Since being released into the UK’s currency system in 1969 as part of decimalisation, the reverse of the 50p coin has seen many different designs. The coin has become synonymous with the commemoration of important British figures and historical moments. With over 70 individual designs, the 50p coin is highly collectable and the British public anticipates the new designs each year. But just how many 50p coins are there?
We’ve got the ultimate guide of every 50p coin released into circulation as of August 2020, along with a few uncirculated commemorative issues.
Circulated 50p Coins
To begin with, we’ll talk you through every different 50p design that has been released into circulation. On occasion, the Royal Mint releases several designs within a small time period as part of a collection. In these cases, we’ve included links to our in-depth guides that discuss the individual designs and their values in more detail.
Britannia 50p 1969-2008
Mintage = Over 1 billion
Estimated Value = Varies
The first 50p coins were minted in 1969 as part of the decimalisation of the UK’s currency system. The reverse design was created by coin artist Christopher Ironside and features the figure of Britannia seated beside a lion.
Up until 1982, the inscription of the reverse design read ‘NEW PENCE’ but this was later changed to read the denomination of ‘FIFTY PENCE’ which remains on coins minted to this day.
In 1997, the size of the 50p was decreased and larger versions of the coin were officially demonetised in 1998.
Royal Shield 50p 2008-Current Date
Mintage = Around 200 million
Estimated Value = £0.50
In 2008, the standard reverse design of the 50p coin was changed to feature the bottom of the Royal Shield. The image of the shield can be completed by collecting one of each of the UK’s standard coin denominations from 1p to 50p that feature the new designs. The idea came from Matthew Dent as part of a winning competition entry.
The change to the Royal Shield design was met with objections from the British public as the figure of Britannia had always been featured on at least one UK coin denomination. As the 50p was the last coin to feature this design, the change to the shield meant her figure would no longer be minted.
The newspaper Daily Mail launched a campaign known as ‘ Save Britannia’ but despite the uproar, the design change still went ahead and the new Royal Shield 50 pence coins were released in 2008. Surprisingly, they were well received by the public with many people going out of their way to collect the coins to complete the shield’s image.
Accession to the European Economic Community 50p 1973
Mintage = 89,775,000
Estimated Value = £1.82
The very first commemorative 50p to have been released was minted to commemorate the UK’s accession to the European Economic Community.
The design was kept relatively simple and features nine hands clasping each other in a circle, each representing one of the nine-member states within the EEC. Created by David Wynne, it is said to represent the trust, assistance, and friendship that comes with being a member of the European Economic Community.
This coin was minted before the changes implemented to the size of the 50p coin and can therefore no longer be found in circulation. Read this article to learn more about the coin.
EC Presidency 50p 1992-1993
Mintage = 109,000
Estimated Value = £48.50
With only 109,00 of these coins minted, the EC Presidency 50p is the rarest 50p to have entered circulation in the UK.
The coin was minted to celebrate the UK’s presidency of the European Council of Ministers and the completion of the Single Market in 1992-1993.
The reverse design, by Mary Milner Dickens, is of a conference table as seen from above. Surrounding the table are 12 chairs, one for each of the Council of Ministers. The chair at the head of the table includes the inscription ‘UK’ to symbolize the presidency. There are twelve stars on the table, each one placed at the geographic location of the EEC member’s capital city that it represents.
This 50p was minted before the changes to the size of the coin and is therefore no longer in circulation, but you can learn more about the coin in this article.
50th Anniversary of D-Day Landings 50p 1994
Mintage = 6,705,520
Estimated Value = £2.60
The 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings saw the Royal Mint release what remains to be one of the most intricately designed 50p coins.
On the 6th of June 1944, British armed forces and their American and Commonwealth allies crossed over from England to Normandy and began an assault on the occupying German forces. Now known as D-Day, the attack is seen as one of the most pivotal moments in the Second World War and saw countless lives lost.
The commemorative coin, designed by sculptor John Mills, depicts the Allied invasion force heading for the beaches of Normandy with a fleet of planes filling the sky and ships covering the sea. The only inscription on the coin reads ’50 PENCE’ and can be found towards the bottom left of the design.
This coin was minted before the changes to the size of the 50p and is therefore no longer in circulation, however, it has been covered in this article previously.
European Union 50p 1998
Mintage = 5,043,000
Estimated Value = £1.93
In 1998, the Royal Mint released a 50p coin to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the United Kingdom’s entry into the European Economic Community. The coin also marked the six-month Presidency of the European Union.
The coin’s reverse design was created by John Mills and features the twelve stars of the European Union. At the bottom of the design is the inscription of the dates 1973 and 1998, marking the dates of entry into the EU and the year of the coin’s release respectively. The letters ‘EU’ can be seen written with negative space in the star design and the inscription ’50 PENCE’ is at the very bottom of the coin.
If you’re interested in learning more about this coin then read our article here.
NHS 50th Anniversary 50p 1998
Mintage = 5,001,000
Estimated Value = £2.16
Released in 1998, the NHS 50p coin is a celebration of those who dedicate their lives to helping others. The coin commemorates 50 years since the creation of the NHS and the countless lives that have been saved as a result.
The NHS (National Health Service) was formed in 1948 to provide free healthcare to citizens of the United Kingdom. It is widely regarded as one of the best political decisions to have been made and to this day, the members of the NHS staff are regarded as heroes.
The reverse design depicts a pair of open hands with beams of light radiating from them, representing the hope that was provided to the people of the UK once the NHS was formed. The inscription ‘NHS’ is repeated several times along the edge of the coin’s design and towards the top reads ‘FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY’. The design was created by David Cornell.
You can read our in-depth guide to the NHS 50p coin here.
Public Libraries Act 50p 2000
Mintage = 11,263,000
Estimated Value = £1.00
The Public Libraries Act 50p coin celebrates the 150th anniversary of an Act that undoubtedly paved the way for today’s network of libraries.
The Act is said to have brought knowledge and literature within reach of every member of society and was backed by world-renowned author Charles Dickens. Despite the ongoing digital age, libraries have remained a key part of society and act as a physical record of how literature and information have changed throughout history.
Created by Mary Milner Dickens, the reverse design is of the turning pages of a book with the inscription ’50 PENCE’ within them. The book lies upon a classical library building that features compact discs within the pediment. The dates 1850 and 2000 can be found at the top of the coin’s design.
A more in-depth guide about this coin can be found here.
Suffragettes 50p 2003
Mintage = 3,124,030
Estimated Value = £2.65
Commemorating undeniably one of the most important political groups in history is the Suffragettes 50p coin, released in 2003 to mark the 100th anniversary of their formation.
The Suffragettes were a seminal movement initiated by Emmeline Pankhurst that campaigned mercilessly for the equal voting rights of women. The Suffragettes, also known as The Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), had thousands of members, many of whom were imprisoned for their protesting methods.
The reverse design by Mary Milner Dickens is of the figure of a suffragette chained to railings, one of their well-known protesting tactics. The figure is holding a banner that has the letters WSPU and appears next to a voting ballot that reads ‘GIVE WOMEN THE VOTE’. Below and to the right of the ballot are the dates 1903 and 2003 respectively.
You can learn more about the coin in this article.
Roger Bannister 50p 2004
Mintage = 9,032,500
Estimated Value = £1.07
Released in 2004, the Roger Bannister 50p commemorates the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest sporting achievements of all time – the sub-4-minute mile.
In 1954, Sir Roger Bannister became the first person in recorded history to run a mile in under four minutes, crossing the line in 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds. His achievement proved what people thought to be impossible and continue to inspire athletes to this day.
The reverse design by James Butler features a runner’s pair of legs with a stylised stopwatch in the background, displaying Butler’s record time. The words ’50 pence’ are engraved in a large font towards the bottom.
We have previously covered this coin in more depth in this article.
Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary 50p 2005
Mintage = 17,649,000
Estimated Value = £1.11
Marking 250 years since the release of Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language, this 50p is one of the more commonly found commemorative issues.
The dictionary was first published in 1755 and took 8 years to compile. It contained the definitions of 40,000 words and to this day remains one of the most famous dictionaries in history.
On the reverse design, by Tom Phillips, are the dictionary entries for the words ‘FIFTY’ and ‘PENCE’ written in a stylised font. There is an inscription of the figure ‘50’ at the top of the coin, and the bottom reads ‘JOHNSON’S DICTIONARY 1755’.
You can read more about the Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary 50p coin here.
Victoria Cross 50p coins 2006 (2 coins)
VC Award Mintage = 12,087,000; Estimated Value = £1.24
VC Heroic Acts Mintage = 10,000,500; Estimated Value = £1.50
In 2006, two different 50p designs were released to mark the 150th anniversary of the Institution of the Victoria Cross.
The first of these coins was designed by Clair Aldridge and depicts both the reverse and obverse of the Victoria Cross. The date of 29 JAN 1856 can be seen engraved in the centre of the reverse of the cross and there is an inscription of the letter VC towards the bottom right-hand side of the coin. You can read more about this coin in our article here.
