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European Union 50p

by Simon Barker

european union 50p

  • Circulation: 5,043,000
  • Year issued: 1998
  • Value circulated: £1.00
  • Value circulated in excellent condition: £3.00
  • Value uncirculated: £10.00
  • Composition: cupro-nickel
  • Scarcity index: 9

In 1998 the UK took over the Presidency of the European Council. To mark this event and the 25th anniversary of the EEC, the Royal Mint released a European Union 50p. This coin is a very nice item for anyone interested in politics or history, as well as being a must have for coin collectors.

History of the coin

The 50p celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019 and a set was released with some of the designs which have appeared on it since 1969.

When it was first minted it was in preparation for the introduction of decimal currency. This was introduced in 1971 and the new 50p coin was the equivalent of the old 10 shillings. It was the largest coin in circulation and in 1997 it was reduced in size, along with the 5p and 10p coins.

About the European Union

The European Union is a political union of a number of European countries. At the end of January 2020, there will be 27 member states.

The EU developed from the Common Market and European Economic Community and it came in to force in 1993. The Union has created various policies for all members, including freedom of movement and a customs union and most countries have adopted the Euro as their currency.

Prior to 2009 the position of the President of the European Council was held for 6 months. Since 2009, it has been a full time position and is elected every 2 and a half years. The European Union 50p commemorates the 25th anniversary of the EEC, the forerunner to the EU, as well as UK’s Presidency which lasted 6 months. The  holder at the time was Tony Blair.

How many European Union 50p coins were made?

Released in 1998, 5,043,000 European Union 50p coins were put in to circulation and it was the first commemorative 50p to be issued on the smaller size coin.

Design and Designer

  • Front design:

The European Union 50p has 12 stars, with the dates 1973 and 1998.

  • Obverse design:

Ian Rank-Broadley’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.

  • Designer: John Mills

John Mills is an award winning sculptor and artist. He attended the Royal College of Art and taught in a number of colleges until 1977.

His work has been exhibited in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia and his commissions can be seen throughout the country, including The Royal Institution, The Royal Academy and St Paul’s Cathedral.

He has designed a number of coins for the Royal Mint including the Euro Cup £2, the 50th anniversary of DNA double helix discovery and his design for the D Day 50p coin was voted coin of the year.


The European Union 50p had a circulation of 5,043,000 and it was reissued in 2009 as part of the collectors set to celebrate 40 years of the 50p.

  • 34,162 Brilliant uncirculated coins are available
  • 1,000 Gold Proof coins were produced
  • Silver Proof coins were produced.
  • 9,000 Silver Proof Piedfort coins were produced.

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