In 2008, Matthew Dent redesigned the UK’s definitive coins following a public competition which saw over 4,000 designs submitted.
His Royal Shield of Arms design was chosen by The Royal Mint Advisory Committee to feature on the reverse of all UK coins, and when each coin from the penny to the 50p is placed together, the completed design reveals the full shield. The lower section of the shield can be seen on the reverse design of the UK 50p.
Definitive 50ps are usually issued into circulation every year and generally go unnoticed as they are so readily available and mintage figures are often in the high millions.
Since 2008 this coin has been issued into circulation six times, but which Royal Shield 50p is the rarest?
The Royal Mint only issues coins based on demand, and therefore the coin wasn’t issued in 2009, 2010, 2011 or 2016. In the years that the coin was issued, the mintage figures vary from just 1,800,000 all the way up to 49,001,000.
By far the rarest 50p shield is the 2017 coin, which is actually the second rarest 50p coin in circulation!
The Kew Gardens is known as the UK’s rarest circulation 50p, with a mintage of just 210,000 and the next rarest commemorative 50p is the 2017 Sir Isaac Newton, with a mintage of 1,801,500. However, when you include definitive coins into the mix, the 2017 Royal Shield actually knocks the Sir Isaac Newton off second spot, with 1,500 less coins issued.
The most common Royal Shield 50p is the 2014 coin, with a mintage of 49,001,000, although this is not the most common 50p in circulation…
That title goes to the old definitive, featuring Christopher Ironside’s Britannia design. This design was first issued in 1969 as the first seven sided coin, issued to replace the 10 shilling note.
In 1997 the coin was made smaller and lighter and the old coins ceased to be legal tender in the UK. Therefore, a whopping 456,364,100 Britannia 50p coins were issued that year to replace the old design, making the 1997 Britannia 50p Britain’s most common 50p.
Are the definitive 50p coins worth collecting?
As collectors, we often focus on the rarer commemorative designs when it comes to building our collections, but I think the chart above just goes to show why we shouldn’t overlook the rarity of the definitive coins.
You’re very likely to come across the Royal Shield 50p in your change (in fact, there might be one in your pocket right now!) so make sure you keep your eyes peeled to see if you can find the rare 2017 coin for your collection!
Own the UK’s rarest Royal Shield 50p within the 2017 Royal Mint Pack!
This set is no longer available from The Royal Mint, but today you can own all 13 of the United Kingdom’s 2017 annual coins in the Royal Mint Brilliant Uncirculated pack, including the UK’s rarest Royal Shield 50p.
To celebrate 50 years since the release of the first seven sided coin in 1969, in January The Royal Mint released a set of five carefully curated commemorative edition 50p coins, including the UK’s most sought-after 50p in circulation, the Kew Gardens.
These coins were issued in Base Proof, Silver Proof and Gold Proof, but within just two hours of going on sale, the entire range completely sold out!
Many collectors were left feeling disappointed after missing out on the chance to own this set, however today The Royal Mint has released a Brilliant Uncirculated edition to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 50p.
Find out about the coins featured in this set below…
The very first 50p coin issued in 1969 was designed by Christopher Ironside and featured the seated Britannia alongside a lion.
This coin was issued between 1969 and 2008, after which The Royal Mint held a public competition to redesign the reverse of UK coins, with Matthew Dent’s winning shield design featuring on the reverse of definitive 50p coins since.
It seems only fitting therefore that the first 50p chosen to commemorate the coin’s 50th birthday is the ‘New Pence’ Britannia featuring Ironside’s design, a firm favourite for collectors, representing a numismatic milestone for Britain.
Girl Guides 50p
Within this set you can see not only the Britannia, but also the Girl Guides 50p which was issued in 2010 to celebrate 100 years of Girlguiding in the UK.
Girlguiding began in the UK after Robert Baden-Powell asked his sister Agnes to start a group especially for girls that would run in a similar way to the scouting movement he founded in 1907.
The trefoil Girlguiding logo seen on the reverse of the coin represents the threefold promise of the Guides, and is the focus of this commemorative 50p which celebrates the centenary of the organisation.
