Fifty Pence (Small, Ironside design), Coin Type from United Kingdom - detailed information

Fifty Pence (Small, Ironside design), Coin Type from United Kingdom (issued 1997 - 2008)
Coin TypeFifty Pence (Small, Ironside design)

The British fifty pence (50p) coin - often pronounced fifty pee - is a unit of currency equaling one half of a pound sterling. It is a seven-sided coin formed as an equilateral-curve heptagon, or Reuleaux polygon - a curve of constant width, meaning that the diameter is constant across any bisection. This shape, which was revolutionary at the time, made it easily distinguishable from round coins both by feel and by sight, while its constant breadth allowed it to roll in vending machines.

The denomination was introduced in October 1969 when the 50p joined the 5p (shilling) and 10p (florin) coins in circulation, leaving only the three copper coins (1/2p, 1p and 2p) to be introduced on 15 February 1971 to complete the new series of decimal coins; unlike other coin types at the time though, the 50 pence coin was not equivalent to a pre-decimal coin - it replaced the old ten shilling banknote.

With the introduction of smaller 5p and 10p coins in 1990 and 1992 respectively, the large 50p became the largest coin in circulation. In October 1994 the Government announced a further review of the United Kingdom coinage. The results revealed a requirement for a smaller 50p coin, which was duly introduced on 1 September 1997; it retained the design by Christopher Ironside. The large coins were demonetised in 1998.

In 2008, a new 50p design by Matthew Dent was introduced. However, the old-type small coins are still legal tender. Twenty pence and fifty pence coins are legal tender only up to the sum of £10; this means that it is permissible to refuse payment of sums greater than this amount in 20p and 50p coins in order to settle a debt.

Obverse
United Kingdom / Fifty Pence (Small, Ironside design) - obverse photo

Effigy of the ruling British monarch, legend (in Latin), date.

This version of the fifty pence coin was only issued during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II and carried two of her effigies: her Third Portrait by Raphael Maklouf (1997) and her Fourth Portrait by Ian Rank-Broadley (1998 - 2009).

Obverse Inscription ELIZABETH · II D · G · REG · F · D · [year]
Reverse
United Kingdom / Fifty Pence (Small, Ironside design) - reverse photo

The reverse features a figure of Britannia - traditional on British coinage since 1672. She is seated beside a lion, with a shield decorated with the crosses of the union flag resting against her right side, holding a trident in her right hand and an olive branch in her left hand, with the figure 50 below (in exergue) and the inscription FIFTY PENCE around above.

Reverse Inscription 50 FIFTY PENCE
EdgePlainEdge InscriptionNone
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Fifty Pence (Small, Ironside design): Details
CountryUnited Kingdom
CurrencyPound Sterling
Sub-type ofFifty Pence
From1997
To2008
Face Value50 (x Penny)
CurrentNo
MaterialCuproNickel
DesignerChristopher Ironside
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeHeptagon (Seven-sided)
Size27.300 mm
Thickness1.780 mm
Mass8.000 g
Fifty Pence (Small, Ironside design): Photos
ImageDetails
Great Britain, Elizabeth II, 50 Pence, 1998
Copyright: NumisCorner.com
Source
Great Britain, Elizabeth II, 50 Pence, 1998
Copyright: NumisCorner.com
Source