Fifty Pence Coin Issued
The 14th of October 1969 AD
Decimal coins had already begun to be introduced in Britain – on April 23 1968 the 5p and 10p coins had entered circulation – but it was the 50p coin replacing the old 10s note that really made it feel like decimalisation was happening. After all, a 10s note was real money, a pleasant surprise in a birthday card from an aunt; whereas 5p was just a shilling really, and 10p double that.
As well as preparing the way for the full decimalisation to come on February 15 1971 , the move was also made to save money: a 10 bob note lasted about five months; a 50p (New Pence on the design) coin was expected to have a life of 50 years. An amazing 188 million were produced in the first year of their use, a figure not rivalled until the smaller version was introduced in 1997.
The then unique design of the 50p, the only hexagonal coin in the world at that time, occasioned a few grumbles: some people complained that it was too close in size to the 10p coin and they confused them (but the shape should have been a bit of a giveaway); and others simply loathed the hexagonal form for itself – the BBC cite a Colonel Essex Moorcroft (too good a name to be true, but it apparently is) as founding an organisation opposed to it.
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