Contents / Continguts
What is numismatics?
Numismatics is the study of coins and related objects, such as medals, tokens, banknotes, etc. It is a complementary science to archaeology, as it allows to know the history of civilizations and the importance of ancient coins from a religious and political point of view. It also has to do with design, art, even cryptography and, needless to say, economics. Numismatics can also be a hobby for collectors who seek rare or valuable coins.
History of the 50 pence coin
The 50 pence coin is one of the most beautiful coins ever made in Britain and Europe. So much so that thousands of people collect them. You don’t need a big budget to collect these nice coins, and it is a very good way to get into the world of numismatics and coin collecting. Besides, as we will see later, there are some 50 pence coins that are especially appealing for kids. The 50 pence coin is a denomination of British currency worth half pound. It was introduced in 1969 as part of the decimalisation of the British currency system, replacing the old 10-shilling note.
50 pence coins replaced the old 10-shilling note
The 50 pence coin has a seven-sided shape, which makes it distinctive from other coins in circulation. It also has a plain edge, unlike the smaller coins which have milled edges.
The obverse of the 50 pence coin features the profile of the current monarch, who has changed five times since the coin’s introduction. The first portrait was of Queen Elizabeth II, designed by Arnold Machin. It was followed by portraits by Raphael Maklouf (1985), Ian Rank-Broadley (1998), Jody Clark (2015) and Martin Jennings (2022). The last portrait is of King Charles III, who succeeded his mother Queen Elizabeth II after her death in 2022.
The reverse of the 50 pence coin has changed many times over the years, featuring different designs to commemorate various events, people and organisations. Some of the most famous designs include:
The Britannia design by Christopher Ironside, which was used from 1969 to 2008. It shows a seated Britannia alongside a lion, symbolising Britain’s strength and heritage.
The Royal Shield design by Matthew Dent, which was used from 2008 to 2021. It shows a segment of the Royal Shield, which forms part of the coat of arms of the United Kingdom.
The Coronation design by Jody Clark, which was used from 2022 onwards. It shows a copy of the design used on the 1953 Crown struck to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. It includeshe four quarters of the Royal Arms depicted within a shield, and an emblem of each home nation between them.
A highly collectible coin
The 50 pence coin is one of the most popular and collectable coins in Britain, with many different designs issued over the years for both circulation and commemoration. Some of the rarest and most valuable designs include:
The most expensive 50p coins
The Kew Gardens design by Christopher Le Brun, which was issued in 2009 to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. Only 210,000 coins were minted, making it the scarcest and most expensive 50 pence coin in circulation. The kew Gardens 50p coin circulated (average condition) is worth £65.00, in circulated excellent condition is worth £115.00 and uncirculated is worth £230.00.It is important to note that the value of coins varies according to demand and their state of preservation. You can find more information about the Kew Gardens coin on the Royal Mint website.
Kew Gardens 50p coin
The Olympic Games designs by various artists, which were issued from 2010 to 2011 to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. There were 29 different designs, each representing a different sport or discipline. Some of them are more sought-after than others, such as the football design by Neil Wolfson, which shows the offside rule.The Peter Rabbit design by Emma Noble, which was issued in 2016 to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter.
It shows the famous character from her children’s books. It was part of a series of four coins featuring other characters such as Jemima Puddle-Duck and Mrs Tiggy-Winkle.
The 50 pence coin is legal tender for amounts up to £10 when offered in repayment of a debt. However, this is not normally relevant for everyday transactions, as most shops and businesses accept any amount of coins as payment. There are approximately 920 million 50 pence coins in circulation as of March 2013.
Here is the ranking of the most sought-after —and expensive— 50 pence coins:
|Coin||Year||Design||Price in pounds||Price in euros|
|50p||2016||Jemima Puddle-Duck (Beatrix Potter)||£8||€9|
|50p||2023*||Royal Shield (Charles III) Not issued yet||£7||€8|
We hope you found this post interesting. If you collect 50 pence coins and would like to share your experience with us or give your opinion, please do so in the comments box below. Thank you!