At the end of the month Britain will be leaving the European Union and HM Treasury have already announced a special commemorative 50p will enter circulation to mark the significant moment.
And if you want to be kept up to date with information about this new UK Brexit 50p, click here to register your interest.
But this won’t be the first time Britain’s relationship with the EU has been commemorated on coins. Whatever your feelings on our upcoming departure from the EU, our relationship with the continent has certainly produced some of the most iconic and important 50p releases ever from The Royal Mint!
Here are the coins that tell the story of Britain in the EU…
1973 European Economic Community 50p – the FIRST commemorative 50p!
After over a decade of debate and discussion, in 1973 Britain was finally successful in its attempts to join the European Economic Community, known as the EEC. And to mark this important moment, The Royal Mint issued a brand new 50p to celebrate the UK’s accession. It features nine hands clasping each other in a circle, symbolising the nine member states of the community.
This coin now stands as a hugely significant issue in British history, but it also stands as an extremely important numismatic release. That’s because it was the FIRST EVER commemorative 50p! This was the coin that started what has become the world’s most popular coin collecting craze and paved the way for the Olympic, Beatrix Potter and Kew Gardens 50ps we’re now so familiar with.
1992/3 UK European Community Presidency – the RAREST ever 50p!
The 1992/3 50p celebrates the UK’s presidency of the European Council of Ministers, and the completion of the Single Market. The design by Mary Milner Dickens features a conference table seen from above, around which are the 12 chairs for the Council of Ministers with the UK at the head of the table.
This 50p was released at a difficult time in the UK’s relationship with Europe. A strong Eurosceptic voice began to be heard in Parliament, with Thatcher having recently stepped down as Prime Minister and the formation of the UK Independence Party.
But most collectors will be aware of this 50p as being one of the most sought-after coins ever issued by The Royal Mint. There have been some extremely scarce 50ps issued since its introduction over 50p years ago, but with a mintage of just 109,000 (around half of the Kew Gardens 50p) the EC Presidency is the rarest UK 50p coin to enter circulation!
1998 UK entry to EEC 25th Anniversary 50p – the FIRST new-sized 50p!
In 1998 a new 50p was issued to commemorate 25 years of the UK in the EEC. The previous decade had been occupied with much debate and discussion over Britain’s membership of the European Union, playing a part in the decline of the Conservative Party and the landslide election victory by Tony Blair’s Labour Party.
This 50p marked a key change in the 50p – it was the FIRST to be released in the smaller sized specification we know today. The old larger coins were removed from circulation and it’s this new sized 50p that has featured some of the UK’s most iconic coin designs.
2020 Brexit 50p – the MOST IMPORTANT coin release of the decade!
To mark the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, it has been announced that a brand new 50p will be released into circulation on 31st January along with special commemorative Gold, Silver Proof, and Brilliant Uncirculated editions available to order from that date.
The final design features the inscription ‘Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations’ and the historic date 31st January 2020 – the date the UK will officially leave the European Union.
The three previous 50ps issued to mark the UK’s relationship with the EU have all become iconic releases in their own right, and I have a feeling this brand new coin may just stand as the most collectable of them all!
If you want to be kept up to date with information about the new UK Brexit 50p, then register your interest below.
If you’re interested…
Britain’s departure from the EU at the end of the month is sure to be one of the most important historic moments of our lifetime. And to mark the occasion you can own one of a limited number of Silver Britannias alongside the original 1973 EEC 50p, specially preserved in a one-day-only DateStamp™ issue to mark Britain leaving the European Union.
Each year, The Royal Mint marks important British anniversaries, events or accomplishments on our coins and today I’m delighted to reveal the UK’s new coin designs for 2020.
What’s more, you have the opportunity today to secure them in a variety of different presentations or specifications – I’m sure there is something for everyone.
Simply read on to discover how you can be one of the first UK collectors to add these coins to your collection…
FIVE new UK commemorative coins
The Royal Mint has just announced the five new commemorative coins for 2020, issued to mark a variety of occasions and landmark anniversaries that we’ll see over the coming year:
- King George III £5 – marking the 200th anniversary of the end of King George III’s reign
- VE Day £2 – commemorating the 75th anniversary of VE day, signalling the end of WWII
- Agatha Christie £2 – celebrating “100 years of Mystery”, the centenary of her debut mystery novel
- Mayflower £2 – marking the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s maiden voyage to The New World
- Team GB 50p – a tribute to Team GB ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games due to be held in Tokyo
UK 2020 Annual Coin Set BU Pack
To give as many collectors as possible the chance to own these highly sought-after coins, The Royal Mint has issued them in Brilliant Uncirculated quality, which is coveted by collectors as it means each coin is free from any marks you would find on circulated coins.
In this BU Pack you’ll find the five brand new commemorative coins alongside the eight definitive coins from the 1p to the £2, all newly dated for 2020.
