Marking the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Benjamin Britten
(75% copper, 25%
||Portrait of Her Majesty the Queen
2013 - Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS
||Tom Phillips CBE RA
About This Design
In 2013 this UK 50p celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of British composer Benjamin Britten. This unique coin is the first ever UK 50p to show both date and denomination on the obverse. Designed by artist Tom Phillips CBE RA, the coin features the uplifting words BLOW BUGLE BLOW and SET THE WILD ECHOES FLYING as well as the composer’s name in a stave, a reference to his virtuosity as a pianist and conductor.
History Of The 50p
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 featured 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 on a new reverse design. The 50p is legal tender for amounts up to £10.