The Royal Mint commemorates a century of the BBC – from news of the empire, to the Teletubbies

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is an absolute giant in the media world. Not only the oldest national broadcaster in the world, and the biggest, it’s also likely the most recognised wherever you are in the world. Established under a Royal Charter issued by King George V, the BBC has been a constant presence ever since, especially for news, with much of the world in its early decades relying on it for its relative impartiality, and comprehensive coverage.

It had a monopoly on domestic television until 1955, and radio until 1973, but now occupies almost every form of media imaginable, in competition worldwide, including book, magazines, the internet, and even movies. It remains known worldwide for its news, primarily, and from a breathtaking range of documentaries, spearheaded by the technically accomplished, Bristol-based Natural History Unit, and fronted by Sir David Attenborough.

Now, at a century old, the Royal Mint is celebrating that history with a new coin design, in the fifty-pence format. Henry Gray has done the honours this time, producing a nice piece that harks back to the old style of using a globe to signify the organisations reach, but mixed in with some more modern touches, A signal emanating from Britain is sending out waves, upon which the dates of the centenary, the coin title, and the words ‘Inform, educate, entertain’, the values that John Reith, its first general manager, used to define the BBC on its founding.

The obverse of the coin will carry the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, as it was already in an advanced state of production when she died. Three, proof-finish, precious metal variants are available. The range-topper is a 22-kt gold coin of half-ounce weight, which comes boxed with a C.O.A. and a maximum mintage of 360. The silver coins are also the usual 50 pence weights of 8 grams, and 16 grams, the latter simply a piedfort (double-thickness) variant. All are available to order from later today.


The Royal Mint has unveiled the design of a collectable 50p in celebration of 100 Years of Our BBC, in partnership with the world-renowned British broadcaster during its centenary year.

The coin is the first to be released by The Royal Mint since the passing of her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth, and will still bear her effigy on the obverse (heads) side of the coin. The 1,100-year-old company last month unveiled the official UK effigy of King Charles III, but the 100 Years of BBC coin will feature the existing effigy people will be familiar with, in the interest of sustainability. The Royal Mint has purposefully decided not to re-strike coins that had already been produced with her Late Majesty’s effigy, to minimise waste or unnecessary environmental impact.

Since its inception in Britain in 1922, the BBC has reached audiences all over the world with its original public service mission to inform, educate and entertain. The new collectable 50p design by artist Henry Gray pays tribute to the BBC’s global reach, with the depiction of the earth at the heart of the design. In recognition of its long-standing remit and 100-year milestone celebration, the inscriptions “Inform, educate, entertain”, “100 Years of Our BBC” and “1922 – 2022” appear to emanate from a broadcasting mast emerging from the earth, slightly tilted on its axis.

The design has been brought to life with the best British craftsmanship at The Royal Mint, using handcrafting and laser-cutting techniques to create contrasting textures of frosting against a mirror-like table on the surface of the 50p.

Rebecca Morgan, The Royal Mint’s Director of Collector Services, said: “Like The Royal Mint, the BBC is an original British maker who has put innovation at the forefront of its evolution. Coins are miniature pieces of art which tell the stories of our nation and we are delighted to be working with Britain’s leading national broadcaster to create a special 50p in recognition of their 100 Years.

“An ever-present British institution for most people’s lives, the BBC has had a marked influence on our culture and broadcast some of the most extraordinary moments in British history. On the reverse side, the commemorative design honours BBC’s world-wide influence with a depiction of the earth which has been frosted combining traditional craftsmanship and state-of-the-art technology to create contrasting textures.

“With the obverse side of the coin featuring the effigy of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth, we do anticipate a high demand for these coins from collectors.”

In celebration of the launch, the coin was photographed alongside the AXBT Microphone which features in collection of “100 Objects that made the BBC” at Broadcasting House in London.

BBC Director-General Tim Davie said: “The BBC is honoured that The Royal Mint are marking our centenary with this special 50p coin. Its design perfectly captures the BBC’s huge reach and impact over 100 years as the world’s leading public service broadcaster.”

COMPOSITION 0.925 silver 0.925 silver 0.9167 gold
WEIGHT 8.0 grams 16.0 grams 15.50 grams
DIMENSIONS 27.3 mm 27.3 mm 27.3 mm
FINISH Proof Proof Proof
MINTAGE 3,510 1,110 360
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes