Aquatics 50p: How Much Is It Worth and Is It Rare?

Put a finishing touch on your Olympic 50 pence coin collection with the Aquatics 50p.

This coin is worth about £1.64 according to eBay. However, if you’re fortunate enough to get your hands on one from the first minted design of this coin, expect to pay quite a bit more.

Olympic Aquatics Coin Error

The designers originally created the reverse side image to show more water, wave lines. There were several Aquatics 50p coins minted with the lines in the image of the water going through the face of the swimmer before the design was withdrawn and changed so that the swimmer’s face is more visible.

While the actual mintage of the extra water lines coin is unknown, it is believed that there were about 600 issued before the Royal Mint had the designer modify the image to remove the lines which were hiding the swimmer’s face.

Although not technically an error coin as there was not a problem with the minting mechanism, these coins are still extremely rare and have sold for as much as £1,000 on eBay.

Mintage of the Aquatics 50p Coin

This coin that represents the Olympic sport of Aquatics is considered to be the 27th rarest in the set of 29 coins based solely on mintage figures.

There was a total of just slightly more than two million Aquatics 50 pence coins minted, 2,179,000 to be exact. In terms of rarity, the aquatics 50p is still considered to be very rare despite being one of the least rare of the Olympic set.

Though mintage figures do not put this coin as one of the rarest, there are a couple of aspects that make it desirable to collectors. For starters, Jonathan Olliffe also designed the Gymnastics 50p coin.

He is one of only a few designers selected to create the image for more than one of the Olympic and Paralympic coins. Additionally, he not only designed two of the Olympic 50p coins, but he actually designed the Aquatics coin twice.

When the Royal Mint began to issue the coin, they realized that the water lines covered the swimmer’s face. So, they asked Jonathan to remove a few lines to focus more on the swimmer. The end result is breathtaking, but the original minted design is highly sought after.

Additionally, the final design was minted in:

  • A Specimen in card labeled 1/29
  • Silver Brilliant Uncirculated as 0.925 Silver

One unique Gold Proof FDC 0.917 Gold was presented to the artist Jonathan Olliffe.

The second design of the 50p Aquatics Coin was also minted in sets. Each set included all 29 of the special commemorative 50 Pence Olympic and Paralympic coins.

The two sets included:

  • London 2012 Sports Collection Collector Album
  • London 2012 Silver 50p Sports Collection minted in 0.925 silver

Olympic Coin’s Design

The Aquatics coin is part of the standard 50 pence coin design with a 7-sided shape that forms an equilateral curve heptagon. As the name implies, the face value of the coin is worth 0.50 pounds sterling.

In addition to the standard 50p designs, several reverse designs have been minted on the 50p coin to commemorate important events. To pay tribute to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the Royal Mint released 29 coins in 2011. Each coin depicted a different sport, including athletics, archery, volleyball and badminton.

The Royal Mint launched a contest to determine who would be the designer of each individual 50p coin. About 30,000 entries were submitted, and 29 designs were chosen.

This coin was designed to celebrate Aquatics as an Olympic sport and is part of the special 2012 London Olympic coins minted and released in 2011. The coin is 1.78 mm thick and consists of a Cupro-nickel alloy with an 8.00g weight and a diameter of 27.3mm.

Reverse Side Design of the Aquatics 50p Coin

The Aquatics 50 Pence features the image of a swimmer heading toward the right edge of the coin with face down submerged in water. The swimmer is wearing goggles and a swim cap.

Aquatics-Olympic-50p-Coin
Aquatics Olympic 50p Coin Design

There were two versions of this image minted. The second and modified design of the reverse side image shows more of the swimmer’s face with fewer water wave lines.

The original design showed waves going over the swimmer’s face. After releasing several hundred coins, the Royal Mint asked the designer, Jonathan Olliffe, to remove some water lines from the original design so that the swimmer’s face could be better seen.

At the top and centre of the coin is the Olympic logo that was designed to be used as the 2012 Summer Olympics logo. It is seen on the coin’s reverse and was designed by Wolff Olins consultancy firm. Centred at the bottom of the coin are the words 50 PENCE.

Information About the Designer

Each of the 29 Olympic 50p coins was designed by individual designers. The designers were selected from entries to a contest launched by the Royal Mint. The winners of the contest determined who would be used for each coin. The Aquatics Olympic 50p coin was designed by Jonathan Olliffe.

Jonathan was a silversmith from Witney, Oxfordshire, so he was already familiar with working with metal. He approached his design as if it were a piece of art.

He chose to design aquatics because he saw creating the look of water to be a challenge. He incorporated his skill of engraving metal.

Aquatics at the Olympics

Aquatics events at the Olympics include swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, water polo, and open water swimming.

The Aquatics events at the 2012 London Olympics featured 34 events that were split evenly between male and female athletes. The open-water competition took place in Hyde Park’s Serpentine Lake. The other events took place in a 50m long course pool in the Olympic Park.

The events included:

  • Freestyle 50, 100, 200, 400, 800 women, and 1,500 men
  • Backstroke 100 and 200
  • Breaststroke 100 and 200
  • Butterfly 100 and 200
  • Individual medley 200 and 400
  • Relays 4×100 free, 4×200 free, 4×100 medley
  • Marathon 10 kilometers

The USA dominated the top winning spot with a total of 16 gold medals, 9 silver medals, and 6 bronze medals. Michael Phelps emerged as the most decorated Olympian of all time with 6 gold medals.