By Bill Exley

The first 50 pence piece was a large ungainly coin of 13-5gms and 30mm diam , introduced into circulation in Oct 1969. until 1998 when it ceased to be legal tender , the Thin version appearing in Oct. 1997. For Rarity value it is quite widely accepted that the 2009 Kew Gardens specimen is the hardest to find .It shows a square shaped Pagoda entwined by a Vine, with a weight of 8-0 gms and standard diam today of 27-3 mm It consists of 'Cupro Nickel' 75% Copper and 25% Nickel (with other strengthening agents of Iron and Manganese) The low mintage fig of only 210,000 issued, stamps it's rarity value to collectors, compared to the 2010 Girl Guides issue of 7,500,000 coins.

I think now that there are 4 Rarities to find due to Low mintage or popular design. The 1984 mintage is only 158,000 // 1992/93 dual date (unusual) and only 109,000 made // the 2015 Battle of Britain, missing a 50 pence value on either side // and the 2009 Kew Gardens with 210,000 minted. The 2009 and 2015 are a Thin version (8gms), the other two are the earlier Thick type (13.5gms).

Common terms used in the hobby of coin collecting, or Numismatics, are the 'Obverse' or 'Reverse' sides, this means the Obv. side is the Head of the Monarch, or in the case of Guernsey, Ch.Isles. the Arms or Guernsey Crest . The other side being the reverse (Rev) usually showing Britannia, or the third and forth quarterings of the Royal Arms or a commerative designs .The actual word Britannia , or Britannica were terms used by the Romans for Britain, appearing as a Rev image on our earliest copper coins as far back as the reign of Charles 2nd ,. ( 1660-1685 )

The introduction of the first 50 Pence coin in I969 was the first stage of a gradual change over to a Metric system for the UK. It replaced our old monetary system of Pounds, Shillings and Pence wth 240 Pence to the Pound .. Tthe 10 shilling note (Slang / Ten Bob note), now a 50 pence and equiv. to 120 old pennies. England went fully Decimal on the 15th Feb 1971. On 14/2/71 , 12 Pennies = 1 Shilling (Slang / a Bob) , 20 Shillings = £1 ( Slang/ a Quid) or 240 old pennies to the Pound. In times gone by, 6 pennies = a Sixp'nce ( Slang/ a tanner in 'old- money'). also three-penny bits (Brass), half-pennies and 'Florins' a nice looking two-shilling coin.

In Victorian times there was even a 'Double Forin' coin. but minted for 4 years only, 1887 to 1890 and struck in Fine Silver, They even had a Nick Name, Bar-Maid's Grief as they were so similar to a Crown. To finish my trip down Nostalgia Lane for my American and Foreign readers , there were 4 Crowns to our old pound, now 25 Pence since decimalisation, then the ornate 'Half-Crown' worth Two Shillings and Six Pence. . . ( To Main Index Page )

1969 Our 1st 50p coin, Rev shows Britannia a heavy coin of 13-5 gms and diam of 30-5mm.. Other decimals were struck in 1968 .


188,000,000 / and also in a 5Pc Proof set,issued Jan 2019 / M 3,500, for 50 yrs of the 50pence coin


...other mintages below

1970 Rev . Shows Britannia, the heavy version is with us up to and incl. 1997 19,461,000
1971 The First Decimal Proof set and the only place to find a 50p, so Not in general circulation Unknown mintage
1972 A 50p is Only found in a 1972 Proof Set of 7 Coins, with a Crown Equiv. to 25 Pence Unknown mintage
1973 Rev shows a circle of 9 hands to mark our joining the E.E.C..and 8 partners The First Comm. 50p piece 89,775,000
1974 The 50p is only found in the Royal Mint Proof and B Unc sets Unknown mintage

Rev Shows New Pence above Britannia and 50 below

The definition of Terms used An Obverse side (Obv) or Reverse side (Rev) Obv side, shows the Monarch's Head , Rev is the other side. (see 3rd para above)
1977 Rev Shows Britannia 49,536,000
1978 Rev Shows Britannia 72,005,000



Rev shows Britannia, still a large coin , the novelty of New Pence is dropped in 1982 58,680,000
1980 Rev Shows Britannia 89,086,000
1981 Rev Shows Britannia 74,002,000
1982 Rev Shows Britannia , also found in Royal Mint B Unc Year sets . 51,312,000
1983 Rev now shows Fifty Pence above Britannia 62,825,000
1984 Rev Shows Britannia and Only found in Royal Mint year type sets of B Unc coins, supplied 'then' by Large G.P.O's , this idea was later dropped 158,820 / Low issue
1985 Rev Shows Britannia 682,100 /Low as well
Terms used Rev or Obv sides See 1976 data
1986 The 50p, Only found in the 8 coin Proof Sets Unknown mintage
1987 The 50p, Only found in the Proof Set of 7 coins Unknown mintage
1990 The 50p, Only in the Royal Mint Proof or B Unc Card sets Unknown mintage
1992-93 Dual Date, why I do not know/ Rare in Bunc (Bright Uncirculated Condition) Rev shows the UK as EEC Commision leaders Now seems a new unusual rarity, 109,000. (Low) , the Kew Gardens is 210.000 so which is rarer in circulation?
1994 Rev / 50th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings (planes above) by John Mills / still a Heavy version 6,705,520
1995 The 50p is only found in Royal Mint Proof and B Unc sets Unknown mintage
1997(Thick and Thin) Rev has Britannia, the Obv shows older version of the Queen's portrait and Crown. The thinner coin of 8gms now arrives in Oct 1997 456,364,100 ( V. High )
1997 It is interesting to note that this Proof Set has a Large and Thin version of 50p Plus the Aniv £5 coin in a 10 piece set as issued Unknown mintage(Rare)
Terms used Obv and Rev sides See 1976 data
1998 (1)

Type 1 / Multiple flags depicting the 25th Aniv. of our joining the E.E.C. in 1973. All heavy 50p's are now demonitised in the Autumn



1998(2) Type 2 Rev / The N.H.S now 50yrs and a thin version 5,001,000
1998(3) Type 3 / Standard Bitannia on Rev but New image and Crown on the Obv.:by Ian Rank-Broadley 64,306,500
1999 Rev Shows Britannia 24,905,000
2000 Rev Shows Britannia 27,915,000
2000 Type 2 Rev depicts Libraries and 150yrs of the Public Libraries Act 11,263,000
2001 Rev Shows Britannia 84,998,500
2002 Ditto as above 23,907,500
2003 Diito as above 23,583,000
Terms used Obv and Rev sides See 1976 entry
2003 Rev 2 shows Womens Rights, 100th Aniv of Social and Political union 3,124,000

50yrs ago the 1st Sub 4 min. mile ran by 25 yr old Dr.Rodger Bannister (6/5/54) Rev shows a Clock

9,032,500 .Also in a 5 Pc Proof set M=3,500 (See Refs in 1969 and 2019)
2004(2) Rev 2 shows Britannia 35,315,500
2005 Rev as above 25,363,,500
2005 Rev 2/ Aniv of the English Dictionary by Samuel Johnson 250 Yrs ago 17,649,000
2006(1) Rev shows 150th Aniv of the V.C medal.given for Valour, instituted by Queen Victoria in 1856 12,087,000
2006(2) Type 2 Rev shows an act of Valour, with a soldier saving his comrade 10,000,500
2006(3 Type 3 Rev shows Britannia 24,560,000
Terms used Obv and Rev sides See 1976 data
2007 Scouting Movement Rev by Kerry Davies 7,710,750 . Also in a 5 Pc Proof Set M=3,500 (See Ref 2019 )
2007{2} Type 2 Rev shows Britannia 11,200,000
2008 Type 1 Rev shows Britannia 3,500,000
2008(2) Type 2 A new Rev by Matthew Dent shows part of the Royal Shield, third and fourth quarterings,also a part Puzzle to solve 22,747,000
2009 250yrs of the Botanical Gdns at Kew /1759 to 2009 / Rev shows a Pagoda design by Christopher Le Brun

210,000 (Also in a 5 Pc Proof set M= 3,500 See Ref 2019))

2010 Rev shows 100yrs of the Girl Guide movement in the U.K. 7,410,,000 Also in a 5pc Proof set M= 3,500 (See Ref 2019)
2011 Rev shows a complex scene with a central Panda / 50yrs work by the World Wildlife Org. 3,400,000
2011/ Here follows 29 Varieties to mark the different events of 'The 2012 London Olympics ' The Royal Mint official term 'The London 2012 Sports Collection' will apply / So 29 revs follow Mintage Figs to follow as so 2011 Types , X/29 etc
2011 1/29 Aquatics ; 2/29 Archery 3/29 Athletics ;4/29 Badminton
Type 1/29 Aquatics, 2 Varieties Two types, / original run shows water and Face hidden, revised to show a Face in detail M /?
Type 3/29 Athletics, 2 Varieties Rev shows a High Jumper, designed by a School Child a Royal Mint first Obv can be Two dates 2009 or 2011, M/?
  5/29 Basketball; 6/29 Boccia 6/29 M= 2,160,000; 7/29 Boxing; 8/29 Canoeing
12/29 Football , Shows a plan explaining the 'Offside rule' 9/29 Cycling;10/29 Equestrian 9/29 M= 2,090.500 11/29 Fencing; 12/29 Football, M=1,125,000
  13/29 Goalball;14/29 Gymnastics 15/29 Handball; 16/29 Hockey
  17/29 Judo 18/29 Modern Pentathlon
  19/29 Rowing; 20/29 Sailing 21/29 Shooting 22/29 Table Tennis
  23/29 Taekwondo; 24/29 Tennis 25/29 Triathlon, M= 1,163,500
  26/29 Volleyball 27/29 Weightlifting
  28/29, Wheelchair Rugby 29/29 Wrestling
2011 / Types 12 Football and 25 Triathlon are both Rare in Bunc.

12/29, Diag. of the 'Offside rule' Types 12 and 25 both low mintages Compared to 27 or 84 millions


12/29 M= 1,125,000
2013 (1) Rev shows the Royal Shield (2008) 10,301,000
2013 (2) Rev 2 / Benjamin Britten text 5,300,000
2013 (3) Rev 3 has a Shield, a trial sample by Christopher Ironside in selections of new Rev designs 7,400,000
2014 Rev shows the Royal Shield 49,001,000
Terms used Obv and Rev sides See 1976 data
2014 Rev shows the Glasgow Commonwealth Games 6,500,000
2015 / Five versions (1) Rev/1 shows the 1940 Battle of Britain & Airmen. The Obv has a new portrait by Jody Clark and 'Fifty Pence' shown as normal 5,900,000
2015 (2) As above, but NO denomination at all on either side (50p), also with an Old 1998 Obv of the Queen's portrait by Ian Rank Broadley, due to a Mint error. Types 1,4 and 5 Obv have the updated Queen's portrait by Jody Clark . M unknown
2015 {3) Rev 3 shows the Royal Shield by Matthew Dent (2008) Fifty Pence below. Date at 12o'clock on an older Obv side M unknown
2015 (4) Similar, but date at 25 past position on a New updated Obv by Jody Clark (Crown and Portrait) M unknown
2015 (5) A Silver Proof set A Silver Proof 50p / the new Jody Clark Obv and NO denomination at all, so 5 Types of 2015 'unusual' Also it is apparent there are 3 versions of Obv. sides
2016 Rev 1 / Battle of Hastings / Design by John Bergdahl 5,000,000
Terms used Obv or Rev sides See 1976 data
2016 The 5 Rev 's were created by the talented Royal Mint coin designer Emma Noble. She has captured every finite detail of Miss Potter's creations making a charming set of coins. 5 Revs / 150 yrs since the birth of Beatrix Potter and her much loved stories and charachters (1866) . Type 1 Peter Rabbit ; T2-Jemima Puddle- Duck ; T3 Squirrel Nutkin : T4 Mrs Tiggy-Winkle :T5-Text only, T1 m=9.600.000 T2 m= 2,100,000 T3 m= 5,000,000 T4 m= 8,800,000 T5 =6.9m
2016 Rev 7, Team G.B and the 'Rio Olympics' shows a swimmer doing the Butterfly stroke/ designer Tim Sharp . 6,400,000
2017 Rev 1/ Shows the 300th Aniv of the Gold Standard report by Sir Issac Newton . 1,801,500
2017 More Beatrix Potter coins issued, Mr Jeremy Fisher, Tom Kitten, The tale of Peter Rabbit ( M =19,900,000), Benjamin Bunny,

Tom Kitten/m 9,500,000 ,Benj Bunny, 25,000,000 Jeremy Fisher, 9,900,000

2018 More of this series for 2018 , Peter Rabbit (2nd), Flopsy Bunny, Mrs Tittle Mouse and Tailor of Gloucester as at 26/05/2018 there are 13 varieties in the series to find

