Released way back in 1994, the D-Day 50p has been an iconic coin ever since that year.
As its been around for so long, there’s no doubt you will have come across one of these coins before. But how much is the 1994 D-Day 50p coin worth today?
A 1994 D-Day 50p sells for an average of £2.47 in circulated condition on eBay (not including packaging).
Now you know how much they’re selling for, let’s take a deep dive into the history of the coin and much more.
How many 1994 D-Day 50p coins were made?
The D-Day 50p coin was the only 50p coin to be minted in 1994. Three versions of the coin were produced – a standard cupro-nickel version that was put into general circulation, a silver proof version and a gold proof variant.
6.7 million of the cupronickel version were minted, but the two metal proof versions had very limited releases. The silver proof coin has a mintage of 40,000 and just 1,877 of the gold proof coin were released for sale by the Royal Mint.
The coin is one of five 50p coins released by the Royal Mint in their Military History set, the others being the 2005 VC Medal 50p (12 million mintage), the 2006 VC Soldier 50p (10 million mintage), the 2016 Battle of Hastings 50p (6.7 million mintage) and the 2015 Battle of Britain 50p (5.9 million).
The design of the 1994 D-Day 50p coin
The cupronickel coin is 27.3mm thick and weighs 15g.
The reverse features a portrait of the Queen by Ian Rank-Broadley, the British sculptor whose effigy of the Queen has appeared on UK coins from 1997 to 2015. Rank-Broadley’s work replaces that of Raphael Maklouf, whose portrait was featured on coins between 1985-1987.
Rank-Broadley’s profile of the Queen was a departure from idealised versions of the Monarch, and features a ‘70-year-old woman with poise and bearing’, according to the sculptor himself. The inscription ‘FIFTY PENCE.2013.ELIZABETH.D.G.REG.F.D’ appears around the Queen’s portrait.
The obverse features a design by the sculptor John D. Mills. The coin is the second of five coins designed by Mills, who had been recently recognised as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FSRA) and is well-known for his work Monument to the Women of World War 2, in Whitehall, London.
Previously, Mills has designed several other of the Royal Mint’s anniversary coins – the 2003 £2 coin celebrating the 50th anniversary of the DNA double helix and another war themed coin, the 1995 commemorating the 50th anniversary of VE Day. Carrying on with the European theme, Mills also worked on the 1998 50p coin celebrating the 25th anniversary of the EU.
Mills design features the Allied Invasion Force heading towards the beaches of Normandy by sea and air from Southern England. In the air are seven representations of the various bombers and 13,000 supporting aircraft that provided air cover for the amphibious landing.
These were a mixture of Douglas C-47 Skytrains (or Dakotas), American B-24’s and B-17 Flying Fortresses, Spitfires, Hawker Tempests, Typhoons and Lancaster bombers. Underneath them, sailing on the English Channel are five Landing Craft, Vehicles and Personnel boats that carried men, munitions and material to Normandy on the day of the invasion. The inscription ‘50 PENCE’ is set off to the right of the design, in the middle of the coin.
All of the planes and boats are moving away from the front of the coin towards a far left perspective point, with trailing clouds and linear waves adding a sense of drama to the scene.
Why was it made and what does it commemorate?
On 6th June 1944, the Allies launched the greatest amphibious invasion in history.
Codenamed ‘Operation Overlord’ but best known today as D-Day, the operation saw the invasion of occupied Europe by the combined Allied forces. As midnight fell on 6th June, the combined armies of the US, Britain and Canada, supported by the French resistance movement, had secured a 50 mile stretch of the French coast.
D Day heralded the beginning of the long Allied slog towards Berlin and, crucially, opened up a second front that would draw resources away from the bitter fighting in Russia.
By refocusing Hitler’s attention on France, the pressure on the Red Army was relieved.
Indeed the very threat of invasion impacted German strategy in a significant way, with divisions transferred from Russia and other theatres to France – already relieving the pressure on the Eastern Front.
Hitler expected the invasion force to cross the English channel at its narrowest point, which further spread out German defences.
British commanders were haunted by the losses of World War One, so were initially keen to pursue a Mediterranean strategy first, involving campaigns in North Africa, Sicily and Italy, which America agreed to.
The failed Dieppe Raid in 1942 also highlighted the need for sufficient resources for any direct assault on Hitler’s ‘Atlantic Wall’, and the importance of gaining air superiority – lessons that were to prove invaluable on D-Day.
By midnight on 6 June, 132,000 Allied forces had landed in France, while more than 2 million were eventually shipped there in total, comprising a total of 39 divisions.
Over 5,000 vessels took part in the operation, including 139 major warships; 221 smaller combat vessels; more than 1000 minesweepers and auxiliary vessels; 4,000 landing craft; 805 merchant ships; 59 blockships; and 300 miscellaneous small craft.
The initial air and seaborne landings had mixed results. On Utah, resistance from the Germans was slight and US troops were off the beach by midday.
But on Omaha, the Americans’ lack of specialised armour meant the Germans were able to pin them down on the beach, resulting in a high casualty count.
On Gold and Juno, the specialised armour of the British and Canadian enabled troops to get off their beaches quickly. By the afternoon they were moving inland toward Bayeux and Caen. On Sword beach, British troops were able to link up with airborne units that had been dropped further inland.
Just under a week later on 11 June, the Allies had fully secured the beaches and over 326,000 soldiers, more than 50,000 vehicles and around 100,000 tons of equipment had landed at Normandy, ready for the many battles that lay ahead on the European mainland.
Where can you buy the coin?
The 1994 D-Day 50p is available to buy quite readily from eBay in circulated condition, with other examples including proof versions.
We usually recommend eBay as the best place to buy a circulated version, you just have to be careful to make sure what you’re buying is legitimate.
In terms of gold versions, the Royal Mint still sells a 22k gold limited version, which you can find from their shop here.
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