50 years of the 50 pence: special coins to be released for anniversary

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A special set of coins celebrating British cultural history has been unveiled, to mark the 50th anniversary of the 50p piece.

The Royal Mint has released a proof set in honour of the “revolutionary” seven-sided coin, which was first introduced in 1969.

In this May 6, 1954 file photo, Britain's Roger Bannister hits the tape to become the first person to break the four-minute mile in Oxford, England. A statement released Sunday March 4, 2018, on behalf of Bannister's family said Sir Roger Bannister died peacefully in Oxford on March 3, aged 88. (AP Photo, File)

In this May 6, 1954 file photo, Britain's Roger Bannister hits the tape to become the first person to break the four-minute mile in Oxford, England. A statement released Sunday March 4, 2018, on behalf of Bannister's family said Sir Roger Bannister died peacefully in Oxford on March 3, aged 88. (AP Photo, File)

It said the designs had been carefully selected to celebrate key cultural milestones and favourite pieces of coin collectors.

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The set includes a 50p marking Kew Gardens’s 250th anniversary, another commemorating Roger Bannister’s world record sub-four-minute mile, in a re-issue of the previous ‘new pence’ 50p design, and two coins celebrating the centenaries of the Scouts and Girl Guides.

The Kew Gardens coin is a collector’s item because of its low mintage of just 210,000 – making it the rarest 50p design in circulation.

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First issued 10 years ago, the coin marked the 250th anniversary of founding of Kew Gardens in London and features the landmark Great Pagoda encircled by vines.

Visitors to The Royal Mint Experience in Wales will also be able to strike their own 2019-dated 50p Britannia New Pence.

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After striking, the coin will be placed in “special, augmented-reality enabled packaging”.

The commemorative 50p set will be available to purchase from www.royalmint.com in a range of finishes, with prices starting from £90.