The Handball 50p regularly sells for around £2.20 on eBay in 2022, not including postage and packaging, but what makes the coin worth so much more than face value to collectors?
To represent the 29 sports that were featured on the 2012 London Olympics coins, the Royal Mint launched a competition to find designers to best represent the commemorative coin series. The Handball 50 pence coin was one of these coins minted, and the designer chosen to create its design was Natasha Ratcliffe.
Learn all about the coin, including how rare it really is, in this article.
Handball at the Olympics
Though it is probably most played in Germany, Sweden, and Denmark, handball is a very popular sport all around the world. It is played as a team sport by two teams.
Players are allowed to throw and handle the ball with their hands, but they cannot touch the ball with their feet. Each team attempts to score as they try to keep the other team from reaching the goal. It is a very high-paced game.
It was played as an Olympic sport for the first time in 1952.
The game is played on a rectangular court that is divided by a centre line. There is a goal in the middle of each end of the court that is surrounded by a semi-circular line called the d-line. The area enclosed by the d-line is the d-zone or the crease. Only the goalkeeper is allowed in the d-zone or crease. There is also another dashed curved line that is the free-throw line.
The weight and circumference of the ball differs from the men’s and the women’s competitions.
Handball at the 2012 Olympic Games was played as a tournament that took place from July 28 to August 12 at Olympic Park. France took home the gold for the men, and Norway won gold for the women.
For the men, Sweden came in second. The Montenegro team finished second for the women.
Mintage of the Olympic Handball 50p Coin
The Handball 50 pence Olympic coin is considered to be somewhat rare. When considering mintage alone, it is the ninth rarest of the 29 Olympic coins. There were 1,676,500 Handball Olympic 50p coins minted, which is comparable to other Olympic 50p coins such as the Taekwondo or Shooting coins.
Another aspect of the coin’s design that makes it unique and sought after by collectors is the fact that the designer was one of just a few women chosen to create the image to represent the sport of handball on the coin.
Additionally, this coin was also issued in sets that included all 29 Olympic 50p coins as follows:
- London 2012 Sports Collection Collector Album set
- London 2012 Silver 50p Sports Collection set
The silver set was issued with 0.925 silver coins. Both sets have an unknown mintage.
The Handball Olympic 50 Pence coin was also minted in a specimen in Card displayed on a card marked 15/29. There was also a Silver Brilliant Uncirculated coin minted in 0.925 Silver limited to a mintage of 30,000.
One special 0.917 Gold Proof FDC that was presented to the artist
Design of the Handball 50p Coin
The Olympics Handball 50p coin was designed by Natasha Radcliffe.
All the 29 Olympic 50p special commemorative coins have a few things in common:
- They all show the 2012 Olympic logo at the center top of the reverse side. The logo was designed by the consultancy firm of Wolff Olins.
- The words 50 PENCE are centered and slightly curved upward at the bottom underneath the image on each of the 29 coins.
The reverse side design of the Handball 50p coin features an athlete fully engaged in the sport of handball and throwing the ball. In the background is the image of a handball court with all the designated lines and goals included. The size of a handball pitch is 40m X 20 m.
When the designer illustrated the image, she didn’t want anyone to confuse it with basketball. So, she added depth and dimension with raised dots around the court which also look as though there is a crowd gathered to watch.
All 29 of the special commemorative Olympic coins were issued to celebrate the 2012 London Olympics. Like other 50 pence coins, the special commemorative coins are all in a heptagon shape. The 50p coins consist of Cupro-nickel alloy, with a weight of 8.00 g, a 27.3 mm diameter, and a thickness of 1.78 mm.
The Obverse design is an image of Queen Elizabeth II as designed by Ian Rank-Broadley. The words ELIZABETH II * D * G * REG * F * D * 2011 encircle her image around the outer rim.
The edge of the coin is plain with no inscription.
About the Designer
A few years before the special Olympic commemorative coins were issued, the Royal Mint held a competition to select 29 individual designers. They sought to choose one designer for each sport and opened it up to the public. The winners were to each represent one sport that they would illustrate with an image to appear on their own individual coin.
The designer chosen for the Handball Olympic 50p coin was Natasha Radcliffe. She is one of only a few women chosen for the task, and she was selected to design more than one coin.
Natasha was also chosen to design the wheelchair rugby Olympic and Paralympic sports 50p coin. She also designed a snowman coin.
Natasha Radcliffe is an award-winning illustrator and sculptor from Falmouth. She entered the competition to become the next coin designer of the special commemorative Olympic 50p coins because she loves coins and medals and saw it as an amazing opportunity.
She had never played handball, but she was inspired by how high the athletes jump so far off the ground with so much hand motion action. She thought it would be fun to illustrate this kind of extreme animation.
She is a member of the Council of the British Art Medal Society.
Where To Buy The Coin
Going online to find collectable coins to add to a collection is the fastest and easiest way to shop for and find specific coins.