Each one is protectively encapsulated in its attractive original Royal Mint packaging to preserve its quality for generations to come. What’s more, you can secure this BU Pack at the Royal Mint issue price of just £55 (+p&p). Click here to find out more >>
This set of coins is also available as a CERTIFIED BU Commemorative Coin Set for £40 (+p&p). Click here to find out more >>
UK 2020 Annual Collector Proof Coin Set
Whilst being struck from base metal, the coins in this set have been struck to a stunning superior Proof finish. This set also includes the five new commemorative coins alongside the eight definitive coins from the 1p to the £2, all newly dated for 2020.
Just 7,000 sets have been released worldwide in this limited edition presentation – that’s under half the edition limit of previous issues that have completely sold out. So, it’s expected this set will be extremely sought-after.
You can order the UK 2020 Annual Collector Proof Coin Set here with a down payment of just £31 (+p&p) followed by 4 further interest-free instalments – that’s the Royal Mint issue price. Click here to find out more >>
UK 2020 DateStamp™ Specimen Set
The most limited way to own the five new 2020 commemorative coins is by securing the UK 2020 DateStamp™ Specimen Set. In fact, JUST 995 collectors worldwide can own this unique set.
What truly sets the 2020 Specimen Year Set apart from all other 2020 Annual Sets is the fact that it is forever set in time by the official Royal Mail postmark that marks the coins’ first day of release – 1st January 2020.
Each coin is struck to the highly desirable Brilliant Uncirculated quality, and come individually presented in tamper-proof capsules. What’s more, each set has a unique serial number, confirming its place in the tiny edition limit, and you can even register your set online to guarantee its provenance!
This annual set has a track record of completely selling out within a matter of days, so if you want to secure a set for yourself you’ll need to be quick. You can reserve yours with a deposit of just £22. Click here to find out more >>
The 10 Shilling Note, or ‘ten bob’, was a goodly sum in the old days – in the 1960’s it could buy 6 pints of beer, 10 loaves of bread, or 17 pints of milk.
It’s hard to imagine its decimal equivalent, the 50p, buying so much these days!
This old banknote has a fascinating history, from being issued by the Government in a wartime emergency, changing colour to avoid forgery from the Nazis and eventually being replaced by the world’s most popular coin.
The Emergency Banknote
In August 1914, the British economy was in turmoil because of the instability brought on by the oncoming war on the continent. Bankers and politicians were desperately looking for ways to secure Britain’s finances and prevent the banks from collapsing.
The Government decided that a large supply of banknotes had to be made available for the value of 10 shillings, making it easy for the public to make small transactions. However, The Bank of England was not able to prepare and print the required number of notes quickly enough, so the Government took the unprecedented step of deciding to issue the notes itself.
These banknotes became known as the Treasury banknotes and were unlike anything the British public had ever seen. Until this point the lowest denomination banknote was £5, and in those days this was such a large sum that many people would never have seen or used a banknote before.
That means that these Treasury notes now stand out as the first widely circulated banknotes in England.
The Wartime colour change
In 1928, the responsibility for printing Ten Shilling Notes was transferred to the Bank of England.
However, not long afterwards Britain once again found itself at war, and again found its currency under threat.
During World War II, Nazi Germany hatched a plan to undermine British currency. Through Operation Bernhard they believed that they had discovered a method to manufacture counterfeit ‘White Fivers’ and planned to distribute these in huge numbers to destabilise the British currency.
The Bank of England decided to take preventative action and, as a result, the 10 Shilling note was changed for duration of the war to a distinctive pink and blue in an attempt to prevent counterfeiting. It was also revolutionary in the progression of banknote technology by incorporating a metal security thread.
The Nazis could not compete with this high level anti-forgery technology and hence the British 10 Shilling Note stayed strong and supported the British wartime economy as it had done since its conception.
The 50p revolution
After undergoing a colour change during the Second World War, the ‘ten bob’ note reverted to the familiar red-brown until 1961, when a new design featuring a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II was introduced.
Despite a new design for the 10 Shilling Note featuring Sir Walter Raleigh on the reverse being approved in 1964, as part of the process of decimalisation it was dropped in favour of the new fifty pence coin introduced in 1969.
The principle reason for the change was to save the treasury money, the notes had an average lifetime of around five months, whereas a coin could last for fifty years. The 50p has since gone on to become the world’s most popular and collected coin, but nowadays few realise the fascinating history of its predecessor, the 10 Shilling Banknote!
If you’re interested…
It’s now been 50 years since the last 10 Shilling Banknote was issued – which is why you now have the chance to pay tribute to this famous old note with a LIMITED EDITION DateStamp™. But only a very limited number of 10 Shilling Notes will be released in this way, so you’ll need to be quick if you want to secure one for your collection! Click here to order one today >>