Sailing 50p: Are They Rare and How Much Are They Worth?

The Sailing 50p is worth £0.87 according to the most recent values on eBay in 2022, but what makes the coin worth almost double face value, and is it actually rare?

Let’s see what makes it worth this amount by diving into the mintage and commemoration behind the coin.

Sailing 50p Coin Mintage

When looking only at mintage numbers, the Sailing 50p is the 15th rarest in the set of 29 coins. There were 1,749,500 of these coins minted.

In terms of all 50p coins, this mintage is very low, but there are quite a few other Olympic 50ps with lower mintages like the tennis or goalball coins.

All 29 coins in the series, including the Sailing 50p Olympic coin, were also minted in a Specimen in Card. The Sailing Coin is labelled 20/29 as well as a Silver Brilliant Uncirculated 0.925 Silver variety.

Additionally, two sets of the Sailing Coin were minted with unknown mintage as follows. One set was minted in 0.925 silver.

The artist, Bruce Rushin, received the only Gold Proof FDC 0.917 Sailing 50p coin.

Sailing At The Olympics

Olympic Sailing was called yachting until the 2000 Olympics. A sailing regatta has been part of the Summer Olympic Games since the Athens Games. However, the first Olympics had to cancel the races because of severe weather conditions.

Sailing competitions are done in a fleet race format and sometimes a match race or mixed fleet format.

Sailing has historically been a sport in which males and females competed together with no distinction between men and women’s events. In 1988, a women’s sailing event was introduced.

The Sailing event at the 2012 London Summer Olympics included a total of 10 events with 8 different classes. Events were held in Weymouth on a variety of courses.

Eleven fleet races were scheduled off the coast of Weymouth Bay for each event except the 49er and the Elliott 6m.

The sailing events included:

  • RS:X for men and women
  • Laser Radial for women
  • Laser for men
  • Finn open
  • 470 for men and women
  • 49er open
  • Elliott 6m for women
  • Star for men

A total of 380 competitors from 63 nations took part in sailing from July 29 through August 11, 2012.

Australia topped the leader board with an overall medal count that included 3 gold medals. Spain followed in second place, and Great Britain placed third.

Olympic Coin Design

As part of the standard 50 Pence coin design, the Olympic 50p coins hold the heptagon shape that is sometimes called a Reuleaux. The coins measure the same across regardless of where you take the measurement.

Like all 50p coins, the face value of the coin is 0.50 pounds sterling. They consist of a Cupro-nickel alloy with an 8.00g weight, a diameter of 27.3mm, and 1.78mm thick.

The Obverse of the Olympic 50p coins is the profile of Queen Elizabeth II crowned and facing right. She is wearing is the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland diamond tiara and was designed by Ian Rank-Broadley. His initials of IRB are seen under the Queen’s neckline. The words ELIZABETH * II * D * G REG * F * D * 2011 encircle Her Majesty’s image.

The edge is plain with no inscription.

To celebrate the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the Royal Mint released 29 special commemorative 50p coins in 2011. Each coin depicted a different sport.

To design the series of Olympic 50p coins, the Royal Mint invited the public to become the designers of the entire 50p coin series.

To determine each of the Olympic coin’s reverse side designs, the Royal Mint launched a contest to select who would be the designer of each individual 50p Olympic coin. About 30,000 entries were submitted, and 29 designs were chosen.

Bruce Rushin was chosen to design the Sailing 50p coin.

Sailing 50p Coin Design

The Sailing Olympic 50p Coin
Sailing Olympic 50p Coin Design

The Sailing 50p coin features three dinghies with sailors in gold, silver, and bronze position sailing on waves. The image is set against a backdrop of a chart or map made up of longitudinal lines. Instead of depicting clouds and sky, the artist chose to use a map of the coast of Weymouth where the Olympic sailing events took place.

In keeping with the layout of the 29 coin designs, the Olympic logo is positioned at the top of the reverse side. The logo was designed by Wolff Olins consultancy firm.

Slightly curved upward and centred at the bottom of the coin are the words 50 PENCE.

Who Designed The Sailing 50p?

Each of the 29 Olympic 50p coins was designed by individual designers who were the winners of a contest to determine who the Royal Mint would use for each coin. The Sailing Olympic 50p coin was designed by Bruce Rushin.

If the name of the designer sounds familiar, it is probably because he had competed and was chosen to design the new Two Pound coin in 1997. Since that time, he has submitted other coin designs, but none had been chosen again until now.

Bruce Rushin was an art teacher from Brundall in Norfolk, United Kingdom when he entered and won a 1997 competition to design the British Two Pound coin. At that time, he had no experience in coin design. He illustrated technological progress with Sir Isaac Newton’s words, “Standing on the shoulders of giants.”

This time, he had assisted some of his students with their designs for the Blue Peter competition. Blue Peter is a children’s television show who hosted a contest of its own to select a child’s entry of the 50 pence Olympic and Paralympic coin.

Once again, he entered a design for a coin design competition and won. This time, it was to design the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics 50p sailing coin.

He has shared that the key to a good design is keeping it simple. He added that you have to be able to envision your design almost as if it is a miniature 3D sculpture. Of course, he admits that there is also a bit of luck involved. Just because the artist is satisfied with their creation does not mean the Royal Mint judges will be.

He is not a sailor himself, but he chose to represent sailing because he lived in Norfolk Broads where he has seen many great yachts. He loved watching the sails and the fields pass by which he could see from his kitchen window. He was also inspired by Ben Ainslie who ended up taking the gold medal for the fourth time at the 2012 Games.

He wanted to illustrate a sport that he knew the nation had been successful in before. When he learned that the Olympic sailing events were going to take place off the coast of Weymouth, he was inspired all the more. He wanted to incorporate the interesting coastal shape of Chesil Beach and Portland Bill.

Where You Can Buy The Sailing 50p Coin

Going online to eBay is one of the quickest and easiest ways to find the exact coin you are looking for. Of course, be sure to look carefully at the pictures listed and the description to be certain of what you are getting.

The average selling price on eBay is £0.99 for this coin, so make sure you are paying somewhere around this price.