The 1997 Isle of Man 50p commemorates the TT motorcycle event that takes place on the island each year, but is it rare?
Whilst the mintage of this coin is unknown, it still regularly sells for above face value on eBay with an average value of £1.71 according to the most recent values.
Let’s see what factors affect the rarity of the coin, as well as its design and commemoration.
How Rare is the 1997 Isle of Man 50 Pence Coin?
The exact mintage numbers were never released publicly.
However, considering the small population of the crown dependency – around 85,000 – and the fact that this coin was not circulated in the United Kingdom, it is assumed that these coins are hard to find and therefore rare.
The real value of the coin can only be estimated from the price that people are willing to pay, which stands at £1.71 most recently.
Other Coins Representing the TT Races
Over the years, there have been other coins designed to commemorate the TT races that is reflected on this 1997 coin. These coins include the 2018 5-Pound coin to celebrate the 110th anniversary of the races.
Also, two commemorative two pound coins were issued in 2018 to celebrate racer Mike Hailwood. Since 1981, additional coins have been issued to honour the race and its racers such as the 50p for Joey Dunlop and special crown coins that were minted to celebrate the race’s centenary.
Design of the Coin
Despite this, the coin’s design is part of the regular 50 pence coin design. The shape is sometimes called a Reuleaux polygon which is a curve of constant width leaving the diameter of the coin with a consistent measurement regardless of the bisection you measure.
This coin was designed to celebrate the TT races which are the oldest continuing race in motorcycle history. It consists of a Cupro-nickel alloy with an 8.00g weight, a diameter of 27.3mm, and it is 1.78mm thick.
The Obverse design is that of a crowned head of Queen Elizabeth II designed by Raphael David Maklouf whose initials are under the Queen’s head. Her Majesty is wearing the George IV State Diadem. To the left it reads ISLE OF MAN, and to the right, it reads ELIZABETH II. The mint year 1997 is bottom center.
Separating the two sides at the top of the Queen’s head is the symbol of the Isle of Man, a three-legged icon. The symbol is also seen to the left and right of the date.
The edge is plain with no inscription.
The Reverse side features two motorcyclists racing encircled by a wreath-style design on both sides. The bottom centre is stamped 50. The rider in the first position has the Number 9 on the front of his bike, and the one behind him has the Number 4. Number 9 is thought to represent the TT winner Philip McCallen which is why the coin is sometimes referred to as the Isle of Man Philip McCallen 50p.
Meaning of Reverse Side Design
It represents the TT Tourist Trophy racing which started in 1907 and takes place every May or June in the dangerous mountain terrain of the Snaefell Mountain Course. The course consists of each lap that is about 60 km through urban streets and the mountains.
Racers reach an average top speed of about 200 kph. These races are considered to be the most dangerous and thrilling motorcycle races in the entire world and originated on the Isle of Man. 1997 would have represented the race’s 90th year.
How To Get A 1997 Isle of Man 50p
One of the fastest and easiest ways to shop for coins is online. The average selling price on eBay is £1.71, if you wanted to buy the coin from there.
There are also a couple of other coin dealers who offer the coin at prices up to £10.00.