England

Royal Mint marks 50 years of the 50p

50p commemorative coins Image copyright PA
Image caption Coins celebrating the founding of Kew Gardens and the first sub four-minute mile are part of the 50th anniversary collection

A set of coins celebrating 50 years of the seven-sided 50 pence piece has been unveiled by the Royal Mint.

The commemorative coins mark events including Sir Roger Bannister running the first sub four-minute mile and the 250th anniversary of the founding of Kew Gardens in London.

The founding of the Scouts and Girl Guides is also celebrated in the set.

The Royal Mint said the collection of five coins "features some of the nation's most loved 50 pence pieces".

The 50p coin was introduced in 1969 to replace the 10 shilling note, and was one of three decimal coins to be put into circulation before decimalisation in 1971.

Sportsman and neurologist Bannister ran the first sub four-minute mile at the Iffley Road sports ground in Oxford on 6 May 1954.

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Media captionArchive: Bannister reflects on his famous achievement

The 50p marks the 50th anniversary of that feat, when he recorded a time of three minutes and 59.4 seconds in front of 1,500 spectators.

He only held the world record for 46 days, when his time was beaten by Australian rival John Landy.

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The coin celebrating the 250th anniversary of the founding of Kew depicts the gardens' Great Pagoda, which was completed in 1762 as a gift to Princess Augusta.

With only 210,000 coins produced, it is the rarest 50p coin in circulation.

Image caption The Great Pagoda at Kew, pictured in 2010

Other coins in the set include:

  • A 50p marking the 100th anniversary of the Scouts, which is marked with the famous motto "be prepared". The movement was founded in 1907 by British cavalry officer Robert Baden-Powell
  • A coin celebrating 100 years of the Girl Guides, founded by Baden-Powell's sister Agnes in 1910
  • A version of the 50p that was in circulation for 40 years until 2008

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