Home 50p Coins Christopher Ironside 50p

Christopher Ironside 50p

by Simon Barker

christopher ironside 50p

  • Circulation: 7,000,000
  • Year issued: 2013
  • Value circulated: 50p
  • Value circulated in excellent condition: £2.00
  • Value uncirculated: £8.00
  • Composition: cupro-nickel
  • Scarcity index: 1

Christopher Ironside was the designer behind the new set of coins issued for decimalisation in 1971, so it was only fitting that the Royal Mint release a commemorative coin in honour of the 100th anniversary of his birth. Released in 2013, the Christopher Ironside 50p is a must have item for any coin collector.

History of the coin

When Britain adopted decimal currency in 1971, a new set of coins was needed to replace the pounds, shillings and pence which were being used. Six new coins were created and the 50p was first minted in 1969.

50p was the equivalent of 10 shillings and to make it stand out, it had a 7 sided design. These coins had Britannia on the reverse and they kept this design until 2008, when a new set of coins was issued.

The man behind the original design was Christopher Ironside.

About Christopher Ironside

Christopher Ironside began his career as a painter, studying at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London. During the war he worked for the Air Ministry in the Directorate of Camouflage. At the end of the war he worked part time as a teacher at the Royal College of Art and also took on design commissions.

During the 1960s and 1970s he designed many coins for the Royal Mint, including those for other countries such as Mauritius, Kuwait, Singapore and Dubai. In 1964 he also worked with his brother to create a design for a commemorative issue of stamps and first day covers to honour the 500th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare.

His original Britannia design was used for all of the 6 new coins minted for decimalisation. The design was used until 2008 when new designs were introduced. Not only did he create the winning design but he was also runner up with the design which features on the Christopher Ironside 50p.

How many Christopher Ironside 50p coins were made?

The Christopher Ironside 50p was issued in 2013 and 7,000,000 were put in to circulation.

Design and Designer

  • Front design:

The design shows the Royal Arms. This was runner-up design when the new coins were minted in 1971.

  • Obverse design:

Ian Rank-Broadley’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II appears on the obverse.

  • Designer: Christopher Ironside

When the Royal Mint asked for designs for the new decimal coins, Christopher Ironside was not only the winner, but the runner up too.

His design of the Royal Arms was not used, but was minted on to the commemorative 50p. This was the first time this design has been used on a coin in circulation.


The Christopher Ironside 50p has a circulation of 7,000,000.

  • Brilliant uncirculated coins are available
  • Gold Proof coins were produced
  • Silver Proof coins were produced.

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