The 1998 EU 50p coin is one of four 50p coins that have represented the European Union in some way, and was one of the first 50p coin designs featuring the new size 50p, but how much is it worth today?
According to the most recent sold values on eBay in 2022, the 1998 EU 50p coin is worth £1.61 without postage and packaging in circulated condition.
Not too bad for a 50p you could find in your change any day of the week. Let’s take a deeper look into the coin and look at why it sells for above face value and what it actually represents.
1998 EU 50p Mintage and Rarity
There were 5,043,000 1998 EU 50p coins minted for circulation in 1998.
In terms of 50p mintages, this is not a particularly low number. The rarest 50p in circulation currently is the Kew Garden’s 50p with a mintage of just 210,000, for some context.
The rarest 50p in terms of mintage numbers was also a coin that represented the EU which was released in 1992 and has since gone out of circulation. This coin is called the Single Market 50p.
As with most coins, there were also other versions released for collectors which include proof, silver proof and so on. The mintage of these finishes can be seen below:
- Brilliant Uncirculated – N/A
- Proof –
- Silver Proof – 8,859
- Silver Proof Piedfort – 10,000
- Gold Proof – 1,177
The 1998 NHS 50p was also released this year with a slightly smaller mintage of 5,001,000, alongside the Britannia 50p which had a mintage of 64,306,500. As mentioned before, this was the first year of the new 50p with a smaller and lighter specification.
Other Names For The Coin
The actual design of the coin is simply called the EU 50p, but due to the design it is also referred to as a few other things:
- 50p with stars – A very simply and straighforward name, due to the stars on the reverse design.
- 1973 to 1998 50p – Again another simply name for the coin due to the dates shown on the inscription towards the bottom of the reverse design.
If you see any of these names online you can be sure they are referring to the 1998 EU 50p.
The Design Of The 1998 EU 50p Coin
The reverse of the 1998 EU 50p coin was created by John Mills, a well-known sculpture who has worked on several other commemorative coins.
The design in question shows twelve stars, representing the twelve golden stars on the European flag. The stars stand for the unity of people across Europe and are not in reference to the number of countries in the EU. The number 12 is used for the number of stars as it is a symbol of perfection and its entirety.
Towards the bottom of the obverse design the inscriptions ’50 PENCE’, ‘EU’ as well as ‘1973’ and ‘1998’ can be seen.
What Does The 1998 EU 50p Represent?
The 1998 EU 50p was created to commemorate 25 years since Britain and Ireland joined the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973, hence the inscriptions on the obverse design.
As you can probably already guess, a 50p was released in 1973 to commemorate the year that Britain and Ireland joined known as the European Economic Community 50p, which had a much larger mintage of 89,775,000.
The EEC was formed in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome and comprised of six founding members; Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Germany and The Netherlands. It was not until 1973 that Britain and Ireland would finally join.
The EEC would last until 1993 where, as a result of the Maastricht Treaty, it was renamed the European Community (EC) This change was made to reflect the advancement of the EEC from only economics to a wider spectrum of policies.
In 2009 the newly founded European Community was merged into the European Union under the Treaty of Lisbon, marking the ‘end’ of the EEC/EC.
Other Coins Representing The EU
We’ve already alluded to the fact that there are other commemorative coins representing the European Union in some way – 4 to be precise – but what are they?
- 1973 European Economic Community 50p – With a mintage of 89,775,000 this coin was minted to celebrate the year that Britain and Ireland joined the EEC.
- 1992 Single Market 50p – The 1992 single market 50p is interesting because it is one of the rarest 50p coins you can find. Its mintage was only 109,000, however, it was removed from circulation so finding an example of this coin will prove difficult.
- Withdrawal from the European Union 50p – More commonly termed the ‘Brexit 50p’, this coin was introduced just last year in 2020 and you can learn more about it in our dedicated article.
Interestingly there are no £1 or £2 coins that have commemorated the European Union released into circulation, only 50p coins were chosen.
Given the recent political movements with the EU, it is clear to see why coins representing the EU have become more popular in recent years.
Where Can You Buy The Coin?
Our usual recommendation for circulated editions is eBay, although you need to be careful to make sure you get a genuine version and don’t overpay. Use the average price as a guideline and pay attention to delivery prices to make sure you get a fair deal.
The Royal Mint get stock of proof versions every so often, but you will have to check on their site to see as this can fluctuate throughout the year.