Quite an unusual coin, the Battle of Britain 50p coin has 4 different obverse designs in total (including the Royal Mint’s Military set), but how much exactly is one worth today?
We’ve had a look at eBay, and a Battle of Britain 50p will set you back an average of £1.44 in circulated condition without postage and packaging.
The price can vary a lot, and you’ve always got to consider how much the postage and packaging fee is – a lot of listings will show a lower price for the coin itself in order to make up the margin with an expensive postage fee.
How many 2015 Battle of Britain 50p coins were made?
Released in 2015, and the only commemorative coin to be released that year, as well as the fourth and fifth portraits of the Royal Shield, the cupronickel Battle of Britain 50p coin has a mintage of 5.9 million
The coin is the rarest of the five commemorative 50p coins released by the Royal Mint in their Military History set, the others being the 1994 D-Day 50p (6.7 mllion), the 2005 VC Medal 50p (12 million mintage), the 2006 VC Soldier 50p (10 million mintage) and the 2016 Battle of Hastings 50p (6.7 million mintage).
There are a further three versions of the 2015 Battle of Britain coin that were produced by the Royal Mint, although the 5.9 million mintage cupronickel version is the only one to have entered general circulation.
The Royal Mint also produced a gold proof, silver proof and a silver piedfort version with mintage figures of 520, 1,969 and 1,940 respectively.
The design of the 2015 Battle of Britain 50p coin
There were three distinct types issued for the 2015 Battle of Britain commemorative featuring three different obverses and two different compositions, with just one type being struck for circulation, making this particular coin rather complicated to corroborate for collecting purposes.
The coin also stands out amongst other commemorative releases for featuring both the Ian Rank-Broadley and the 2015 Jody Clark portrait of the Queen on the obverse of various versions, given that the coin was produced in the first year that Clark’s portrait replaced that of Rank-Broadley’s.
There are various differences across multiple version of the coin, and all appear on the obverse side:
- Version 1 – Ian Rank-Broadley portrait with no denomination given
- Version 2 – Jody Clark portrait with no denomination given
- Version 3 – Jody Clark portrait with ‘FIFTY PENCE’ given as a denomination
These errors and discrepancies in omitting the denomination on the obverse (as none is offered on the reverse) grant the relevant versions of the Battle of Britain 50p the unique status of being the only British commemorative coin that features different versions on the obverse. The Jody Clark version released later on in 2015, with the correct denomination, was produced by the Royal Mint to rectify their initial error
Jody Clark was the first Royal Mint employee to have their portrait of the Queen feature on a British coin in over 100 years. The work was usually carried out by British artists not connected with the Royal Mint. Clark’s portrait of the Queen is noticeably smaller than Rank-Broadley’s and becomes the fifth definitive portrait of HMQ.
The reverse features a design by sculptor Gary Breeze. Three airmen are seen running away from the viewer, as a squadron of Lancaster bombers soars overhead. The words ‘BATTLE OF BRITAIN’ are inscribed in the middle of the coin and the year ‘1940’ is etched below the airmen.
Breeze has worked on a number of designs for the Royal Mint, but the 2015 Battle of Britain coin is the first of his efforts to make it through to final production. Speaking about designing his coin on his website the sculptor said ‘In some ways the Battle of Britain appeals to our innate joy at winning against tremendous odds. I did want to celebrate that to a point but something was missing.’
Breeze goes on to describe the design process: ‘I spent some time working on designs based around the aircraft but they didn’t say enough about the meaning of the Battle to us today.’
It was Breeze’s brother, Lee Breeze, an avid coin collector, who suggested that the focus of the design should be on people, rather than planes.
Why was it made and what does it commemorate?
The Battle of Britain was a major air battle in the Second World War. Fought over the skies of Britain and the English Channel between 10th July and 31st October 1940. The conflict is regarded as the first major battle fought solely with air power in the history of mechanised conflict.
After the fall of France in 1940, Hitler and his generals drew up plans for a full scale invasion of Britain, codenamed Operation Sea Lion. The Fuhrer knew that given the strength of the Royal Navy and the RAF, any expeditionary force would be decimated unless the Luftwaffe could control the skies over the Channel and southern England.
The combined forces of the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm (FAA) and the Royal Air Force, battled day and night to keep the Luftwaffe at bay and prevent the first invasion of mainland British soil in centuries.
British Spitfire’s and Hurricaines fought head-to-head with Nazi Messerschmitts, Junkers and Focke-Wulfs. Despite being outnumbered by around 40%, Allied forces inflicted heavy losses on the German aircraft. Nearly 2,000 Luftwaffe fighters and bombers were lost, with the Allies losing approximately 1,700. 735 German soldiers and airmen were wounded, with 925 being captured from crashed aircraft in the Channel and mainland Britain.
In mid-September, it became apparent to all sides that the Nazi’s plan to destroy the RAF had failed. As the RAF’s fighter plane output rose above that of its losses, Hitler officially postponed the invasion indefinitely on September 17th 1940 – the date that is officially recognised as the end of the battle.
Remarkably, at the end of the battle, the RAF had more aircraft than it had started with. The heroism of the RAF, and the monumental industrial effort to produce replacement planes, had won the day. Hitler would never again attempt another invasion of Britain, nor pit the Luftwaffe against Fighter Command at its full strength.
Where can you buy the coin?
There’s a couple of different places where you can pick up a Battle of Britain 50p.
If you’re looking for an uncirculated version, then you can’t go far wrong with eBay. Make sure you’re not paying too much by going with the guide price at the top of this article and make sure you do your due diligence before you make your purchase.
If you want an uncirculated version then definitely check out the Royal Mint’s 50 years of the 50p Military set at their shop.
Browse the Royal Mint's Shop Today
Interested in buying a coin? Browse the Royal Mint's inventory today.Shop now