The early dinosaur discoveries are showcased by the Royal Mint and the Natural History Museum

As a dinosaur enthusiast, it’s great to see increased activity in the genre so early in 2020 with both the Austrian Mint’s coloured base-metal offerings and the New Zealand Mint’s silver T-Rex coin kicking the new year off in fine form. It’s a pleasure to add the Royal Mint to the mix with an outstanding new three-coin series to be issued over the coming months.

What makes this one so good? Simple, they’ve not gone the sensationalist route that would cheapen the end result, instead choosing to work in conjunction with the world-respected National History Museum to celebrate the early years of the science of palaeontology. They’ve done this with three well chosen examples, starting off with the legendary Megalosaurus – the fossil that helped change the study of fossils from speculative fantasy to hard science.

Each coin depicts an image of the beastie in question by renowned paleo-artist, Robert Nicholls. For those unaware, paleoart is an intensely fascinating field in which artists use speculative, but scientifically backed art to depict prehistoric life. There are some brilliant people working in this field and I highly recommend a delve into it. It absolutely brings life and context to the bones we find. To each side of the creature itself sits depictions of flora of the animals time, and underneath it is a depiction of one of the original fossils as found. The dinosaurs name is inscribed at the top of the coin, and the finder of the fossil at the bottom. I’d usually just write on and on about the subjects, but sadly, we’re swamped with new releases at the moment, so this will be briefer than we liked.

Megalosaurus is available in 22kt gold and 925 silver, along with a 925 coloured silver variant. Hopefully, the colour application will do justice to the design and steer away from the rubbish ‘news-print style’ low-res printing that blights the coin world. To follow in March and April (pictured lower down) are Iguanodon, complete with its famous thumb (once thought to be a nose horn!), and Hylaeosaurus, all three having been discovered between 1824 to 1833 and which were used in Richard Owen’s seminal work, “Dinosauria”. Although only available a few hours ago, the gold has already sold out and the silver is going fast. A base metal version, either coloured or uncoloured, is also available directly from the Royal Mint, and has been enhanced with augmented reality – something the kids will love, I’m sure. The coloured silver comes in a cool solid acrylic frame, while the others are more traditionally boxed. The base metal versions are mounted in blistercards. Available now, so go get them and don’t forget to send me one…;-)


The Royal Mint in conjunction with the Natural History Museum launches its commemorative 50p Dinosauria collection – the first time a dinosaur has featured on an official UK coin. For more than 160 million years, dinosaurs roamed the Earth and these mighty creatures will now feature on their very own commemorative 50p coin.

The Dinosauria Collection is an exciting new series celebrating Britain’s contribution to the discovery of dinosaurs. The collection features each creature that led anatomist Sir Richard Owen to his ground-breaking conclusion, and the series begins with Megalosaurus.

Renowned Anatomist Sir Richard Owen, was the first to discover that the remains of Megalosaurus, Iguanodon and Hylaeosaurus all shared common characteristics. He then named this new group of animals ‘Dinosauria’ in a paper published in 1842. From this point the interest and fascination with these creatures grew and still continues to grow to this present day.


Clare Maclennan, Divisional Director of Commemorative Coin at The Royal Mint said, ‘We are thrilled to be working alongside the Natural History Museum to launch a new series of commemorative 50p coins featuring Megalosaurus, Iguanodon and Hylaeosaurus. We begin the series with Megalosaurus, with the coin’s design being a scientifically accurate representation of the dinosaur and the environment it lived in.’

Clare Matterson CBE, Executive Director of Engagement at the Natural History Museum said, ‘We are delighted to see dinosaurs on commemorative coins and work alongside The Royal Mint. The story of the discovery of dinosaurs is fascinating and particularly relevant for the Natural History Museum since Sir Richard Owen, who coined the term dinosaur, was also our founder. The Dinosauria collection brings this story to life for modern day dinosaur enthusiasts everywhere.’

Renowned British paleo-artist Robert Nicholls, with the expert guidance of Prof. Paul M. Barrett from the Earth Sciences Department of the Natural History Museum, has brought all three dinosaurs back to life. Robert has been creating natural history specimens for museums and universities around the world for more than 20 years. Based on current understanding and the expertise of leading palaeontologists at the Natural History Museum, the coin design is a scientifically accurate reconstruction of the dinosaur and the environment that it lived in. Augmented reality technology will also feature on the coloured brilliant uncirculated 50p coin allowing customers to access a range of exclusive content.

The Royal Mint Experience, based in South Wales, will be offering visitors the opportunity to strike their own Brilliant Uncirculated Megalosaurus 50p coin and will also have a range of dinosaur themed activities across February half-term, including a paleo-art workshop with the designer of the Dinosauria Collection, Robert Nicholls. Robert will demonstrate in the workshop how to draw a scientifically accurate image of a dinosaur – bringing these incredible creatures to life on paper. For more information on the events at The Royal Mint Experience visit

DENOMINATION £0.50 UKP £0.50 UKP £0.50 UKP
COMPOSITION 0.925 silver 0.925 silver 0.9167 gold
WEIGHT 8.0 grams 8.0 grams 15.55 grams
DIMENSIONS 27.3 mm 27.3 mm 27.3 mm
FINISH Proof Proof, colour Proof
MAX MINTAGE 3,010 7,710 360
BOX MINTAGE 3,000 7,000 350
R.R.P. £60.00 £65.00 £945.00