Before the 2012 London Olympics, the Royal Mint decided to do something completely out of the norm. They launched a competition to find designers who could best represent 29 sports to be featured on the upcoming commemorative Olympics 50p coin series. More than 30,000 entries were submitted for the official selections to be made.
One of these coins was the Triathlon 50p, which has an average sold value of £10.16 according to recent values on eBay in 2022.
Let’s see what makes the Triathlon 50p so desirable to collectors, as well as how the coin was designed to reflect the discipline.
Triathlon at the Olympics
A triathlon is a sporting event in which athletes compete in three categories:
- road running
The Triathlon event that took place in the London 2012 Olympics were held in Hyde Park. They included an international distance, also known as the Olympic distance, that consists of a .93-mile swim, 25 miles of road cycling, and a 6.2-mile run.
The competition involved 110 athletes who were evenly distributed between men and women. Alistair Brownless from Great Britain took the Gold for men. Nicola Spirig from Switzerland won the Gold for the women.
Mintage of the Triathlon 50p Coin
The Triathlon 50 pence Olympic coin is considered to be pretty rare and quite valuable. When considering mintage alone, it is the fourth rarest of the 29 Olympic coins. There were 1,163,500 Triathlon special Olympic 50p coins minted, which is similar to some of the other Olympic coins such as the Wrestling and Judo 50p coins.
Additionally, this coin was also issued in sets that included all 29 Olympic 50p special commemorative coins designed by individual contest winners.
The sets issued include the London 2012 Sports Collection Collector Album with an unknown mintage. The Triathlon coin was on a card marked 25/29. There was also a silver set of coins minted. This set is the London 2012 Silver 50p Sports Collection set with 0.925 silver coins. The mintage of the silver set is also unknown.
The Triathlon Olympic 50 Pence coin was also issued on a specimen presentation card labeled 25/29. The coin was also minted as Silver Brilliant Uncirculated in 0.925 Silver limited to a mintage of 30,000.
One very special 0.917 Gold Proof FDC was presented to the artist, Sarah Harvey.
Design of the Triathlon 50p Coin
The Olympics Triathlon 50p coin was designed by Sarah Harvey. Her selection to design the Triathlon 50p coin marked more than one significant new beginning for her. Not only was she one of few women designers chosen she was also a new mother.
All the 29 Olympic 50p special commemorative coins show the 2012 Olympic logo at the center top of the reverse side. The logo was designed by the consultancy firm of Wolff Olins and was met with a lot of disapproval. The public was vastly disappointed at the simplistic, geometric, abstract design.
The words 50 PENCE are centered and slightly curved upward at the edges like a slight smile. The marking is at the bottom underneath the image on each of the 29 coins.
The reverse side design of the Triathlon 50p coin features a montage image of three sporting events that together make up the Triathlon. There is a runner positioned to the left, a cyclist in the center, and a swimmer placed on the right side of the reverse side of the coin. The athletes are all moving toward the left of the coin.
The swimming pool lanes run from left to right and change to appear as if they are a track and then a cycling roadway path followed by the pool lanes.
All 29 of the special commemorative Olympic coins were issued to celebrate the 2012 London Olympics. Like other 50 pence coins, the special commemorative coins are a heptagon shape. The 50p coins consist of Cupro-nickel alloy, with a weight of 8.00 g, a 27.3 mm diameter, and a thickness of 1.78 mm.
The Obverse design is an image of Queen Elizabeth II as designed by Ian Rank-Broadley. The words ELIZABETH II * D * G * REG * F * D * 2011 surround her image along the outer rim of the obverse side.
The edge of the 50p Olympic coins is plain with no inscription.
About the Designer
A few years before the special Olympic commemorative coins were issued, the Royal Mint held a competition to select 29 individual designers. The winners each represented one sport that they would design on their own individual coin.
The designer chosen for the Triathlon Olympic 50p coin was Sarah Harvey.
Sarah Harvey had learned about the competition in an email at her work that was being circulated by co-workers. She had just returned to work after being on maternity leave.
She was fascinated by the triathlon event. She envisioned the three events and immediately knew how she wanted to illustrate the athletes. She just needed a way to connect them.
Where To Buy The Triathlon Olympic 50p Coin
Going online to find collectable coins to add to a collection is the fastest and easiest way to shop for and find rare or special commemorative coins. The average selling price on eBay is £10.06 for this coin. A
Since this coin is selling for drastically more than the original coin’s value, it is important to make sure you are getting an authentic coin in good condition. Start your research by making sure you read every detail on all listings and don’t be afraid to communicate with the seller.
Not every seller is reputable, so make sure the coin you want to buy is not a fake. Look for red flags in the description such as a coin weight that is less than 8g or any other characteristic that doesn’t match the original.