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HomeFifty Years of the 50 Cent Coin: Celebrating Australia's Unique 12-Sided Coinage

Fifty Years of the 50 Cent Coin: Celebrating Australia’s Unique 12-Sided Coinage

By Royal Australian Mint ……

The 50th Anniversary of the introduction of the copper-nickel dodecagon 50 cent coin is celebrated today with a new limited edition collectible coin set by the Royal Australian Mint. Celebrating not only 50 years but also five different effigies that have featured on the coins since 1969.

“This year Australia commemorates the 50th anniversary of Australia’s most distinctive decimal coin. The most iconic for its unusual shape, it’s the coin that has launched many into a world of coin collecting,” said Royal Australian Mint CEO Ross MacDiarmid.

Mr. MacDiarmid said the Royal Australian Mint is excited to share a special limited edition release featuring a gold-plated 50 cent coin to mark its golden anniversary.

When decimal currency was introduced in 1966, the 50 cent coin was the showpiece of the new circulating coins. The coins were made of silver, round in shape, and featured the Commonwealth Coat of Arms.

In 1968 the Royal Australian Mint ceased production of the coins, as silver prices started to rise above the face value of the coins. The new coins, released in 1969, were dodecagonal (12-sided) in shape, and manufactured in a copper-nickel alloy. The new coin shape differentiated the 50 cent coins more easily from the round 20 cent coins.

In the time since its introduction in 1969, the coins have borne five different effigies of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and a range of commemorative designs, making them attractive to collectors.

The ‘2019 50c Uncirculated Coin Set – 50th Anniversary of the 50c’ is available in a limited mintage of 20,000, retailing for $65.00 AUD.

The coins are Australian legal tender and can be purchased from the Mint’s website or Contact Centre (1300 652 020).

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The 50 cent coin in numbers

  • The Royal Australian Mint has produced over one billion circulating 50 cent coins since 1969.
  • Approximately 14 million coins were produced in 1969.
  • The Mint can produce approximately 190,000 50 cent coins per machine per day.
  • Each 205 litre/44 gallon coin drum contains 45,000 50 cent coins and weighs approximately 735kg (gross weight).
  • The circulating 50 cent coin is made from 75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel.

Did you know?

  • The Mint recently released Australia’s newest circulating 50 cent coin in 2019 to commemorate the International Year of Indigenous Languages.
  • Since 1969 there have been 31 different designs featured on the reverse of circulating 50 cent coins produced by the Mint, including the Commonwealth Coat of Arms sculpted by Stuart Devlin.
  • The designs on the reverse of circulating coins feature a range of themes, including a design commemorating the marriage of His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 also designed by Stuart Devlin.
  • Due to its shape, the 50 cent coin is the slowest coin to make.
  • It takes more pressure to produce circulating 50 cent coins than other circulating coins.


Royal Australian Mint
Royal Australian Minthttps://www.ramint.gov.au/
The Royal Australian Mint is an award-winning, world-class Mint and a global leader in the mint industry. The Mint produces circulating coins for Australia and other countries; collectible and investment coins for domestic and international customers; and custom-made medals, medallions, and tokens for individual or corporate clients. The Mint is also a national cultural attraction that educates millions of Australians and international visitors on the history of Australia’s decimal currency, and the significance and value of coins.

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