Marking the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Christopher Ironside
(75% copper, 25%
||Portrait of Her Majesty the Queen
2013 - Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS
About This Design
Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Christopher Ironside, designer of the UK's first decimal coins, this 50p features his Royal Arms design which was the runner-up to the winning design of Britannia for the first 50p in 1969. The Royal Arms design now appears in public for the first time some 44 years after its creation.
Ironside's familiar design of Britannia was adopted for the 50p at the time of decimalisation, but among the other designs that he submitted was a version of the Royal Arms. This was liked so much by members of The Royal Mint Advisory Committee that trial pieces of the design were made and the hope was expressed that a use might be found for it. Its appearance in 2013 is therefore a fitting tribute to a great numismatic artist.
The design in its original form used the designation NEW PENCE but this would be inappropriate for 2013 and the value has been amended to FIFTY PENCE.
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.