Enjoy a piece of British history by adding a unique coin to your collection. Get the very first commemorative 50p to delight any coin collector.
Celebrate unity, trust, assistance, and friendship of the UK’s accession to the European Economic Community, the EEC. Another aspect that makes this coin so desirable is that it is minted in the old style of 50p pieces. It is a larger and heavier coin than the ones in circulation now. And, it is no longer in circulation.
Expect to pay an estimated value of about £1.82 for this special piece of history according to the most recent sold values on eBay.
How many 1973 European Economic Community 50p coins are there?
The 1973 European Economic Community 50p coin is not the scarcest to be released, but it does have some unique characteristics and history to its name.
One interesting note is that it was the first to be released after the coins became decimalized, and it was the first commemorative 50p coin. Additionally, no Britannia 50p coin was released that year. This coin was the only 50p coin released in 1973.
This coin is the very first commemorative version of the 50p. It is also the first 50p coin released into circulation since decimalization formally began on February 15, 1971. To celebrate, there was a large mintage of 89,775,000.
This special commemorative coin was the only 50 Pence coin released that year.
There was no Britannia 50p coin issued in 1973.
This is the second-largest mintage of any commemorative 50p coin to date. Only the Royal Shield 2019 Fifty Pence and the Britannia 50p of 1969 and 1997 surpass this number.
Additional issues of this coin include:
- There were also commemorative coins issued in the 1973 EEC Entry and 2020 Withdrawal from the European Union UK 50p Two-Coin Set.
- Additionally, there were Proof coins issued in The Coinage of Great Britain & Northern Ireland 1973 set that included 6 coins including the Fifty Pence EEC.
- There was also an unknown amount of Silver Proof Piedfort FDC coins issued.
- In addition to the coins released into circulation as the 1973 EEC 50p, there were also two other 50p coins released to mark Britain joining the EU. One was released in 1998, and the other in the early 90s.
The Design of the 1973 EEC 50p coin
The coin is part of the 50 pence design with a 7-sided shape that forms an equilateral curved heptagon that has been minted since 1969.
As the name implies, the face value of the coin is worth 0.50 pounds sterling.
The 1973 Fifty-Pence coins have a mass of 13.5 grams, a diameter of 30.0 mm, and a thickness of 2.5 mm with a plain edge. It consists of Cupronickel.
The Obverse features the Queen’s portrait by Arnold Machin. She wears the “Girls of Great Britain and Ireland” Tiara. The Tiara was a wedding gift from Queen Mary in 1947. Queen Mary was Her Majesty’s grandmother. This is the same Tiara she is wearing in the Ian Rank-Broadley portrait. This image was used until 1984.
She is facing right, crowned and draped as a young bust. This image is sometimes referred to as the Second Portrait. Around her is the monarch’s legend: ELIZABETH II D G REG F D, which is Latin meaning Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen, Defender of the Faith.
ELIZABETH II is curved along the outer rim on her right. The rest of the legend is curved on the left-hand side of her portrait along the outer rim.
The original reverse of the 50p was a design of a seated Britannia alongside a lion and holding an olive branch in her left hand and a trident in her right.
The design was the creation of Christopher Ironside and was used from 1969 to 2008 with the words NEW PENCE used from 1969-1981, and the words FIFTY PENCE used from 1982-2008 above Britannia. The numeral 50 was seen underneath the seated figure.
Special Commemorative Versions
In addition to the standard 50p designs, several reverse designs have been minted on the 50p coin to commemorate important events. The EEC Fifty Pence coin is the first such commemorative 50p coin.
On the 1973 EEC coin, the reverse shows a circle of 9 hands connected at the wrists. The words 1973 50 PENCE are stacked on top of each other in the centre. David Wynne is the coin’s reverse image designer.
David Wynne Coin Designer
David Wynne was a British sculptor who focused on animals, figures, and portraits. One of his famous sculptures is one he did of The Beatles in 1964. He also introduced the Fab Four to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who influenced a lot of the band’s songs and philosophic thinking. Wynne also did a sculpture of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Wynne received the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire OBE award in 1994.
The EEC 50p coin design was the only reverse side of a coin he created. He had originally considered using a ring of 10 hands as opposed to the final design including 9 hands.
From the time he began crafting his design to the official minting of the coin, the expected number of members was reduced from ten to nine with the withdrawal of Norway.
He used models of hands of his own, his wife, and one of his sons. He also used a craftsman who assisted in his studio and the hands of a girl who helped look after his children.
The hand that was omitted was one of the girl’s hands. But, her other hand remained in the final 9-hand version and seems to stand out as being more delicate. However, he did not intend on any of the individual hands to represent a specific member of the Community.
What does the 1973 EEC 50p coin represent?
On January 1, 1973, Britain officially joined the European Economic Community, EEC. This was a result of a vote that took place months earlier, in July. Parliament voted 301-284 in favour of joining the EEC.
Two years later, Britain decided to ratify its membership in a referendum. The UK voted 67% to 32% to remain in the common market. In 2016, this referendum was reversed with the UK voting 52-48 to leave in what became known as Brexit.
In 1973, joining the EEC was a reason to celebrate. So much so that The Royal Mint issued this special 50p coin to celebrate the UK’s accession to the European Economic Community. After years of debate, Britain finally successfully joined the European Economic Community, EEC, in 1973.
The 9 hands on the coin symbolize the nine members of the Community, clasping one another in a mutual gesture of trust, assistance, and friendship. The members include the UK, Denmark, and Ireland joining the six founding members of the EEC. Ireland and Denmark also joined the EEC in 1973.
Where can you buy the 1973 European Economic Community 50p coin?
Online sales captured a great deal of attention during Brexit with some 1973 EEC coins selling in high demand. On average on eBay.co.uk, the average selling price of the EEC 50p is £1.82.
The actual condition of the coin is going to make a difference in the price.
If you are more interested in uncirculated coins then the Royal Mint is the best place to look.