We all know the battle of Hastings took place in 1066 and altered the course of British history forever, however, it might seem a rather odd anniversary to commemorate ie. 950 years but I guess the Royal Mint is taking every opportunity now to issue anything it can market! There were 8 different variants of the 50p coin struck in 2016 alone of which this is only one. I suppose this is both good and bad news for the amateur numismatist as on one hand it provides an obviously large range of relatively cheap coins to collect but for many people, finding all 8 varieties for the year may be quite difficult.
This coin is available in no less than 5 different varieties from the Royal Mint ranging in price from £10 for a Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) grade coin in cardboard packaging through to a gold proof version for £785! They even had the Mayors of Hastings and Battle along to the mint to see the first pieces struck.
The obverse, being a 2016 coin, features the bust of The Queen by Jody Clark alongside the denomination legend. The reverse, pictured above, features a design by the artist John Bergdahl based on the infamous depiction of King Harold in the Bayeux Tapestry. He sports, of course, the obligatory arrow in the eye. The reverse will certainly be obvious straight away to anyone who handles the coin in their daily life as it looks nothing like most of the UK 50 pence coins found in circulation.
I am certainly pleased to have come across this example though I must admit I am slightly annoyed that it is so ‘well travelled’ looking after only being in circulation a very short while – perhaps I will find a better example to keep next year – one of the joys of collecting coins for fun! I have found almost all of the 2016 50p coins now and will be posting about the others shortly (I still haven’t come across the Rio Olympic version – I assume this is quite a rare 50p although we won’t know for sure until the mintage figures are released next year.
As for the specifications, nothing out of the ordinary at 27.3mm and 8g of cupronickel as per usual. There are rumours however that this is on course to oust the NHS commemorative 50p coin as the 5th rarest 50p coin ever!