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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Less than 24 hours after the designs were unveiled, The Mint of Finland have scrapped designs for a program of coins marking the nation’s independence centennial.
The coin caused uproar on social media after the design, which appeared to show an execution during the Finnish Civil War, was released to the public.
The coins were due to be put on sale on 4th May, but the Communications Director for the Mint of Finland confirmed that no coins had been struck.
The Mint of Finland said that it “deeply regrets all the bad feeling caused by the images in the collector coin series.”
And a similar coin design disaster could have happened in the UK.
The Victoria Cross 50p that was ordered to be redesigned
Back in 2005, Gordon Brown (Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time) ordered a 50p coin commemorating the Victoria Cross be redesigned because it appeared to show a British soldier being shot in the back.
The 50p coin was issued to mark 150 years of the famous Victoria Cross medal, which is the highest honour for gallantry which can be given to British and Commonwealth forces. However, the original design reportedly depicted a soldier carrying a wounded comrade, apparently in the sights of an enemy sniper.
A letter from the Chancellor’s aides to The Royal Mint said: “He (Mr. Brown) appreciates the designer’s attempt to portray the courage and selflessness of the British soldier carrying a wounded comrade while under fire. But he feels that the particular image of a British soldier apparently about to be shot in the back will not seem appropriate to many people.”
The ‘Heroic Acts’ 50p coin was designed by sculptor Clive Duncan to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the institution of the Victoria Cross in 2006 along with another 50p designed by Claire Aldridge.