1998 European Union 50p | The Royal Mint

1998 European Union 50p

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

About This Design

Commemorating the United Kingdom’s twenty-fifth anniversary of EU membership and presidency of the Council of Ministers, John Mills’ celebratory reverse design features the twelve stars of the European Union with the letters "EU" between the anniversary dates "1973" and "1998", and the value '50 PENCE' below.

The United Kingdom's entry into the European Economic Community in 1973 was marked by the issue of a commemorative fifty pence coin. Since then, the fifty pence has become the 'European' coin, chosen again in 1992/93 to mark two further historic European Union events; the United Kingdom's Presidency of the Council of Ministers and the completion of the Single European Market. This 1998 coin commemorates 25 years of the United Kingdom's membership and its six-month Presidency of the European Union.

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.

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