The Olympic 50p coins are a favourite amongst collectors, and one of those coins is the Modern Pentathlon 50p, but what is it worth today?
The Modern Pentathlon 50 pence coin is worth £2.45 on average according to the most recent values in 2022.
Let’s take a deeper dive into the meaning behind the coin and its mintage to see why it is so desirable.
About The Modern Pentathlon at the Olympics
A pentathlon is a competition where five different sporting events are combined, which is where the first part of the word, “pent” is derived. The Modern Pentathlon is an event that slightly differs from the original pentathlon of the ancient Greek Olympic Games.
The original pentathlon sport included:
- a stadion, which is a Greek measurement, foot race
- long jump
The entire idea for the sporting event stemmed from training soldiers of the time.
The modern pentathlon was first seen at the 1912 Olympic Games. The updated five-part sport consists of:
- freestyle swimming
- equestrian show jumping
- pistol shooting
- cross country running
The final event combines pistol shooting with cross-country running and is called the laser-run. The athletes alternate laser pistol shooting with running.
The original modern pentathlon took place over the course of four or five days. However, since 1996, the sport has used a one-day format. The format change was made mostly to accommodate the fans and make it more convenient for viewing crowds.
The Modern Pentathlon Olympic competitions during the 2012 London Olympics involved 36 athletes with events for men and women. David Svoboda from the Czech Republic took home the Gold for the men. Laura Asadauskaite was the winner of the Gold for the women.
Is The Modern Pentathlon 50p Olympic Coin Rare?
The Modern Pentathlon 50 pence Olympic coin is considered to be the tenth rarest of the 29 Olympic coins based on mintage numbers alone. There were 1,689,500 Modern Pentathlon 50p coins minted, which is similar to some of the other Olympic coins such as the Handball or Taekwondo coins.
As with other special commemorative coins, this coin was also issued in two sets that include:
- London 2012 Sports Collection Collector Album
- London 2012 Silver 50p Sports Collection
The London 2012 Sports Collection Collector Album set was issued with an unknown mintage. The set consists of all 29 Olympic sporting event 50p coins of which the Modern Pentathlon 50p coin was on card 18/29.
The London 2012 Silver 50p Sports Collection set was also issued with an unknown mintage. The silver set consists of all 29 special Olympic coins in 0.925 silver.
The Modern Pentathlon Olympic 50 Pence coin was also minted in:
- Silver Brilliant Uncirculated issued in 0.925 Silver limited to a mintage of 30,000
- One unique 0.917 Gold Proof FDC that was presented to the artist
Reverse Side Modern Pentathlon 50p Design
The Modern Pentathlon 50p coin was designed by Daniel Brittain. The image is a montage of the five sporting events that make up the modern pentathlon.
A swimmer swimming toward the viewer surrounded by waves and clad in a swimming cap and goggles is front and centre. Almost as if they were shadows and as if they are coming out of a flash or splash of water with sharp jagged upward lines behind the swimmer are a fencing athlete, a runner, a pistol shooter, and a horse. All face to the left except for the horse.
Following the pattern of all the other 29 Olympic 50p coins, the 2012 Olympic logo is seen at the centre top. The logo was designed by the consultancy firm of Wolff Olins and was first met with much controversy and dissatisfaction.
Many felt the jagged, geometric design was too abstract and did not sufficiently represent the city of London. Regardless of public opinion, the logo was used.
The words 50 PENCE are centred and slightly curved upward at the bottom underneath the image to denote the coin’s value.
Olympic 50p Coin Design
All 29 of the special commemorative Olympic coins were issued in honour of the 2012 London Olympics. Like other 50 pence coins, they are a 7-sided shape forming an equilateral curved heptagon and consist of Cupro-nickel alloy. The coins weigh 8.00 g, have a diameter of 27.3 mm, and are 1.78 mm thick.
The Obverse design features Her Majesty as depicted by Ian Rank-Broadley. This is the Fourth Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. She is facing right and wearing the same crown as she wears in the Machin and the Gottwald portraits, the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland diamond tiara. The words ELIZABETH II * D * G * REG * F * D * 2011 surround her image.
The edge of the coin is plain with no inscription.
About the Designer
The Royal Mint held a competition to choose who the 29 individual designers of the special commemorative Olympic coins would be. The winners each represented one sport to be depicted on its own individual coin.
The Modern Pentathlon Olympic 50p coin was designed by Daniel Brittain.
Daniel is an artist from Derby, United Kingdom. He was fairly young at the time, having just completed University. After his dad told him about the competition, he started working on preparing designs to submit to the contest immediately.
He chose to represent the modern pentathlon because he considered it a challenge to fit all five sports onto one coin inside a 7-sided shape configuration.
He focused on combining all five sports into one image that created one, unified movement. He liked the idea of having a swimmer front and centre splashing so large that the other four sporting events looked as though they are coming out of the water from that big splash. The splash shape is jagged which corresponds with the 2012 London Olympic logo.
Where To Buy The Olympic Modern Pentathlon 50p Coin
If you’re looking for a circulated version of the coin then we usually advise eBay, just be sure to take your time before purchasing so you know what you’re getting and for a fair price.