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14-10-2016

First 50p is Introduced

Coining It In

On this day in 1969, in preparation for full decimalisation in 1971, the fifty pence piece was first introduced in the UK. And people hated it. The coin was created to replace the old 10-shilling note and, even though it was the only heptagonal coin in circulation in the world, the British public felt it was too similar to the brand new ten pence piece that appeared the previous year. Even though that one was round and this one was pointy with seven sides. A retired Army colonel called Essex Moorcroft formed the Anti-Heptagonists group to protest this disgraceful new form of currency. Bus drivers, shop assistants and even Members of Parliament all felt the coin was inferior to the old Ten Bob note, while one man complained that he’d mistakenly left one as a tip, when he had meant to leave 10p.  But the wheels of progress were already turning and about 120 million of the little buggers were released to banks. Now there are roughly 948 million 50p coins in circulation with an estimated value of £474.032 million