Released way back in 2006, the Victoria Cross (VC) Medal 50p coin is one of two 50p coins commemorating the Victoria Cross Medal, but how much is it worth today?
According to average sold values on eBay, the Victoria Cross Medal 50p costs £1.24 in circulated condition not considering postage and packaging.
While doing research we did come across some listings that were asking ridiculous amounts so make sure you take your time to find the right coin if you decide to buy one.
Also, make sure you are buying the correct Victoria Cross coin – take a look below to see just how similar the Medal and Heroics VC coins are.
How many 2006 VC medal 50p coins were made?
The cupronickel commemorative Victoria Cross (VC) Medal 50p coin was released in 2006 with a mintage figure of 12,087,000. It is one of two VC 50p coins released that year, the other being the VC Heroic Acts coin, featuring a different design on the obverse, of which 10,000,500 were produced, making the VC Medal coin the most common of the two. The only other 50p coin released by the Royal Mint in 2006 was the standard Britannia 50p.
Along with its VC Heroic Acts counterpart, the VC Medal 50p coin is a member of the Royal Mint’s Military History 50p set, the others being the 2015 Battle of Britain 50p (5.9 million mintage), the 1994 D-Day 50p (6.7 million) and the 2016 Battle of Hastings 50p (6.7 million mintage). This makes the 2006 VC Medal coin the most common of the Military History 50p set.
The Royal Mint also released limited edition proof versions of the coin featuring different metal compositions and varying mintages:
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The design of the 2006 VC Medal 50p coin
The obverse side of the coin features a portrait of the Queen by Ian Rank-Broadley. This portrait was used on all UK coinage from 1998 to 2014 and for some 2015 coins. It was the fourth portrait of the Queen used on British coinage, succeeding the work of Raphael Maklouf on those before it.
The reverse side of all versions features a design by Claire Aldridge, a Senior Designer at the Royal Mint. Aldridge has worked on numerous coins for the Royal Mint, including the Olympic Countdown series, but lists the VC Medal 50p as her favourite, being the first coin she designed that made it into circulation.
On the reverse, placed at the top, are two depictions of the Victoria Cross. The front of the medal and the laureled ribbon are set off centre to the left, and a somewhat smaller representation of the back of the VC is placed to its right. The letters ‘VC’ and ‘FIFTY PENCE’ are engraved on the bottom right of the coin, underneath both medals.
The front facing coin features the imagery present on the centre of an actual VC – a bronze cross pattée. The medal features the crown of Saint Edward surmounted by a lion. The actual VC is 41 mm high and 36 mm wide.
The back-facing medal is bare, aside from ‘29. JAN 1856’ inscribed in the middle, added by the designer to celebrate the date the VC was created. An actual VC contains no such engraving.
Why was it made and what does it commemorate?
Established on 29th January 1856 for British and Commonwealth servicemen and women who have demonstrated ‘most conspicuous bravery, or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy’, the Victoria Cross is the highest and most prestigious medal in the British honours system.
The VC was conceived during the Crimean War (1853-56), where the combined British, French and Ottomon armies drove the Russians out of Sebastopol and the Black Sea. The War is widely regarded as a turning point in modern warfare where industrial tactics started to come to the fore, and with them very high casualty and injury rates. The Times journalist William Howard Russell remarked on the bravery of the common soldier and advocated for a medal that could be given to the common soldiery. At the time of its creation, only British Army officers were awarded medals – it was the (now rather baffling) consensus that it was the officers’ leadership that compelled men to bravery, rather than an inherent sense of valour.
MPs were receptive to the idea, and following a debate in the House of Commons, it was agreed that Queen Victoria should create ‘an order of merit for distinguished and prominent personal gallantry to which every grade and individual from the highest to the lowest may be admissible.’
The first recipient of the VC was awarded not to a soldier, nor even an Englishman, but an Irish sailor in the Royal Navy named Charles Davis Lucas. Lucas was serving aboard HMS Hecla – a wooden battleship that was part of the joint British and French fleets which had been dispatched to assist in the blockade of the Russian Baltic Fleet, during the Crimean War. During a fierce battle around the fort of Bomarsund, near Finland, a shell landed on the HMS Hecla but fizzed on the deck instead of exploding. In a display of remarkable bravery, as his shipmates were diving for cover, Lucas picked up the live shell and threw it into the sea, saving the ship and its crew.
Since then, there have been a total of 1,355 VC’s awarded across many different branches of service, regiments and nationalities.
The most VCs awarded in a single action by one regiment is 11, during the defense of Rorke’s Drift in the Anglo-Zulu War, between the 22nd-23rd January 1879. 141 soldiers of the South Wales Borderers (then called the 2nd/24th Regiment of Foot) and Royal Engineers (who were there to build a bridge) fought off an attack of 3,000-4,000 Zulus under the command of Prince Dabulamanzi kaMpande, following the crushing defeat of the British Army at the Battle of Isandlwana.
The jewellers Hancock’s of London has been commissioned to produce every VC awarded since its creation. The popular myth is that of the medals being cast from the bronze of Russian cannons captured at Sebastopol, but modern metallurgical studies have traced the origins of the metal to China, likely from artillery captured during the First Opium War.
Where can you buy the coin?
eBay is always a great place to start if you’re not looking for an absolutely perfect example. There are lots of listing each month and some good examples coming up regularly. Just make sure to do your due diligence and you’ll be good to go.
For uncirculated versions the Royal Mint includes the coin in a variety of different finishes in the 50 years of the 50p Military Set, which you can find at their shop here.
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