The British fifty pence (50p) coin – often pronounced fifty pee – is a unit of currency equalling one half of a Pound Sterling. It is a seven-sided coin formed as an equilateral-curve heptagon, or Reuleaux polygon – a curve of constant width, meaning that the diameter is constant across any bisection. This shape, which was revolutionary at the time of its introduction, makes it easily distinguishable from round coins both by feel and by sight, while its constant breadth allows it to roll in vending machines.
The first UK Fifty Pence coin was issued in 1969 with the classic Britannia reverse design by Christopher Ironside, which was superseded in 2008 by the Matthew Dent design for circulation coins.The denomination is also extensively used to issue circulating commemorative coins.
Beginning in 2009, the Royal Mint started issuing 50 pence coins for collectors – such as this one – which are not meant to be released in circulation, so are classified as Non-Circulating Legal Tender (NCLT).
This coin continues the great success of earlier circulation commemoratives celebrating favourite children story characters; it marks 40 years since the publication of Raymond Briggs’ enchanting story, The Snowman (first published in 1978). The coin was issued in several formats: Brilliant Uncirculated in a presentation folder decorated with illustrations from the story, Royal Mint Product code: UK18SMBU, issue price £10.00; Silver Proof, coloured, in acrylic block with falling snow; Gold Proof, in a walnut case.
No coins of this type were issued into circulation.