The Suffragette 50p was released in 2003 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Women’s Social and Political Union. This coin is sought after by those interested in both politics and history, as well as for anyone looking to collect commemorative coins as it was the only commemorative 50p issued in 2003.
History of the coin
The first 50p coin was minted in 1969 as one of the new coins which was needed for decimalisation in 1971. The new coin was 7 sided in shape and it has kept this shape after being made a little smaller in 1997.
The first 50p featured Britannia and this was replaced with part of the Royal Shield in 2008. The coin has also featured many special designs to commemorate special events and historical characters.
One such coin commemorated the Suffragettes in 2003.
About the Suffragettes
Until the 20th century, women in this country were not allowed to vote. In 1903 the Women’s Social and Political Union was formed to promote the right for women to have the vote.
The founders were Emmeline Pankhurst and Christabel and Sylvia, her daughters. The Suffragette Movement took part in many demonstrations, which included damaging property and chaining themselves to railings. Members of the movement were even imprisoned, where they went on hunger strike.
The term ‘suffrage’ simply means to have the right to vote in elections. ‘Suffragette’ was a word used by the Daily Mail to identify the members of the movement, distinguishing them from a more peaceful suffrage movement, the suffragists.
In 1918 the Representation of the People Act gave the vote to some women over 30, and in 1928 the Equal Franchise Act finally gave women the same voting rights as men.
How many Suffragette 50p coins were made?
3,124,030 Suffragette 50p coins were put in to circulation in 2003.
Design and Designer
- Front design:
The Suffragette 50p has a woman chained to railings holding a banner for the Women’s Social and Political Union. To the side is a ballot paper with the words ‘give women the vote’ and a cross at the top, with the years 1903 and 2003.
- Obverse design:
Ian Rank-Broadley’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.
- Designer: Mary Milner Dickens
Mary Milner Dickens is a sculptor. She trained as the Royal College of Art and the Leicester College of Art, where she learnt modelling, carving and lettering. She also studied at Cornell University in the USA, and at the British School in Rome.
Her work won the Prix de Rome for Sculpture in 1957 and she has since completed many commissions which can be seen around the country, including plate designs for the Silver Trust National Collection in Downing Street.
She has designed a few coins for the Royal Mint, including the European Union 50p and the Public Libraries 50p. She has also designed the medal for the Battle of Britain 50th anniversary and the Royal Mint’s Fleur de Coin Club medal.
The Suffragettes 50p had a circulation of 3,124,030 in 2003 and was re-issued in 2009 as part of the collectors set commemorating the 40th anniversary of the 50p.
- Brilliant uncirculated coins are available
- 1,000 Gold Proof coins were produced
- 15,000 Silver Proof coins were produced.
- 7,500 Silver Proof Piedfort coins were produced.