The next coin in the set is the 2007 Scouting 50p. The Scouting movement was started in 1907 by Lord Robert Baden-Powell at an experimental camp in 1907 on Brownsea Island in Dorset.
Baden-Powell was a decorated soldier, talented artist and free-thinker who believed in teaching boys practical outdoor activities and resourcefulness.
‘Be prepared’ became the motto of the scouting movement and features on the design of this commemorative 50p which was issued in 2007 to mark 100 years of Scouting in the UK,
Roger Bannister 50p
Another firm favourite which features in this set is the 2004 Roger Bannister 50p.
On 6 May 1954, 25-year old medical student Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute mile barrier, celebrated by this 50p issue. His time of 3mins 59.4 seconds was achieved at the Iffley Road track in Oxford and watched by around 3000 spectators.
This 50p is unusual in the sense that it is very rare for the achievement of a living person to be celebrated on a coin.
UK’s scarcest 50p – Kew Gardens
These retrospective reverse designs taken from the last 50 years create a wonderful set of coins to commemorate the 50p coin, however we all know that the coin collectors are most excited about is the re-issue of the Kew Gardens 50p.
Initially when the coin was released in 2009 to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, its rarity was overlooked.
However in 2014 The Royal Mint revealed just how scarce this coin really is, with only 210,000 coins being struck. From this moment, prices on the secondary market began to skyrocket and collectors have since been desperate to add the coin to their collection, regarding the coin as one of the biggest prizes in the collecting world.
The 2019 re-issue of the most highly collected UK coin is a chance for collectors who have not already got this coin in their collection to finally own a genuine Kew, as many fakes have unfortunately been doing the rounds on the secondary market. Find out how to spot a Fake Kew Gardens here >>
Following the popularity of the Base, Silver and Coin Proof sets, we expect these Brilliant Uncirculated coins to be very sought-after.
Will you be securing the set for your collection?
Secure this iconic set, including the 2019 re-issued Kew Gardens 50p
This set is now available to order in Brilliant Uncirculated quality.
The BRAND NEW 2019 Peter Rabbit 50p has now been officially released!
In 2016 this mischievous little bunny re-inspired the nation to start checking their change.
And that’s because Beatrix Potter’s enchanting tales of countryside characters were brought to life on UK coinage with The Royal Mint’s introduction of the Beatrix Potter 50p series.
Likened to the 2012 Olympic 50p collecting sensation that gripped the nation, the release of these 50ps, including the very first UK Peter Rabbit coin, started a collecting frenzy across the UK.
And now this loveable little character has once again found his way out of Mr McGregor’s garden and onto a brand new UK 50p coin, for the fourth year running.
First issued to celebrate 250 years since the birth of the renowned Children’s author, Beatrix Potter, these 50p coins have been unprecedented in their popularity.
Thirteen coins have been issued since 2016, each featuring one of Potter’s delightful characters, from Flopsy Bunny to Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and even a special coin which includes elements celebrating Beatrix as the artist behind some of the best-loved characters in children’s literature.
The tale now continues with the 2019 Peter Rabbit 50p coin, featuring an original illustration of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter herself, carefully engraved by Royal Mint coin designer, Emma Noble.
The illustration has been taken from the book, ‘The Tales of Benjamin Bunny’ and shows Peter Rabbit wearing his blue jacket, which he daringly retrieved from Mr McGregor’s garden after losing it in ‘The Tales of Peter Rabbit’.
He can be seen clutching a handkerchief which was used to gather onions from the garden to take back for his aunt.
The coin won’t be entering circulation, but is available to purchase in Brilliant Uncirculated quality here >>
There is no doubt that this Peter Rabbit 50p coin will be as popular as the previous years, and I’m sure collectors won’t want to let this bouncy bunny slip through their fingers.
Own the BRAND NEW 2019 Peter Rabbit 50p
This is your chance to be ahead of the crowd and secure your 2019 Peter Rabbit 50p in superior Brilliant Uncirculated condition.
Sign up for more Beatrix Potter news!
The Royal Mint has not confirmed if more Beatrix Potter coins will be issued this year, but if you’d like to be the first to know about any updates or future Beatrix Potter coins, you can sign up to receive updates using the form below: