998 marked the Dublin Millennium.