2021 marks 50 years since our UK coins turned decimal, in the biggest numismatic change seen in centuries.
In celebration of this significant anniversary, The Royal Mint issued not one, but TWO Decimal Day 50ps in 2021. The reverse designs are the same, but that certainly can’t be said for their obverses…
The first version of the Decimal Day 50p, available exclusively in the 2021 Annual Coin Set, features the original Arnold Machin portrait of Her Majesty The Queen on the obverse – the same obverse used for the UK’s very first decimal coins.
However, the individual coin which was released later in January, featured Jody Clark’s fifth portrait of The Queen instead.
So why did The Royal Mint revert back to the Queen’s first decimal effigy for this new issue? Join Change Checker as we take a closer look…
Spot the Difference
The 50p available in the Annual Set which features the original Machin portrait on the obverse, quickly caught the eyes of collectors as this was the first time we have seen The Royal Mint revert a previous portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II on a base metal UK coin.
Marking 50 years since our UK coins went decimal, it seemed only fitting that this coin should include Machin’s obverse design.
But, when the Decimal Day 50p was individually released later in January, collectors had the opportunity to get their hands on a second version of this coin, as Jody Clark’s portrait of The Queen featured on the obverse.
So with two versions of the 2021 UK Decimal Day 50p out there, this coin is set to become a real talking point among collectors!
Arnold Machin Portrait
The significance of this anniversary and the fact that the Machin portrait of HM QEII was the first to be used on the UK’s 50p, makes for the perfect excuse to revert back to this previous effigy on the exclusive Decimal Day 50p within the Annual Set.
The UK’s very first decimal coins (5p, 10p, followed by 50p) actually entered circulation before 1971 and as they were circulating together with pre-decimal currency, a new portrait of The Queen was commissioned to help the new coins stand out.
Arnold Machin’s new portrait showed The Queen wearing a tiara given to The Queen by her grandmother, Queen Mary.
We love the fact that collectors have the chance to see this previous portrait reused on this brand new 50p and it certainly makes for interesting collecting!
Have you secure both versions of the 2021 Decimal Day for your collections? Let us know in the comments below!
But that’s not all, as this is not the first time we’ve seen different obverses used on the same coin…
2015 Battle of Britain 50p
In 2015, The Battle of Britain 50p shot to fame as collectors were quick to spot that there were THREE different versions of the coin, with different obverses on each of them.
The Brilliant Uncirculated 50p was issued early in 2015 and was quickly dubbed an ‘error’ coin. The coins, which were sold in presentation packs, had been struck without the denomination in either numbers or writing anywhere on the coin. Chancers were quick to play to this, with some managing to sell on the coins for near to £100 each on the secondary market.
After the controversy surrounding the coin erupted, the Royal Mint confirmed that the 50p intended for circulation later on in the year would have the ’50 PENCE’ denomination. But was this after they had realised their mistake?
So how did this coin end up with three different obverses?
Each version of this coin has caused a stir in the collecting world. Not only does this Battle of Britain 50p fail to feature a denomination on the Brilliant Uncirculated version, but the obverse is different for each finish used for the coin – a first for a UK commemorative coin.
In 2019, a brand new re-issued Brilliant Uncirculated version of the Battle of Britain 50p (from the 2019 50th Anniversary of the 50p Military Set) saw Jody Clark’s portrait and the 50 PENCE denomination – making this the FOURTH version of this 50p!
Do you have any of the Battle of Britain 50p coins? Let us know in the comments below!
Secure the 2021 Annual Set with the Decimal Day 50p that features the original Arnold Machin obverse!
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It’s nearly December, and one question keeps cropping up here at Change Checker – where are all the 2015 commemorative coins?
The new designs for 2016 have been revealed and yet we have not seen a single one of this year’s commemorative coins in circulation.
What’s happened to them? Where have they gone? Will they ever get released – and as they only have a month to run, will there be some rare low mintages?
For us, and I’m sure other Change Checkers, this is an incredibly frustrating position. All of the anniversaries that are being commemorated have long past, and the opportunity for new collectors to get excited about the year’s coins has faded away.
All we want to do is find these coins!
In fact, we’d like to see The Royal Mint put the commemorative coins in circulation before the anniversary dates.
Do you agree? Have your say in our poll below…