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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Each coin has been struck to a superior Brilliant Uncirculated quality and protectively encapsulated in official Change Checker packaging, within in a Change Checker Display Page – perfect to slot into your Change Checker Album.
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In fact, the Lion of England design was first revealed in 2016 but appeared to be released solely for use with gold and silver bullion coins. However, the design by Jody Clark (the man behind the current Queen’s effigy) met such popular acclaim that the Royal Mint has now confirmed its release in brilliant uncirculated base-metal.
Unprecedented in the modern era
The use of a bullion coin design on a base-metal coin is unprecedented in the modern era, often meaning that some of the UK’s very best coin designs, used on Britannia and Sovereign coins, have simply been too expensive for change collectors to own.
In fact, it is only Pistrucci’s St. George and the Dragon that has ever appeared on a base metal coin, under George VI in 1951, notably at a time when the Sovereign was not even being issued as a bullion coin.
More base metal issues to look forward to
So does this mean that we can expect to see Pistrucci’s St. George and the Dragon and the latest Gold and Silver Britannia Coin designs available in base metal?
Sadly, I think not. But there is some good news for collectors who love Jody Clark’s Lion design.
The Royal Mint has also revealed an accompanying Unicorn of Scotland £5 coin, enabling collectors to own both “supporters” of the Royal Coat of Arms.
Will there be eight more coins to collect?
Whilst the Unicorn of Scotland coin is yet to be released in Silver and Gold it is ear-marked to be part of a continued series of Silver, Gold and Platinum Bullion coins to be issued over 5 years. The set is inspired by the Queen’s Coronation Beasts that lined the entrance to Westminster Abbey for her coronation in 1953.
Currently there is no final confirmation from the Mint, but it seems likely the remaining eight coins will follow in brilliant uncirculated base-metal over the coming 4 years- a definite highlight for base metal collectors. And if the popularity of the precious metal coins is anything to go by, this latest release will be a guaranteed winner with base metal collectors too.
The new Lion of England and Unicorn of Scotland £5 Coins are available to order today in certified Brilliant Uncirculated Condition- CLICK HERE
It has been confirmed that the new 12-sided £1 coin will enter circulation in less than 12 weeks time.
28th March 2017 is sure to become a historic day as we welcome the new coin which has been billed to become the most secure circulating coin in the world.
This will be the first specification change to our £1 coin in more than 3 decades, since the pound was first introduced in 1983.
Formally named ‘The Nations of the Crown 2017 UK £1‘ the coin was designed by 15-year-old David Pearce following a public competition in 2015. The new design is made up of the English rose, the Welsh leek, the Scottish thistle and the Northern Irish shamrock emerging from one stem within a royal coronet to represent the four constituent countries of the United Kingdom.
28th March 2017: The new 12-sided £1 coin will enter circulation. It may take a little while for people to start seeing it in their change as it gradually filters into general use.
28th March – 15th October 2017: During these six months the co-circulation period will take place. You will be able to use both coins as normal in this time in preparation for demonetisation.
16th October 2017: The Round £1 will cease to be legal tender from this day onwards.
We’re really looking forward to finding them in our change when they’re released in 83 days time. And remember, pound coins with the 2017 date are likely to be more sought after – especially in good condition or uncirculated.
Be one of the FIRST people to own the new £1 Coin.
Today you can own all 13 of the United Kingdom’s 2017 coins including the brand new ‘Nations of the Crown’ 12-sided £1 within the latest annual coin pack.