New portrait for Peter Rabbit

M unknown

2018 (Pd1) Rev Shows Paddington Bear sat on his suitcase at his namesake Railway Station ( from the book by Michael Bond / 1958 ) M unknown
2018 (Pd2) Paddington Bear at the Palace, and 60yrs since the book 'A bear called Paddington' M unknown
2018 Flying Snowman. Obv by Jody Clark Rev by Natasha Ratcliffe M unknown
2018/ 200 Yrs ago, Mary Shelley's novel 'Frankenstein' // A Special Guest Insert An 'unusual UK £2 Coin, Rev Design by Thomas T. Docherty Obv by Jody Clark T.B.A.
2018/100th Anniversary of the First World War Armistice // A Special Guest Insert A very Poignant U.K. £2 Coin. Rev Stephen Raw, the Obv by Jody Clark T.B.A
2019 (Jan) A 5 Pc. Proof Set A Collection to Celebrate 50yrs since the 1st 'Thick' 50p in 1969, Kew Gdn's - 2009, Scouts - 2007, Girl Guides-2010 and the 4 min Mile (in 1954) -2004 Only 3,500 sets in Royal Mint Proof Quality. Sold out in 48hrs
2019/ Celebrates 160 yrs since the birth of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. (22/5/1859) Sherlock Holmes. a charachter from the Novel 'Woman in Scarlet ' by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887 TBA
2019 'The Gruffalo' / From the book by Julia Donaldson 20yrs ago TBA
2019 (Mar)
Stephen Hawking one of the World's most brilliant scientists. Obv by Jody Clark / Rev by Edwina Ellis TBA
2019 Peter Rabbit (3rd) Previous, 2016/18 plus The Tale of Peter Rabbit/ 2017. so 14 coins in the series now TBA
Terms used Obv and Rev sides See 1976 data
2019 /N.B./ All Obv's show 2019: 1969 is a Thin 8gms Version, the Revs have not altered A 5 Pc Coin set to Celebrate 50 yrs of our 50 Pence, 1969/ 2004/ 2007/ 2009 and 2010 TBA
2019 / A 5 coin set of previous Historical Moments on coins Celebrating our Military History and 50yrs of the 50 Pence / 1994, 2006-VC Medal, 2006- Bravery, 2015, 2016 and The Battle of Hastings TBA
2019 (Pd3) Paddington Bear visits the Tower of London in August / Rev by David Knapton and Obv is a 5th Portrait of Her Majesty, by Jody Clark TBA later
2019 (Pd4) Paddington Bear is seen again at St Paul's Cathedral on 10/9/19 TBA later
2019 / Sept / To mark 50th Aniv Rev shows Britannia, 'New Pence' above and a 50 below (not seen since 1981) Obv shows 50 Pence, ! so it has Two denominations . Plus Engraved edges, so a Unique coin TBA later
Fifty Pence 'Anomalies' 2011 Aquatics, type 1/29 plus / Dual Date 1992/93, / 2015 - Five types one with No Denomination / 2019 with 2 Denominations Seen to date, may be more ?
2019 / Oct 'The Gruffalo' and curious Mouse M unknown
2019 Wallace and Gromit / Rev by Nick Park / Obv by Jody Clark M unknown


You may like to visit '' and our delightful Bedfordshire Village of Blunham with its Thatched Cottages, try the links on the Home / Index Page and the extensive researches by Colin Hinson over many years, then my work on Victorian Public Houses, 'Misc & Mash' and 'The Ghost of Theo's Wreck.' ( A memorable part of my own life )

Finally it is of interest to note, for the 50 Pence Collector, the following dates can Only be found in Proof Sets or year type sets mounted in a card. The latter were found at the time in large G.P.O's who were appointed by the Royal Mint as distributors 1971,1972,1974,1984,1986,1987,1990 and1995 // So Not issued for general circulation.

Did You Know That ? * * The three Lowest Mintages in Ascending order are * * 1992/93 m =109.000 / 1984 m= 158,820 and the2009 ( Kew ) m=210,000 * *


Acknowledgements to Colin Hinson, Philippa Exley and the Royal Mint Archives

Last Udated 2nd Nov 2019 by Bill Exley

Author of Guernsey Coinage in 1968

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