The second coin design was created by Clive Duncan and pays tribute to those deserving of the award. The design features a soldier carrying their wounded comrade. Behind them is the outline of the Victoria Cross created using a sunburst effect, emphasising the heroism of those the award is intended for.
Scouting Movement 50p 2007
Mintage = 7,710,750
Estimated Value = £1.28
To commemorate the centenary of the Scouting Movement in 2007, the Royal Mint released a new 50p coin. The Scouting Movement started as a boys camp on Brownsea Island and has since grown to be a worldwide community that offers opportunities to young people of all backgrounds.
Designed by Kerry Jones, the reverse of the coin the Scout’s logo, a fleur-de-lis, superimposed over a globe to represent the global reach of the movement. The coin features the inscription ‘BE PREPARED’ at the bottom of the design which is the Scout’s famous motto. The dates 1907 and 2007 can be found on the left and right sides of the coin respectively.
Due to the demand for this coin, we have covered it entirely in an article that you can find here.
Kew Gardens 50p 2009
Mintage = 210,000
Estimated Value = £146.16
The Kew Gardens 50p coin is considered to be the rarest 50p coin currently in circulation. With a mintage of only 210,00, the coin is highly desired by collectors and regularly sells for over £160.
The coin was created to celebrate 250 years of the iconic Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew which hosts 4.5 acres of gardens and features impressive glass architecture.
The reverse design by Christopher Le Brun is of the famous Chinese Pagoda that resides within the gardens, encircled by leafy vines that twist up to the top of the design. The inscription ‘Kew’ can be found at the base of the pagoda with dates 1759 and 2009 to the left and right of the coin respectively.
You can read more about the Kew Gardens 50p coin in this dedicated article.
Girlguiding 50p 2010
Mintage = 7,410,090
Estimated Value = £1.75
The 2010 Girlguiding 50p coin celebrates 100 years of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. The organisation has provided strength and a sense of community to millions of girls throughout the world and is a worthy recipient of a commemorative coin.
Starting in 1909 after a few determined girls turned up to a Boy Scout Rally asking for ‘something for the girls’, Girlguiding UK has provided opportunities to those who may not receive them elsewhere for over 100 years.
The reverse design was created by Jonathan Evans and Donna Hainan and features the Girlguiding logo. Their logo is of a trefoil which represents the threefold promise of the Guides. Around the edge of the coin is an inscription which reads ‘CELEBRATING ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF GIRLGUIDING UK’.
You can read our in-depth guide to the 2010 Girlguiding 50p coin here.
WWF 50p 2011
Mintage = 3,400,000
Estimated Value = £2.11
Popular amongst collectors for its simplistic design is the WWF 50p, released in 2011. The coin was minted to commemorate 50 years of the work of WWF who are the world’s leading independent conservation organisation.
The design features 50 different icons that represent the broad range of work the organisation completes. Various animals, plants, and landscapes can be seen with the iconic panda logo taking centre stage. The date ‘2011’ is engraved at the bottom in bold font along with the initials of the designer, Matthew Dent.
We previously wrote about this coin in this article, if you want a more in-depth guide.
London 2012 50p Collection 2011 (29 coins)
Mintage = Varies
Estimated Value = Varies
The release of the London 2012 Olympic 50ps marked the beginning of many people’s collections. The collection had 29 designs, each representing a different sport featured in the Olympic and Paralympic games.
Part of what made these coins so highly desirable was the sense of unity that the 2012 Olympic Games brought to the United Kingdom. The event is considered to have been a once in a lifetime spectacle and was enjoyed by people of all cultures and backgrounds.
The coins were designed by a large group of artists and highlighted each of the sporting categories with unique interpretations. Each of the coins had various mintage figures ranging between 1 and 4 million, making some more desired by collectors than others.
Christopher Ironside 50p 2013
Mintage = 7,000,000
Estimated Value = £1.20
On the 100th anniversary of his birth, the Royal Mint released a 50p coin to commemorate the designer of the UK’s first decimal coins, Christopher Ironside.
The reverse design is of his own work and marks the first time that his Royal Arms design has appeared to the public, 44 years after its creation.
Despite not being chosen to be used on 50p coins in favour of his more popular design of Britannia, The Royal Arms was much loved by the Royal Mint Advisory Committee. So much so in fact, that they went so far as to create trial pieces in hopes that they would be used in the future. Nothing could have been more fitting to commemorate one of Britain’s greatest coin artists than to use his original design on a 50p at last.
You can read more about the 2013 Christopher Ironside 50p here.
Benjamin Britten 50p 2013
Mintage = 5,300,000
Estimated Value = £1.32
The Benjamin Britten 50p coin was released in 2013 to mark 100 years since the beloved composer’s birth. Famous for his work on the operas ‘War Requiem’ and ‘Peter Grimes’, Britten secured his name as one of the greatest musicians of all time.
Designed by Tom Phillips CBE RA, the coin’s reverse design features the inscriptions of ‘BLOW BUGLE BLOW’ and ‘SET THE WILD ECHOES FLYING’ at the top and bottom of the coin respectively. The composer’s name is written in a stave in reference to his unmatched musical abilities, and across the centre of the coin is the inscription ‘COMPOSER BORN 1913’.
Glasgow Commonwealth Games 50p 2014
Mintage = 6,500,000
Estimated Value = £1.20
Released in 2014, the Glasgow Commonwealth Games 50p was struck as a reminder of the sporting event which brings together countries from around the world.
The reverse design was created by Alex Loudon in collaboration with Dan Flashman. It features a cyclist facing out of the coin and a sprinter that is facing to the right. The iconic cross of St Andrews proudly stretches over the coin, and the inscription ‘XX COMMONWEALTH GAMES GLASGOW’ sits in the background in a stylised font. The date 2014 is towards the bottom-left of the coin.
We covered this coin in-depth in an article that you can find here.
Battle of Britain 50p 2015
Mintage = 5,900,000
Estimated Value = £1.44
The Battle of Britain 50p coin is a key part of any history fan’s collection and was created to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the event. During the battle, which took place during World War Two, Britain defended itself from an airborne attack launched by the Germans. It was considered to be a key turning point for the allies during the war.
The reverse design by Gary Breeze is of three airmen running towards their planes, whilst several more aircraft fly overhead towards them. The inscription ‘THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN’ is written boldly across the centre with the date 1940 placed at the bottom of the coin.
The coin has drawn interest from collectors due to there being three different versions produced. The differences do not involve the reverse design, and rather include a change in the obverse portrait of the Queen and the addition of the inscription ‘Fifty Pence’. Certain versions of the coins are worth more than others with collectors being particularly interested in those minted without the coin denomination.
You can read more about the Battle of Britain 50p coin here.
Team GB 50p 2016
Mintage = 6,400,000
Estimated Value = £1
Following the huge success of the 2012 Olympic 50p collection, it seemed only right that another commemorative coin was released for the 2016 Games that were held in Rio.
Designed by artist Tim Sharp, the reverse features a swimmer performing the butterfly stroke and facing out of the coin. It is believed that a swimmer was chosen to represent the games thanks to the UK’s success in the sporting category in 2012 and the hopes for further medals in 2016.
Various stylistic shapes surround the left side of the coin, representing the flag of the United Kingdom. Above the swimmer are the 5 Olympic rings and the official Team GB logo. The inscription ‘TEAM GB’ is the only writing on the coin’s design.
Battle of Hastings 50p 2016
Mintage = 6,700,000
Estimated Value = £1.60
The Battle of Hastings 50p coin was released in 2016 to mark its 950th anniversary. Fought on the 14th October 1066 between the French and English armies, the battle led to the collapse of the English Army and saw the first Norman King crowned. It is widely considered to be one of the most important battles in British history and is thought to have changed the course of history.
The reverse design by John Bergdahl is inspired by the iconic Bayeux Tapestry and depicts the leader of the English Army, King Harold, during his untimely fate at the hands of William The Conqueror. The inscription surrounding the coin reads ‘THE BATTLE OF HASTINGS’ and the date 1066 is written across the centre of the coin.
You can read our in-depth guide on the Battle of Hastings 50p coin here.
Beatrix Potter 50p Collection 2016-2018 (13 Coins)
Mintage = Varies
Estimated Value = Varies
One of the most popular collections to have been released by the Royal Mint is the Beatrix Potter 50p collection. Released in two parts over the course of three years, the coins have proven to be a huge success with the general public.
The collection features 13 coins, each focused on a different character or story created by famous children’s author Beatrix Potter. The various designs include the iconic Peter Rabbit and Flopsy Bunny, with the rarest coin in the collection featuring Jemima Puddle-Duck.
Perhaps the most associated coin with the series is the Beatrix Potter portrait 50p which features an image of the famous Author, which you can learn more about by reading this article.
