Great Britain’s 2012 Olympics 50p Coin Series

In 2010 and 2011, Great Britain released a series of 50-pence coins in honor of London hosting the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. The 29 coins in the series have the Queen on the front (obverse), and on the back they feature images from the 29 different Summer Olympic and Paralympic sporting events that make up the Summer Olympic Games.

London 2012 50-pence coins
Taekwondo (left) and Cycling (right)

Similar to the United States’ “State Quarter” series, the 29 different designs in the Olympic Sports series were released in phases starting in 2010 and going through 2011. While the State Quarters series had 50 designs spread over 10 years (issuing 5 different state quarter designs per year), the Royal Mint had 29 designs to release over the course of only 2 years. Like the State Quarters series, the Olympic Sports series were released to circulation so that amateur collectors could start checking their pocket change for the new coins.

The Royal Mint held an open competition for the designs, allowing anyone in the United Kingdom to submit a design for one of the Summer Olympic and Paralympic events.  Winning designs came from such people as a delivery truck driver, a toy designer, a radiologist, and a 9-year-old. You can read about the designers at the Royal Mint’s London 2012 50 P Sports Collection site.

The designs don’t attempt to fit into a mosaic like Great Britain’s regular circulation (see our blog post about Great Britain’s redesign), which would be especially hard since each coin was designed by a different person.

In 2009, the Canadian Mint issued a similar series of 12 quarters for the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver, BC.  The quarters also depicted events from the Winter Olympic and Paralympic games.

For Britons, collectors get to look forward to searching through loose change in order to collect all 29 sporting event coins. For those outside of the UK, however, it may be difficult to build a complete collection without ordering coins or an entire set directly from the Royal Mint.

London 2012 50 P Sports Collection Events

  1. Aquatics
  2. Archery
  3. Athletics
  4. Badminton
  5. Basketball
  6. Boccia
  7. Boxing
  8. Canoeing
  9. Cycling
  10. Equestrian
  11. Fencing
  12. Football (soccer)
  13. Goalball
  14. Gymnastics
  15. Handball
  16. Hockey
  17. Judo
  18. Pentathlon
  19. Rowing
  20. Sailing
  21. Shooting
  22. Table Tennis
  23. Taekwondo
  24. Tennis
  25. Triathlon
  26. Volleyball
  27. Weightlifting
  28. Wheelchair Rugby
  29. Wrestling