(75% copper, 25%
|Obverse Designer||Portrait of Her Majesty the Queen
2006 - Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS
|Reverse Designer||Clive Duncan|
A depiction of a soldier carrying a wounded comrade, with an outline of the Victoria Cross surrounded by a sunburst effect in the background.
The Victoria Cross is the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy. All who have received it have shown extraordinary bravery, many at the cost of their own lives. The original idea for the Victoria Cross was proposed by the Duke of Newcastle in 1854, and the Royal Warrant for the creation of the medal was signed by Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace on 29 January 1856. To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the institution of the Victoria Cross, The Royal Mint struck two fifty pence coins.
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.