(75% copper, 25% nickel)
|Obverse Designer||Jody Clark|
|Reverse Designer||Aaron West|
When Sir Isaac Newton came to The Royal Mint, Britain's finances were approaching crisis. Up to one in ten circulating coins were believed to be forged. His vision of matchless quality led him to root out and prosecute notorious counterfeiters, improve assaying techniques (the way coin quality is checked) and refine weights and measures to standards never seen before.
In 1699 Newton became Master of the Mint. After overseeing the new coinage for the accession of Queen Anne in 1702 he went on to supervise the process of bringing Scottish coinage into line with English coinage, following the Union of England and Scotland in 1707. Thanks to Newton’s vision Royal Mint coins remain unrivalled in their accuracy and purity to this day.
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.