The Representation of the People Act 1918 was a landmark in British history, giving the vote to more people, including women. The 100th anniversary of the Act was commemorated by the Royal Mint on the Representation of the People Act 50p in 2018. This is a nice item for anyone with an interest in history.
History of the coin
The 50p coin was first minted in 1969. The change to decimal currency meant that a new set of coins had to be designed and circulated. It was decided that 1 old shilling would be equivalent to 1 new 5p, and the 50p replaced the old 10 shillings.
The original design had Britannia and it had 7 equal sides. In 1997 the 50p was reduced in size. Britannia was then replaced when a new design was minted on all British coins, but it is also used to commemorate many historical events.
In 2018, the Representation of the People Act 50p was issued to honour 100 years of the Act.
About the Representation of the People Act
Prior to the Act, there were restrictions on who was allowed to vote. Only men were allowed to vote and even then they had to be over 21 and generally own land or property.
The war changed things, particularly the role which women were playing in society, and an overhaul of the voting system was needed. The Suffragettes had been campaigning for votes for women since 1903 and the Representation of the People Act was the first step to giving women equal voting rights.
Under the act, women over the age of 30 were allowed to vote as long as they met property qualifications. The act also extended the vote to all men over the age of 21 and to servicemen over the age of 19.
While there was still inequality between men and women, this was a huge step forward and led to women eventually being granted the same voting rights as men.
How many Representation of the People Act 50p coins were made?
The Representation of the People Act 50 had a circulation of 9,000,000.
Design and Designer
- Front design:
The design shows people queuing to vote, including women, a soldier and a middle class man. One woman is holding a voting card up and the words ‘1918 Representation of the People Act’ appear at the top.
- Obverse design:
Jody Clark’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II appears on the obverse.
- Designer: Stephen Taylor
Stephen is the Creative Design Manager at the Royal Mint. Having worked as a freelance graphic designer, he joined the Royal Mint in 2011. While his work mainly involves managing the overall release of each coin he still creates his own designs as well.
His other coin designs include the Remembrance Day 2017 coin, the 65th Anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen’s Coronation £5 and the 75th anniversary of D-Day £2.
The circulation of the Representation of the People Act 50p was 9,000,000.
- Brilliant uncirculated coins are available
- Gold Proof coins were produced
- Silver Proof coins were produced.
- Silver Proof Piedfort coins were produced.