The UK 50p 40th Anniversary Collection

Started by Galapagos, September 26, 2009, 01:20:05 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


Looking at the brochure the Royal Mint have sent me on this, it's interesting to note the designers that have designed more than one 50p. John Mills designed two (1994 D-Day; 1998 25th Ann. of EU) but Mary Milner Dickens has designed three (1992-93 EU conference; 2000 Libraries Act; 2003 - Suffragette).

The second point of interest is the split between representational treatments and allegorical/symbolic/heraldic. By representational, I mean realistic portrayals of people, wildlife, ships, architecture or whatever. Britain's coinage has (unfortunately) long inclined towards the heraldic and symbolic: look at Britannia herself on the standard pre-2008 50p. There was a long gap after the first commemorative 50p (1973 - EU, the symbolic joined hands), but in 1992 we got another EU-oriented theme, and rather boringly symbolic at that. 

The 1994 50p (D-Day) was a representational design at last, though I found it rather over-detailed, so it didn't quite work for me. Then it was back to boring symbolism with the 1998 NHS hands design by David Cornell (designer of the 1999 Diana five pound commemorative). Also in 1998 (two in one year?!) we were back to the boring EU, with another star-ridden symbolic design.

In 2000, here was Mary Milner Dickens back strutting her stuff, with the Libraries Act design. Now this I found very elegant and difficult to pigeon-hole: it was part representational, showing a library building, and part symbolic, having CDs incorporated into the design. From this point on the designs became a lot more attractive, in my opinion, after the anodyne symbolic stuff of the 1990s (D-Day design apart), and much more likely to appeal to the man and woman in the street.


In 2003 we had the Suffragette design - representational, but a bit flat, I thought - not Ms Milner Dickens at her best. In 2004 came another representational design of an athlete running the four minute mile. I'm not into sport myself, but I liked this one.

In 2005 came my favourite of all 50p designs, commemorating Samuel Johnson's English dictionary. Since it's all text, I don't know how to categorise it. Anyway, here's what Joe Public had to say about it, on a blog I found that posted an image of it:-


50p  ...or is it? I got this in change yesterday....never seen one like this before.

blue_crow7    says:

jordan had one of these the other day... the royal mint has gone all modern.. but all dictionary like too.. :o)

   withnail_eye says:

Please don't tell me these are legal tender.

   blue_crow7    says:

welcome to the uk... where weird is the norm

   durhamcat2000    says:

seriously? tis a legal specie of the realm? rather multi-century retro, eh?

   durhamcat2000    says:

It just looks like funny money to me.....I thought I might be able to unwrap it and get the chocolate joy! HUMPH!!

   Rippie: Contra Censura!!    says:

it is real money.. just lighter and more modern. take it to the post office or bank to clarify...

   durhamcat2000    says:

Tell me......why is this coin so fascinating? At this moment in time, it has been viewed 297 times!! How weird....the picture is utter pants!! It was just a curiostiy thing.......NOT that I am complaining mind you. lol

   Rippie: Contra Censura!!    says:

you know what? i clicked it cuz it looked like a novelty repro of an olde-tyme coyne, if you know what i mean, and i was curious... and it still looks that way to me... so considering it's actually a legal tender... well... who knew

   arcane gravy    says:

if you look closely at the bottom of the coin you will see it's 251 yrs out of date, so you wer ripped off after all. the chocolat will be stale by now.

   durhamcat2000    says:

hahaha!! Yes, it would taste a little yuck by now! Say......did they have chocolate in 1755? or the elaborately decorated tin foil at that? ;)

   Morphicman says:

You got this as change? Is is authentic?..If it is..Your in for a good lump sum..

Intriguing comments. How often do you find non-collectors so interested in a coin?


In 2006 we find what initially proved to be a rather controversial design: the 2006 Heroic Acts design by Clive Duncan. Gordon Brown objected to the original design, and you can perhaps see why. My thanks to Paul Baker (africancoins), who sent me a scan of this article from Coin News.


Claire Aldridge's depiction of the Victoria Cross itself on the other 2006 50p is very competently done. The 2007 Scouting 50p, showing the well-known Scouts emblem, is another attractively done design, and it probably produced a bit of nostalgia in those who saw it.

The 2009 Kew Gardens 50p is another representational design, though partly symbolic. The heptagonal 50p is an excellent vehicle for commemorative designs, and I think the Royal Mint has really upped its game, design-wise, in this past decade.

UK Decimal +

As an aside to the topic heading, but on the general subject, I have started listing all UK decimals by face value, year, description and quantity issued into general circulation in a small Group and have started with the 50p and 25p Crowns.   The address is BUT it is via Facebook of which you have to be a member.   All are welcome to join.

I also have an Excel workbook giving a lot of details of UK decimals, with a 'quick check list' with a lot of information on it which will print onto one sheet of A4 paper.   If you would like a copy, please Email me and I will send it.

Ilford, Essex, near London, England.

People look for problems and complain.   Engineers find solutions but people still complain.