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Commemorative coins of the United Kingdom

Related subjects: Currency

Background Information

SOS Children, an education charity, organised this selection. SOS Child sponsorship is cool!

Commemorative coins have been issued in the United Kingdom since 1935. Initially they only came out every few years, but since 1990 they have been much more frequent, typically 4 per year.

Until decimalisation crowns (five shilling coins) were used for this purpose as they were the highest denomination of the time, but due to inflation this rôle has been transferred to higher value coins.

Crowns, £5 Coins and (until 1996) £2 Coins are non-circulating, although they are still legal tender. These denominations are only used for commemoratives. During the decimal era, crowns were converted to twenty-five pence.

50p and recent £2 Coins circulate normally and can be found in change. Usually about 5 million of each of these are the commemorative issue, the rest being of the standard design.

Since 1982 all of these have also been produced as Sterling silver and 22 carat Gold proofs.

Although the design of the £1 Coin changes every year, these are not considered to be commemoratives.


Twenty-five pence

  • 1972 Silver Wedding of Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
  • 1977 Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II
  • 1980 Queen Mother's 80th Birthday.
  • 1981 Royal Wedding of Charles and Diana

Five Pounds

  • 1990 Queen Mother's 90th Birthday
  • 1993 40th Anniversary of Coronation
  • 1996 Queen's 70th Birthday
  • 1997 Golden Wedding of Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
  • 1998 Prince Charles' 50th Birthday
  • 1999 Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial
  • 1999/2000 Millennium
  • 2000 Queen Mother's 100th Birthday
  • 2001 Queen Victoria Centenary
  • 2002 Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II
  • 2002 Queen Mother Memorial
  • 2003 50th Anniversary of Coronation
  • 2004 Entente Cordiale Centenary
  • 2005 Bicentenary of Battle of Trafalgar and Admiral Nelson (2 coins)
  • 2006 Queen's 80th Birthday
  • 2007 Diamond Wedding of Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
  • 2008 60th Birthday of the Prince of Wales.
  • 2008 450th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth I.
  • 2009: The 500th anniversary of the accession of Henry VIII.
  • 2011: The 90th birthday of Prince Phillip

Fifty Pence

  • 1973 Joining EEC
  • 1992 EU single market and the British Presidency
  • 1994 D-Day 50th Anniversary
  • 1998 25th Anniversary of joining European Community
  • 1998 50th anniversary of the formation of the National Health Service
  • 2000 Centenary of the Public Libraries Act 1850
  • 2003 Centenary of the Women's Social and Political Union (the Suffragettes).
  • 2004 50th anniversary of the first Four-minute mile by Roger Bannister.
  • 2005 250th anniversary of the publication of Samuel Johnson's first English Dictionary
  • 2006 150th anniversary of the creation of the Victoria Cross. (two coins)
  • 2007 Centenary of the Scout Movement
  • 2009 250th anniversary of the foundation of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew
  • 2011 Fiftieth anniversary of the World Wildlife Fund

Two Pounds


  • 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh
  • 1989 Tercentenary of the Bill of Rights 1689
  • 1989 Tercentenary of the Claim of Right Act 1689
  • 1994 Tercentenary of Bank of England
  • 1995 50th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War
  • 1995 50th Anniversary of the United Nations
  • 1996 Tenth European Football Championship


  • 1999 Rugby World Cup
  • 2001 Centenary - Guglielmo Marconi's successful transatlantic wireless transmission
  • 2002 XVII Commonwealth Games in Manchester (4 coins)
  • 2003 50th Anniversary of Discovery of the structure of DNA
  • 2004 Bicentenary - Richard Trevithick - First Railway Locomotive
  • 2005 400th Anniversary of Gunpowder Plot
  • 2005 60th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War
  • 2006 Isambard Kingdom Brunel (2 coins), showing respectively Clifton Suspension Bridge and Paddington Station.
  • 2007 Bicentenary - Abolition of the Slave Trade
  • 2007 Tercentenary - Acts of Union 1707
  • 2008 100th anniversary of the 1908 Summer Olympics in London
  • 2009 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of publication of The Origin of Species
  • 2009 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns.
  • 2011 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.
  • 2011 500th anniversary of the Mary Rose.
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