How Much Is The 2000 Public Libraries Act 50p Coin Worth?

The 2000 Public Libraries Act 50p is a great example of a 50p coin that you can easily find in your change any day of the week. Despite the fact that it has been in circulation for over 20 years the design still stands out to this day, but how much are they worth now?

According to past sold values on eBay, the Public Libraries Act 50p sells for an average of £1.00 in circulated condition without postage and packaging.

Whilst roughly a pound is not the highest average we’ve seen for a 50p coin, it’s not bad either if you are looking to sell one quickly.

In the rest of this article we’ll take a look at the design of the coin, how rare it actually is as well as what the meaning behind the design actually is.

How Many Public Libraries Act 50p Coins Were Made?

11,263,000 Public Libraries Act 50p coins entered circulation in 2000, so this is a coin that you can find in your change. Alongside circulated versions were specially finished commemorative versions for which the mintage figures can be seen below.

This is common practice at the Royal Mint to release premium finishes for commemorative coins for coin collectors to add to their collection, and typical finishes include brilliant uncirculated, silver proof and more.

  • Proof – 5,700 issued.
  • Silver Proof – 25,000 issued in Royal Mint box with certificate.
  • Silver Proof Piedfort – 10,000 issued in Royal mint box alongside a certificate of authenticity.
  • Gold Proof – Only 2,000 minted again with Royal Mint box and certificate.
  • First Day Cover – 35,000 Public Libraries Act 50p coins were released on the first day in a special cover alongside some commemorative stamps by the Royal Mint.

The Public Libraries Act 50p was the only commemorative 50p released in 2000, just 3 years after the new 50p was released into circulation. The other 50p released into circulation in 2000 was the Britannia 50p which was released each year between 1997 and 2008 before being replaced but the Royal Shield design in 2013.

The real question is, however, is a mintage of 11,263,000 big or small for a 50p?

Unfortunately, the mintage of this coin is quite high as far as commemorative coins go. The top 5 rarest 50p coins, excluding the Olympic coins all have a mintage under 2 million with the rarest – the Kew Garden’s 50p – having a mintage of just 210,000.

This is reflected in the price, although a sale average of double the face value of the coin is still pretty good, all things considered.

Public Libraries Act 50p Design

Public Libraries 50p Obverse Design

The reverse design of the Public Libraries Act 50p was created by Mary Milner Dickens, a well-known sculpture and artist responsible for other iconic coin designs such as the 1992-1993 Single Market 50p.

The design in question features an open book with the pages being turned over a library building with the inscriptions ‘1850’ and ‘2000’ at the top of the face, ’50 PENCE’ towards the right and ‘PUBLIC LIBRARIES’ towards the bottom.

The obverse design features a portrait of Her Majesty the Queen by Ian Rank-Broadley which was used on all 50p coins between 1998 until 2015.

What Does The Public Libraries Act 50p Commemorate?

Commemorative coins are produced most years by the Royal Mint, typically in the form of 50p coins. In the year 2000, the 150th anniversary of the Public Libraries Act was commemorated with the Public Libraries Act 50p.

The Public Libraries Act was passed in 1850 and gave local boroughs the power to create public libraries that were free to use.

The Act itself faced a lot of backlash, particularly due to the opinion that opening lots of new free to use libraries would cause an increase in taxation. Other reasons included questioning why libraries were even necessary when the standard of literature at the time was generally low.

Despite the backlash to the Act it still went ahead; as the prevailing argument was that an increase in libraries would lead to better education amongst the lower classes leading to lowering crime levels, as well as giving access to less privileged people who did not have access to their own private libraries.

As of 2019-2020, there are 3,667 public libraries in the UK with 7.3 million active borrowers. Public libraries are at the foundation of every community and allow for a social space where people can share their passion and meet up with friends. Not only do they allow for better education, but they allow for more social contact and development as well.

Where Can You Buy The Public Libraries Act 50p?

Circulated versions of the Public Libraries Act 50p are readily available on eBay, due to the large mintage there is not a shortage of specimens going up for listing most weeks. As we always say, take your time with eBay to make sure you secure the right deal – there are no end of scammers out there waiting to make an easy bit of money.

For other finishes of the coin, there are still some listings on eBay however it would be more advisable to search around at established coin dealerships where you can be more sure that you are getting exactly what is on offer, especially as you head towards the more expensive versions.

Are There Any Error Public Libraries Act 50p Coins?

There are no confirmed errors of the Public Libraries Act 50p.

Any listings that you might come across on eBay stating that they are selling an error version of the coin are simply looking to profit from those who are less informed – always check the Royal Mint’s Website first. This is a classic tactic used on eBay and a great example of why you should consider proper coin dealerships if you are looking to invest a significant amount into a coin.