1998 European Union

United Kingdom's Presidency of the European Union, and the 25th Anniversary of the United Kingdom's accession to the European Economic Community

Issued 1998
Specifications  
Diameter 27.30 mm
Weight 8.00 g
Thickness 1.78 mm
Composition Cupro-nickel 
(75% copper, 25%
nickel)
Obverse Designers Portrait of Her Majesty the Queen
1998 - Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS
Reverse Designer John Mills
Edge Plain
Mintage  5,043,000 *

Click here to learn moreBackground

In October 1969 the 50p joined the 5p (shilling) and 10p (florin) coins in circulation, leaving only the three copper coins to be introduced on 15 February 1971 to complete the new series of decimal coins. The design on the reverse of the 50p coin features a symbol of Britannia that has appeared on our coinage since 1672. While this design may have been traditional, the shape of the new 50p coin, an equilateral curve heptagon, was revolutionary. This made it easily distinguishable from round coins both by feel and by sight, while its constant breadth allowed it to roll in vending machines.

With the introduction of smaller 5p and 10p coins in 1990 and 1992 respectively, the 50p became the largest coin in circulation. In October 1994 the Government announced a further review of the United Kingdom coinage. The results revealed a requirement for a smaller 50p coin, which was duly introduced on 1 September 1997.

Since its issue the 50p has been used on several occasions to celebrate important events, each being commemorated by a new reverse design.

The 50p is legal tender for amounts up to £10.

United Kingdom's Presidency of the European Union, and the 25th Anniversary of the United Kingdom's accession to the European Economic Community

A celebratoryarrangement of stars with the letters "EU" between theAnniversary dates "1973" and "1998", and the value 50 PENCE below

Designed by John Mills

*Mintage figure based on UK decimal coins issued into general circulation up to 31/12/12