In recent years, the 50 pence piece has become the most collected coin in the world.

But here at Change Checker, we get asked a lot about the older specification 50p coins… “How many old 50ps are there to collect? How rare are my old 50ps? Can I still find these coins in circulation?” are just a few of the questions frequently asked.

So, we’ve put together a guide answering your questions and giving you the key facts we think you need to know about these out-of-circulation coins!

What are old specification 50ps?

The 50p emerged in 1969 as the first coin in the new decimal series.

It was also the world’s first seven-sided coin and has since become the most collected coin in the country!

In 1997, the specification for the 50p changed to the size and feel we’re familiar with today.

But, between 1969-1997, there were five 50p coins issued in these older specifications. But what was different about these coins?

All five pre-1997 50p coins.
Left to Right: Britannia New Pence, Entry to the EEC, Britannia Fifty Pence, EC Presidency, D-Day

Spot the difference

  Pre-1997 (old specification) 1998 onwards (new specification)
Weight 13.05g 8.00g
Diameter 30mm 27.30mm
Metal Cupro-Nickel Cupro-Nickel
Obverse
Effigy
1969-1985 – 2nd Portrait, Arnold Machin

1985-1997 – 3rd Portrait, Raphael Maklouf
1998-2015 – 4th Portrait, Ian Rank-Broadley

2015-onwards – 5th Portrait, Jody Clark

As you can see, despite the 50p retaining the same metal composition, the older specification was much bigger and heavier than the coin we’re used to today – imagine carrying around a bundle of those in your pockets!

These coins were removed from circulation when the new specifications were introduced, so you won’t come across these in your change.

What’s more, shop keepers and banks won’t accept these as legal tender, so we imagine a lot of these will have been kept by collectors for their private collections!

So, how many of these coins were issued? Let’s take a look at our Pre-1997 50p Mintage Chart and see..

You might have spotted the top coin in our chart has a mintage of JUST 109,000! Let’s take a look at each of these coins in closer detail to get the full story..

1969 Britannia New Pence

Fact File:

  • Year of Issue: 1969-1981
  • Obverse Designer: Arnold Machin
  • Reverse Designer: Christopher Ironside
  • Mintage: 594,917,500
1969 Britannia New Pence

The New Pence 50p was the first 50p coin ever issued and it featured Christopher Ironside’s iconic Britannia design.

Britannia first appeared on UK coinage in 1672 and since then has always been present on at least one denomination.

With a mintage of 594,917,500 is the most common of the pre-1997 50p designs, which is hardly surprising as it was the definitive 50p design between 1969-1981.

Despite it’s considerably high circulating mintage, this coin is still considered collectible as it’s no longer in circulation.

1973 Entry to the EEC 50p

Fact File:

  • Year of Issue: 1973
  • Obverse Designer: Arnold Machin
  • Reverse Designer: David Wynne
  • Mintage: 89,775,000
1973 Entry to the EEC 50p

This coin was issued to celebrate the UK’s entry to the EU (then called the European Economic Council or the EEC).

With a mintage of 89,775,000 it is less common that the definitive design but not the rarest out there!

It is still incredibly sought-after by collectors though as this was the FIRST-EVER commemorative 50p!

1982 Britannia Fifty Pence

Fact File:

  • Year of Issue: 1982/83/85
  • Obverse Designer: Arnold Machin (1982/82) Raphael Maklouf (1985)
  • Reverse Designer: Christopher Ironside
  • Mintage: 114,819,007
1982 Britannia Fifty Pence

In 1982 the ‘New Pence’ in the design was replaced with Fifty Pence as the design was no longer considered new.

Although still the definitive design, this coin was only issued in 1982, 1983 and 1985 and featured two different portraits of Her Majesty on the obverse! Machin in ’82 and ’83 and the new Maklouf portrait in ’85.

With a mintage of 114,819,007, it’s the second most-common of the Pre-1997 50ps.

1992/93 EC Presidency 50p

Fact File:

  • Year of Issue: 1992/93
  • Obverse Designer: Raphael Maklouf
  • Reverse Designer: Mary Milner
  • Mintage: 109,000

Designed by Mary Milner, this 50p celebrates the UK’s presidency of the European Council of Ministers.

Excitingly, this 50p is the RAREST ever UK 50p to enter circulation. With a mintage of just 109,000 it’s even rarer than the sought-after Kew Gardens 50p which has a mintage of 210,000.

As this coin is no longer in circulation AND has the lowest ever UK 50p circulating mintage, it’s incredibly sought-after by collectors and if you’re lucky enough to have one in your collection, you should be extremely pleased!

1994 D-Day Landings 50p

Fact File:

  • Year of Issue: 1994
  • Obverse Designer: Raphael Maklouf
  • Reverse Designer: John Mills
  • Mintage: 6,705,520
1994 D-Day 50p

Issued to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the D-Day Landings, this was the final 50p issued in the older specifications.

Interestingly, this has been voted Change Checkers ‘Favourite Ever’ 50p!

With a mintage of 6,705,520 it is the second rarest of the pre-1997 50p coins.


So hopefully our guide to the Pre-1997 50p coins will help you along the way to expanding your collection!

What’s most exciting about all five of these coins is that now they’re out of circulation, they are all considered particularly sought-after by collectors!

Do you have any of these coins in your collection already? Let us know in the comments below!


Own the UK’s FIRST-EVER Commemorative 50p

To secure the 1973 Entry to the EEC 50p – the UK’s FIRST-EVER commemorative 50p – carefully encapsulated in Change Checker packaging click here >>

11 Comments

  1. Bradfordbill on May 20, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    Yes I have four of them except the presidency coin

    • Kimberly Jarrad on May 22, 2020 at 8:39 am

      That’s great! The Presidency 50p can be very tricky to find – hope you manage to collect it soon!

      • Paul on May 25, 2020 at 6:59 pm

        Nice,but I don’t know if a lot of people know this but besides the Kew Gardens and the large eec 50p,the large 1985 50p brittania is the 3rd rarest coin ever to be minted with a mintage figure of only 682,103 only which makes it rarer than even any of the Olympics coins as well.



      • Alexandra Siddons on May 29, 2020 at 2:04 pm

        That’s great coin knowledge, Paul! You’re right, the 1985 Britannia has incredibly low mintage! Have you found one in your change before?



  2. Jane on May 19, 2020 at 5:51 pm

    I have the D-Day landing 50p which I found in a bag of old coins my old employer gave me to throw away. It was like new!!

    • Kimberly Jarrad on May 20, 2020 at 9:58 am

      Oh wow, that’s very lucky! The D-Day Landings 50p is such a nice coin to have in your collection!

  3. Mr Denis Fitzpatrick on May 19, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    I only have two of them still looking for the rest

    • Kimberly Jarrad on May 20, 2020 at 9:58 am

      Two is a great start! Fingers crossed you manage to find the other three 🙂

  4. Coin_Buff on May 19, 2020 at 8:37 am

    Yes I have all five of these 50p coins in my collection

    • Kimberly Jarrad on May 19, 2020 at 2:28 pm

      Oh wow, that’s quite impressive! You must be very pleased with your collection 🙂

      • Mark on May 20, 2020 at 5:59 pm

        Yes I have all 5 of these coins and every 50p Britannia for each year from 1969 to 1997 other than 73 and 94 when there was no Britannia.



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