Sir Isaac Newton 50p 2017
Mintage = 1,801,500
Estimated Value = £2.52
Sir Isaac Newton is undoubtedly one of the most influential names in science. Widely recognised for his work in the fields of physics and mathematics, Newton’s work continues to be of great importance to this day.
Unknown to many, however, is his work for the Royal Mint. During his time it is estimated that as many as 1 in 10 circulating coins were forged. After visiting the Royal Mint, Newton worked to improve quality checks and refine the weights and measures to unprecedented standards. He became Master of the Mint in 1699 and went on to oversee the new coinage for Queen Anne.
The Sir Issac Newton 50p coin was released in 2017 to mark the 375th anniversary of his birth. The reverse design was created by Aaron West and is based on Proposition 11 of Newton’s Principia Mathematica.
With just under 2 million of these coins being minted, it is one of the rarest 50p coins in circulation, and you can learn more about it in our article here.
Representation of the People Act 50p 2018
Mintage = 9,000,000
Estimated Value = £1.90
In 2018, the Royal Mint released a 50p coin to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Representation of the People Act being passed. The Act granted the right to vote to servicemen over the age of 19, all men over the age of 21, and all women over the age of 30. Despite not having equal rights, the Act still marked a huge moment in history that paved the way for equal voting rights in the future.
The reverse design, by Stephen Taylor, features five people lined up and ready to vote. The woman at the front of the line is proudly holding a voting card in the air. Above the line is an inscription that reads ‘1918 REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE ACT’.
You can read our in-depth guide to the Representation of the People Act 50p coin here.
Paddington Collection 2018/2019
Mintage = Varies
Estimated Value = Varies
2018 saw the release of two coins featuring one of Britain’s most beloved fictional characters, Paddington Bear, to mark the 60th anniversary of his creation. Their huge popularity with the general public led to the Royal Mint releasing a further two designs the following year.
Each of the designs featured Paddington in front of various London landmarks, including St Paul’s Cathedral and Buckingham Palace. All of the coin’s reverse designs were created by lifelong Paddington fan David Knapton and used the bear’s 3D model created for use in the 2014 film series.
You can read our in-depth guide to the Paddington Bear 50p coin collection and discover the detail behind each coin here.
Sherlock Holmes 50p 2019
Mintage = 8,602,000
Estimated Value = £1.37
The Sherlock Holmes 50p was released in 2019 and pays tribute to the 160th anniversary of the birth of esteemed crime fiction author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
The reverse design, created by artist Stephen Raw, features the silhouette of Doyle’s most infamous character, Sherlock Holmes. He can be seen wearing his iconic deerstalker with a pipe in his mouth. His silhouette is surrounded by the titles of some of the best-known stories Holmes has featured in, including The Hound of the Baskervilles and A Study in Scarlet.
The official mintage figure has only just been released in 2021 and stands at 8,602,000.
You can read our in-depth guide to the Sherlock Holmes 50p coin and discover more on its history here.
Brexit 50p 2020
Mintage = Unknown
Estimated Value = £1.67
The most recent 50p coin to be released into circulation as of August 2020 is the Brexit 50p. More formally known as the ‘Withdrawal from the European Union’ 50p coin, it was released to mark the end of the UK’s involvement in the EU.
The reverse design simply reads ‘Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations’ as a symbol of respect to the remaining nations within the EU. Below the inscription is the official date of the withdrawal, 31 January 2020.
The official mintage figure of the Brexit 50p coin is still unknown but it is estimated to be around 10 million.
You can read more about the Brexit 50p coin here.
Uncirculated 50p Coins
On occasion, the Royal Mint will release new 50p coin designs that do not enter circulation and instead remain commemorative issues only. These coins are typically available to buy in brilliant uncirculated, silver proof, and gold proof qualities.
We’ve listed the uncirculated coins released by the Royal Mint. You can check out our detailed guides on the highlighted entries.
- The Snowman 50p Collection 2018/2019
- Stephen Hawking 50p 2019
- The Gruffalo 50p Collection 2019
- Wallace & Gromit 50p 2019
- 50 Years of the Fifty Pence 50p 2019
- Peter Rabbit 50p 2019
- Team GB 50p 2020
- Peter Rabbit 50p 2020
- Dinosaur 50p Collection 2020
- Rosalind Franklin 50p 2020
- Peter Pan 50p Collection 2020
With over 70 different coin designs in circulation, the 50p has become one of the most collectable items in the UK. If this list is anything to go by, there are bound to be many more designs released in the future.
If you have any questions about the coins mentioned in this article, you can contact us here.