For the first time in over 1100 years The Royal Mint has released into circulation a series of coins designed by the public. The pioneering new 50p coins showcase each of the 29 Olympic and Paralympic Sports of the London 2012 Games.

Almost 30,000 designs were submitted to The Royal Mint’s competition in January 2009. The final 29 coin designs were chosen by a panel of independent experts, representatives of The Royal Mint, London 2012 and the International Olympic Committee.

The winners came from a diverse range of professions, backgrounds and locations. There was a policeman from Manchester, a delivery driver from Reading, a radiologist from Stoke, a bank clerk from Preston, a part-time chef from Cornwall, an agronomist from Yorkshire and a 75-year-old retired social worker from Derby.

The collection also makes history by featuring designs from a 10-year-old schoolgirl from Bristol and a 16-year-old student from Pembrokeshire; the first child and teenager to design a circulating coin of the realm.

The 50p was introduced 41 years ago during decimalisation. Since then, only 16 designs have featured on the nation’s 50p. The 29 London 2012 coins represent the biggest, concurrent range of designs The Royal Mint has ever featured on a circulating coin. And like every UK coin in use today, each design also had to obtain final approval from the Treasury and Her Majesty The Queen.

You can find out much more about the coins and the people who designed them on The Royal Mint blog

"Coins are a part of the fabric of our daily life, so to have a range of coins designed specifically to celebrate London 2012 is a huge honour, made all the more special by the fact that members of the public have designed them. The 50ps will be part of a long-lasting, wide-reaching cultural legacy that will benefit the entire nation and I’m looking forward to finding the first one in my change and collecting the entire range.”

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe