Roger Bannister and Kew Gardens feature in 50th anniversary of 50p coin set

The Kew Gardens 50p Credit: Royal Mint/PA

A special set of coins celebrating British cultural history has been unveiled to mark the 50th anniversary of the 50 pence piece.

The Royal Mint has released a proof set in honour of the “revolutionary” seven-sided coin introduced in 1969.

It said the designs had been carefully selected to celebrate key cultural milestones and favourite pieces of coin collectors.

The set includes a 50p marking Kew Gardens’s 250th anniversary, another commemorating Roger Bannister’s world record sub-four-minute mile, a reissue of the previous ‘new pence’ 50p design and two coins celebrating the centenaries of the Scouts and Girl Guides.

The Kew Gardens coin is a collector’s item because of its low mintage of just 210,000 – making it the rarest 50p design in circulation.

First issued 10 years ago, the coin marked the 250th anniversary of founding of Kew Gardens in London and features the landmark Great Pagoda encircled by vines.

The building, originally completed in 1762 as a gift for Princess Augusta, recently received a £5 million facelift to restore it to its former glory.

Another coin in the set celebrated the 50th anniversary of Roger Bannister running the first sub-four minute mile in 1954.

The British runner is depicted mid-stride on the coin as he crossed the finish line at the Iffley Road track in Oxford in three minutes and 59.4 seconds.

One hundred years of the Scouting movement was marked by a coin featuring the World Scout Emblem alongside the iconic motto “be prepared”.

The commemorative 100 years of the Scouts 50p  Credit: The Royal Mint/PA

Robert Baden-Powell, a British cavalry officer, established the Scouts in 1907 to help instil a sense of resourcefulness and a code of chivalrous behaviour among boys aged 11 to 14.

A fourth coin in the commemorative set marked 100 years of the Girl Guides.

In 1910, Baden-Powell asked his sister Agnes to create a similar group for girls. The coin’s design features a special arrangement of the Girl Guides trefoil.

The commemorative 100 years of the Girl Guides 50p Credit: The Royal Mint/PA

The fifth coin in the set is a version of the 50p that was in circulation for 40 years before being replaced by a Matthew Dent design in 2008.

The “new pence” 50p featured Christopher Ironside’s depiction of the national icon of Britannia seated beside a lion while she rests on her shield.

Nicola Howell, director of the consumer business at The Royal Mint, said: “Since the 50p entered UK circulation 50 years ago, the distinctive design has become a popular addition to the nation’s pockets and wallets.

“Over the years, the commemorative editions that The Royal Mint has released to mark British cultural and historical highlights have also become incredibly popular sparking something of a collecting craze.

The New Pence 50p  Credit: The Royal Mint/PA).

“We’re delighted to be revealing the special 50p British Culture commemorative coin set to mark this historic anniversary, which features some of the nation’s most loved 50 pence pieces.”

Visitors to The Royal Mint Experience will also be able to strike their own 2019-dated 50p Britannia New Pence in “Brilliant Uncirculated” quality.

After striking, the coin will be placed in “special, augmented-reality enabled packaging”.

The commemorative 50p set will be available to purchase from in a range of precious metal and base proof finishes, with prices starting from £90.