As many collectors will know, 2019 marks the 50th Anniversary of the 50p coin.
Since its issue in 1969, the world’s first seven-sided coin has become a huge favourite with collectors and has served as a canvas to commemorate some of the most iconic moments in British Military history.
As we mark a milestone year for this iconic coin, The Royal Mint’s celebration continues as they reissue five of the most important 50p coins celebrating British Military history!
These five 50p coins, pieced together for the first time, mark a rare milestone moment for British Coinage. Not to mention the set also includes the 1994 D-Day 50p re-issued in the NEW 50p specifications for the first time ever!
Earlier in the year, the Base Proof, Silver Proof and Gold Proof British Culture 50p sets sold-out within just TWO HOURS of going on sale. The Brilliant Uncirculated set released just a short while later also saw an overwhelming response from collectors.
Find out the story of each of the coins featured in the British Military 50p Set below…
Victoria Cross Medal 50p
The Victoria Cross is the highest award for gallantry that a British serviceman can achieve. A recommendation for the Victoria Cross is normally issued by an officer at regimental level and has to be supported by three witnesses.
This coin was originally issued in 2006 to mark the 150th Anniversary of the Victoria Cross.
Depicting the obverse and reverse of a Victoria Cross medal, the design by Claire Aldridge carefully details the Cross pattée with a crown and Lion as on the medal itself.
Victoria Cross Soldier 50p
The Victoria Cross Award was introduced in 1856 by Queen Victoria to honour acts of the Crimean War.
Since then, two-thirds of all awards won have been presented by the British Monarch at investitures which are usually held at Buckingham Palace.
To date, the medal has been awarded 1,358 times. A large number of these were awarded during the World Wars: 634 in World War One and 182 awarded in World War Two.
Initially issued in 2006 to mark 150 years of the Victoria Cross Award, this coin features a soldier carrying a wounded comrade with an outline of the Victoria Cross as designed by Clive Duncan.
Battle of Hastings 50p
The Battle of Hastings was fought on the 14th of October 1066 between the French Army, led by Duke William II, and the English Army led by King Harold.
King Harold was eventually defeated by William who then became known as William the Conqueror; he was crowned the first Norman King of Great Britain.
Issued in 2016 to mark 950 years since this legendary battle, the reverse design of this 50p by John Bergdahl was inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry.
Battle of Britain 50p
The Battle of Britain was an intense air battle fought mainly throughout the summer of 1940 between Germany and Britain.
The name for the conflict was derived from a Winston Churchill speech in which he said “The Battle of France is over. I expect the Battle of Britain is about to begin.”
Marking the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain this coin was first issued in 2015. The reverse design, by Gary Breeze, depicts three airmen running to their planes with enemy aircraft overhead.
D-Day Landings 50p
On 6th June 1944 a mighty alliance of British, American and Commonwealth armed forces crossed from England to Normandy and began assault on German forces.
It was the largest seaborne invasion in history and began the liberation of German-occupied France, laying the foundations for the Allied victory of World War Two.
A timeless tribute to the thousands of Allied troops who fought tirelessly in the War, this 50p coin was issued in 1994 to commemorate 50 years since D-Day.
Originally struck as a large 50p in the pre-1997 specifications this is the first time ever this D-Day 50p coin has been issued in the new 50p dimensions!
The reverse of the coin was designed by John Mills and represents the D-Day Landings with the Allied invasion force heading for Normandy filling the sea and sky.
We are very excited to see these coins being re-issued as a complete set for the first time – especially the 1994 D-Day 50p in the new specifications!
Following the popularity of the re-issued British Culture 50p set earlier in the year, we expect this set to be equally as sought-after.
What coin are you most looking forward to seeing?
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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.