The Victoria Cross celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2006 and two 50p coins were minted by way of a celebration. The two designs make a nice item for anyone interested in army memorabilia and make a nice set on their own.
History of the coin
In 1971 the UK introduced the decimalised system of currency. This meant that the Royal Mint had to design and mint a new set of coins to be used. The process began in 1968 with the 5p and 10p coins and in 1969 the 50p piece became the 3rd new coin to be produced.
The 50p stands out from other coins because it has 7 sides and this shape has not altered since it was first minted. The only difference is that it was made a little smaller in 1997.
In 2006 two 50p coins were circulated to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first time the Victoria Cross was awarded.
About the Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross is awarded for acts of bravery in battle and it is the highest award for gallantry that a serviceman can receive.
The Victoria Cross was first awarded to soldiers who fought in the Crimean War in a ceremony at Hyde Park in 1856. During this ceremony Queen Victoria awarded the first 62 medals. Since then 1,358 Victoria Cross medals have been awarded, with just 11 since the Second World War.
Before the Crimean War, recognition was only usually given to officers. Crimea was the first time reliable reports were sent back and it was considered necessary to introduce an award for servicemen of all ranks. The Victoria Cross was the first medal given purely for acts of bravery, and not based on a soldier’s rank.
How many Victoria Cross Heroic Acts 50p coins were made?
The Victoria Cross Heroic Acts 50p coin was one of two designs minted to commemorate the award. This coin had a circulation of 10,000,500.
Design and designer
- Front design:
The front of the Victoria Cross Heroic Acts 50p design has a soldier carrying a wounded comrade in the middle of the coin. Set back behind him is an outline of the Victoria Cross Medal.
- Obverse design:
The 4th portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank-Broadley.
- Designer: Clive Duncan
Clive Duncan is a sculptor and lecturer. He taught many well known sculptors while at the London Guildhall University.
The first exhibition of his work was in 1968 at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and he has had many exhibitions since then. He has received many commissions, including portraits of Sir John Mortimer and David and Patrick Telfer Smollett.
The original design for the Victoria Cross Heroic Acts 50p was considered too controversial by Gordon Brown, so a second design was produced.
The Victoria Cross Heroic Acts 50p was minted in 2006 with a circulation of 10,000,500.
- Brilliant uncirculated coins are available
- Gold Proof coins were produced
- Silver Proof coins were produced
- Silver Proof Piedfort coins were produced.