Find out how much the 2000 Public Libraries 50p is worth

The 2000 Public Libraries Act 50p has been in circulation for almost 22 years yet it is a commemorative 50 pence coin that you can still find in your change today. With it's unique and eye catching design, it is easily distinguishable in your change.

If you are a proud owner of the Public Libraries Act 50p coin, you would be delighted to know that this coin has a glorious history. The Royal Mint introduced the coin in 2000 in commemoration of the Public Libraries Act of 1850, which was one of the first actions ever taken to promote universal education.

Read on to learn more about the Public Libraries Act 50p coin's rich history, design, rarity, and value today. If you want to learn why this coin sells for almost three times face value then continue reading this article as we explore the mintage and design of the coin.

History of the Coin

The Public Libraries Act 50p coin is aptly named after what it commemorates – the Public Libraries Act of 1850. This Act gave the green light to the local councils to establish free libraries for the public in an attempt to promote free global education. These libraries would be accessible by everyone, no matter their background, social class, education level, etc. Charles Dickens, the world-famous author, greatly supported this Act.

The year 2000 marked the 150th Anniversary of the Public Libraries Act. To commemorate its significance, The Royal Mint introduced the 50p coin.

A part of the reason why this Act and this coin have so much significance is that there was a huge backlash against the Act due to fears that free libraries would increase the amount of taxes that the public paid.

Some also argued that there was no need for libraries when literature was not even popular and the quality of the literature was poor. However, the Act was still passed.

As of 2022, there are over 3,667 public libraries (including mobile libraries) in the UK. These libraries pave the way for better education in society and allow people to socialize with like-minded people and learn more.

Design of the Coin

The Public Libraries Act 50p coin was designed by Mary Milner Dickens, who is a popular artist and designer well-known for designing many other coins including the 1992 1993 Dual Date 50p coin. As you can see, the coin has an open book sculpted on it with its pages turning over.

The book is placed on top of a library, and the coin is inscribed with 1850 and 2000 on its top, with the words 'Public Libraries' below the open book and '50 Pence' on its right.

The obverse side of the coin has a portrait of Her Majesty the Queen.

This portrait was taken by Ian Rank-Broadley and is featured on all the 50p coins that were released between 1998 to 2015.

The date 2000 is included on the obverse along with the inscription ELIZABETH II · D · G · REG · F · D · 2000

Denomination 50p
Year 2000
Weight 8.00g
Diameter 27.30mm
Reverse Designer Mary Milner-Dickens
Obverse Designer Ian Rank-Broadley
Metal Cupro-Nickel
Mintage 11,263,000

Mintage of the Coin

The new smaller size 50p coin in the UK was released in 1997, and three years later, the Royal Mint, released the Public Libraries Act 50p coin to commemorate the Act. The mintage, confirmed by the Royal Mint, of the Public Libraries Act 50p coins is 11,263,000.

The Public Libraries Act 50p was the only commemorative 50p released in 2000. The other 50p released into circulation in 2000 was the standard-issue Britannia 50p. The Britannia 50p was released each year between 1997 and 2008, before being replaced by the Royal Shield design in 2012.

This mintage, in commemorative coin terms is quite high, given that the Kew Gardens 50p had a mintage of just 210,000. Similar mintages of commemorative coins include the 2004 Roger Bannister 50p and the 2017 Tom Kitten 50p.

Even though the coin has been in circulation for more than two decades now, it is still very common and can be found in your change on a regular basis. Likewise, because it has been in circulation for so long, many would have been lost, taken out of circulation by collectors or damaged.

As well as the 11 million released into general circulation, the Royal Mint also released this coin in premium finishes for coin collectors. The most common of which is the First Day Cover finish with 35,000 coins minted, Silver Proof with 25,000 coins minted, and Silver Proof Piedfort with 10,000 coins minted.

The rare versions include the Proof finish with 5,700 coins minted and the Gold Proof finish with only 2,000 coins minted.

Is the Public Libraries Act 50p Coin Rare?

As mentioned above, with a mintage of more than 11 million coins, this commemorative coin is definitely not a rare one. In fact, it is pretty common, and you could easily find it as change in your pocket, so in relative terms it is not a rare fifty pence coin.

How Much Is a Public Libraries Act 50p Coin Worth Today?

The Public Libraries Act 50p coin is not as rare as most older coins are. The coin is still very common despite being in circulation for two decades. That said, coin collectors have bought it from platforms like eBay for as high as £2.50 excluding postage. So it is rare enough to make some extra money by selling it and above face value.

As always, it depends on condition and don't forget sellers will need to add on postage and packing and also profit for themselves.

Where Can I Buy the Public Libraries Act 50p Coin?

If you are looking for a unique commemorative coin to add to your collection, the 2000 Public Libraries 50p is a great option and you can buy it here

Online market places such as eBay and Amazon have coins available, but as always, check out the seller, the listing description, the cost of postage and packaging, photos and do as much research before buying.

The Royal Mint has an online shop where you can buy various coins in circulated, uncirculated, silver proof and gold proof condition, but as it has been so long since this coin was released, they no longer stock the 2000 Public Libraries 50p coin.

1 comment

Glynis K Evans

Glynis K Evans

I have a 1850 2000 public library 50 pence piece. What is it worth?

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