In terms of a lasting legacy around the world, it can be argued that few medical breakthroughs of the twentieth century can rival the impact of the discovery of insulin in 1921. A veritable lifeline for millions each day, its use in the treatment of diabetes has saved countless lives worldwide since its introduction and has allowed science to tame a condition that had baffled mankind for centuries.
In the early twentieth century, the onset of diabetes posed grave consequences for anyone unfortunate enough to receive a diagnosis, with the common prognosis being just one year to live thereafter. Fortunately, that all changed in 1921 thanks to the pioneering work of John Macleod, Sir Frederick Banting, and their expert team consisting of Charles Best and James Collip.
The innovative work of Macleod, Banting et al. changed the landscape of the treatment for diabetes and turned it into a manageable condition. Since then, the use of insulin has allowed people living with diabetes throughout the world to live full lives largely unhindered by the lifelong effects of the condition.
In the year of its 100th anniversary, The Royal Mint is proud to celebrate the discovery of insulin with a commemorative UK 50p coin as part of the Innovation in Science series. In tribute to the pioneering efforts of 1921, the reverse design combines an artistic illustration of insulin’s molecular structure with its chemical symbol in a numismatic tribute befitting such a historic discovery.
Limited Edition 3500
Limited Edition 1,500
1921 Sovereign. Issued in the year of the discovery of Insulin.
In terms of a lasting legacy around the world, it can be argued that few medical breakthroughs of the twentieth century can rival the impact of the discovery of insulin in 1921.
The coin depicts the portrait of King George V by Bertram Mackennal, an Australian sculptor and medallist, most famous for designing the coinage and stamps bearing the likeness of George V.
The reverse features Benedetto Pistrucci's timeless masterpiece, a depiction of St George and the dragon, which was created for the new gold Sovereign of 1817.Find out more
DISCOVERY OF INSULIN
With thanks to the University of Aberdeen for their assistance in this project.