1998 NHS 50p | The Royal Mint

1998 NHS 50p

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the National Health Service


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 David Cornell
Edge Plain
Mintage  5,001,000*

About This Design

A pair of hands set against a pattern of radiating lines with the words "FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY" and the value "50 PENCE", accompanied by the initials "NHS" which appear five times on the outer border.

Monday 5 July 1948 saw a dream become reality for millions of people in the UK with the birth of the National Health Service and the advent of free medical care for all. To honour the 50th year of hard work and dedication of a vital institution, The Royal Mint struck this commemorative fifty pence. Symbolising the hope brought by the NHS, the design by David Cornell shows light radiating from cupped hands, complemented by its seven-sided frame.

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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