Royal Mint launches five-coin fifty pence British Culture set of re-issues that sells out in a day

It seems the British public have a previously unrecognised love affair with the good old 50 pence coin. Launched back in 1969 as the country switched over to the decimal system, the seven-sided coin was different in size and shape to the rest of the new coins. In recent years, the Royal Mint has had great success with an ongoing release of special editions, often several per year, but always at least one for general circulation. Many of them have comparatively low mintages and often sell for hugely inflated sums on auction sites. They also attract regular ‘Big Media’ attention in the UK.

Of course, the Royal Mint issues precious metal commemorative variants for the collector market, but they’ve now taken that a step further with a new set that contains proof quality re-issues of five older coins under the banner ‘British Culture’ in celebration of the coins 50th anniversary. Remembering the first four-minute mile, the Boy Scouts, Girl Guides and Kew Gardens (the rarest circulating 50p coin of them all), the subjects are rounded out with the classic Britannia. Each coin has a new 2019 issue date and carries Jody Clark’s effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse.

Two formats were on offer, and we use the term ‘were’ because both sold out in a few hours. The sterling 0.925 silver set comprises five 8 gram coins and sold for £225 – a huge sum for 1.3 ounces of silver, but about the same as buying similar designs individually. The 0.9167 (22kt) gold coins are struck at 15.5 grams (½ oz) and the nicely boxed set retailed for £3,825. You’ll no doubt be able to pick these up on the aftermarket, but be careful as there will be some silly prices being asked for them. A base-metal offering with a 3,500 mintage and a £90 price also sold out.

250th Anniversary of the founding of Kew Gardens: 2019 is the tenth anniversary of the release of the Kew Gardens 50p. Just 210,000 coins were released making it the rarest 50p design in circulation. A £5 million facelift of the Great Pagoda has recently restored Britain’s first skyscraper to its former splendour – even the dragons have returned for the first time in 200 years. Originally completed in 1762 as a gift for Princess Augusta, Kew’s landmark building will stand for centuries to come. The famous design features the Great Pagoda in all its glory, encircled by rare vines

The First Sub-Four Minute Mile: On 6 May 1954, Roger Bannister made sporting history, becoming the first athlete to run a mile in under four minutes. Taking the tape in three minutes and 59.4 seconds, in front of 3,000 cheering spectators at the Iffley Road track in Oxford, his legacy lives on as British athletes continue to break new ground, pushing themselves to the limit of human endurance. The design marked the 50th anniversary of this achievement by showing Roger mid-stride, as he closes in on his record glory, encircled by rare vines

100 Years of Scouting for Boys: The scouting movement was founded in 1907 by Robert Baden-Powell, a British cavalry officer. He hoped to instil in boys aged 11–14 a sense of resourcefulness and a code of chivalrous behaviour. Originally a British movement, scouting took off all over the world. Today, those values are still upheld as millions of boys promise to be loyal to their country, help others and obey the scout law. The design features the World Scout Emblem alongside the iconic motto ‘be prepared’

100 Years of the Girl Guides: Inspired by the popularity of his scouting movement, in 1910 Baden-Powell asked his sister Agnes to start a similar group for girls. Still going strong in the twenty-first century, through a mixture of fun, adventure and friendship, the Girl Guides encourage today’s youngsters to face the challenges of growing up and to be the they can be. The design features a special arrangement of the Girl Guides trefoil.

A Modern Classic: Restored to the coinage of Charles II in 1672, Britannia has been a fixture on the coins of every subsequent monarch. Christopher Ironside depiction of our most recognisable national icon – seated beside a lion, resting her shield – endured for 40 years before being replaced by Matthew Dent’s definitive design in 2008.

Common obverse: A standard Royal Mint design, it features the Jody Clark effigy of Queen Elizabeth II surrounded by the inscribed issue details.

MINTS DESCRIPTION

Released in 1969 as the country geared up for the decimal switchover, the 50p was nothing short of revolutionary. But this was no heptagonal novelty. The world’s first seven-sided coin was designed to roll smoothly in vending machines and after a rocky start, it won over the British public. During half a century in circulation, the 50p has been issued in a range of commemorative editions, celebrating every aspect of British culture. Signature designs and limited mintages have made them highly collectable.

As the 50p turns 50, The Royal Mint is delighted to present a carefully curated set of coins celebrating Britain’s cultural legacy – a fitting way to mark this milestone moment. Coins celebrating the first sub-four-minute mile, the Scouting movement, the Girl Guides and Kew Gardens and presented alongside Christopher Ironside’s classic Britannia – testament to the legacy of institutions and achievements that continue to inspire us today. Each coin in this set is year-dated 2019 and finished to Proof standard.

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SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION £0.50 UKP £0.50 UKP
COMPOSITION 0.925 silver 0.9167 red gold
WEIGHT 8.00 grams 15.50 grams
DIMENSIONS 27.30 mm 27.30 mm
FINISH Proof Proof
MODIFICATIONS None None
MINTAGE 1,969 75
BOX / COA Yes / Yes Yes / Yes
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