FIFTY PENCE VARIETIES

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 coins (Numismatics) are the Obverse or Reverse side This means the Obv. side is the Head of the Monarch, or in the case of Guernsey C.I. it's arms or Guernsey Crest . The other side being the reverse (Rev) usually shows Britannia, or the third and forth quarterings of the Royal Arms, or 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 ..

The introduction of the first 50 Pence piece in I969 was the first stage of a gradual change over to a Metric system .It replaced our 10 shilling note (Slang / Ten Bob note) 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 a Pound. In times gone by 6 pennies= a Sixp'nce ( Slang/ a tanner in 'old- money'). together with 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 .

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 .

 

188,400,000 / Also in a 5 pc. Proof set, issued to Celebrate 50yrs of the 50 Pence. M= 3,500 (in Jan 2019) Rare

..See all other mintages

V............below..........V

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
1976

Rev Shows New Pence above Britannia and 50 below

43,746,000
* Terms used * Rev and Obv sides Obverse (Obv) side, usually shows the Monarch's Head , the Reverse (Rev) is the other side (see 2nd para above)
1977 Rev Shows Britannia 49,536,000
1978 Rev Shows Britannia 72,005,000

1979

 

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 158,820 a Low issue
1985 Rev Shows Britannia 682,100 /Low as well
* * Terms used * * Rev or Obv sides See 1976 entry *
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 U nc sets Unknown mintage
1992-93 dual date Rev shows the UK as EEC Commision leaders Now seems a new contender as regards rarity, unusual / Ext Rare 109,000. Low/ rare, the Kew Gardens is 210.000 so which is rarer in circulation?
     
1994 Rev Depicts the 50th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings ,with planes above, still the 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 entry*
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

5,043,000

 

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.: 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
2004(1)

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 entry *
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 Rev by Matthew Dent shows part of the Royal Shield and a part Puzzle to solve 22,747,000
2009 250yrs of the Botanical Gdns at Kew /1759 to 2009/ Rev 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 the 29 Rev types to mark the different Sports of the 2012 London Olympics. The Royal Mint official term Tthe London 2012 Sports Collection applies/ (29 revs follows)  
2011 / 29 Varieties 1/29 Aquatics ; 2/29 Archery 3/29 Athletics ;4/29 Badminton
  5/29 Basketball; 6/29 Boccia 7/29 Boxing; 8/29 Canoeing
T/12 shows a plan to explain Offside rule 9/29 Cycling;10/29 Equestrian 11/29 Fencing;12/29Football
  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 ;
  26/29 Volleyball 27/29 Weightlifting
  28/29 Wheelchair Rugby 29/29 Wrestling
  Mintage Figs to follow when available as so // 2011 Types X/29 etc, etc
2013 (1) Rev shows the Royal Shield 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 entry *
2014 Rev shows the Glasgow Commonwealth Games 6,500,000
     
2015 (1) Rev shows the 1940 Battle of Britain & Airmen with a New Obv portrait by Jody Clark 5,900,000
     
2015 (2) As above, but NO denomination at all on either side (50p) and the Old version of the Queen's portrait by Ian Rank Broadley (due to a Minting error) Types 1,4 and 5 Obv have the new Jody Clark portrait . M unknown
     
2015 {3) Type 3 Rev shows third & forth quarterings and date at 12o'clock on the Obv side M unknown
2015 (4) Type 4 Similar but date at 25 past position This is due to updated Crown and Queen's portrait by Jody Clark M unknown
2015 {5} The Silver Proof 50p features the new Jody Clark Obv also NO denomination at all (So 5 Types of 2015), unusual , also it is now apparent that there are 3 versions of the Obv. side  
2016 Rev 1 / Battle of Hastings / Design by John Bergdahl 5,000,000
* * Terms used * * Obv or Rev sides See 1976 *
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 / marking 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, re Miss Potter 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 / Rev shows a swimmer doing the Butterfly stroke/ designer Tim Sharp . 6,400,000
2017 Rev 1/ Sir Isaac Newton and the 300th Aniv. of his Gold Standard report . 1,801,500
2017 More Beatrix Potter coins issued, Mr Jeremy Fisher, Tom Kitten, The tale of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny,

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

 

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 M unknown
2018 (Pd2) Paddington Bear at the Palace M unknown
2018 Flying Snowman. Obv by Jody Clark Rev by Natasha Ratcliffe M unknown
2018/ 200 Yrs ago, Mary Shelley's novel 'Frankenstein' // Special 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 // Special . 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 (1954) -2004 M- of only 3,500 sets. (Rare) in Superb Royal Mint Proof Quality
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' a 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 *
     
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
     
     
Acknowledgements to   Last update, 19th April 2019. by Bill Exley ,
Colin Hinson & Philippa Exley   author of 'Guernsey Coinage' in 1968, Blunham Pubs and Histories in 1985 and
The Royal Mint archives   Bygone Guernsey and it's Coins in 2018
     
     

ADDENDUM

You may like to visit Blunham.com and our delightful Bedfordshire Village of Blunham with it's Thatched Cottages. Try the links on the Blunham Page with my work on Victorian Public Houses, this on Fifty Pence Varieties and 'Misc & Mash'. You can easily return back to the Home Page to explore the extensive research by Colin Hinson, the Blunham Web-Master, by the link below. 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 = 109.000 , 1984 = 158,820 and the2009 ( Kew ) =210,000 * *

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