The Royal Mint releases the London 2012 sports collection of 50p coins designed by the Nation

From: The Royal Mint
Published: Tue Nov 30 2010

The Royal Mint is releasing a series of coins designed by members of the British public. Depicting the power and passion of the world's greatest sporting event, the 50p coins showcase each of the 29 Olympic and Paralympic sports to be contested during London 2012.

Set to become a long lasting legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the London 2012 sports collection will also inspire a new generation of collectors, as part of London 2012's official range of merchandise.

Almost 30,000 designs were submitted to the Royal Mint following the launch of a public competition in January 2009. After months of debate and consultation the final 29 London 2012 Olympics 50p coin designs were chosen anonymously by a panel made up of independent experts, representatives of the Royal Mint, London 2012 and the International Olympic Committee.

The winners come from a diverse range of professions, backgrounds and locations across the country, including a policeman from Manchester, a delivery driver from Reading, a radiologist from Stoke, a bank clerk from Preston, a part time chef from Cornwall, an agronomist from Yorkshire and a 75 year old retired social worker from Derby.

The collection also makes history by featuring designs from a 10 year old schoolgirl from Bristol and a 16 year old student from Pembrokeshire; the first child and teenager to design a circulating coin of the realm.

Since its introduction 41 years ago when decimalisation was established, only 16 designs have featured on the nation's 50p. The 29 London 2012 coins appearing in 2010 and 2011 represent the biggest, concurrent range of designs the Royal Mint has ever featured on a circulating coin. And like every UK coin in use today, each design also had to obtain final approval from the Treasury and Her Majesty the Queen.

Dave Knight, the Royal Mint's director of commemorative coin, said: "Every one of our twenty nine winners is making history. Their coins will become treasured mementos of the biggest sporting event to happen on UK shores in a generation, and will be around for generations to come.

"Every coin captures the spirit, excitement and passion of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. In isolation each is a work of art, together they are an inspirational portrait of a sporting phenomenon. The Royal Mint is immensely proud to be part of London 2012 and we're thrilled that this competition has enabled ordinary people to play a part too."

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe said: "Coins are a part of the fabric of our daily life, so to have a range of coins designed specifically to celebrate London 2012 is a huge honour, made all the more special by the fact that members of the public have designed them. The 50p's will be part of a long-lasting, wide-reaching cultural legacy that will benefit the entire nation and I'm looking forward to finding the first one in my change and collecting the entire range."

About the Royal Mint:
The Royal Mint has a history dating back over 1,100 years. By the late thirteenth century the organisation was based in the Tower of London, and remained there for over 500 years. By 1812, the Royal Mint had moved out of the Tower to premises on London's Tower Hill. In 1967 the building of a new Royal Mint began on its current site in Llantrisant, South Wales.

The Royal Mint produces a number of different items including gold coins, silver coins, Doctor Who medals and new 2011 coins.

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