If you're a collector of Royal Mint 50p coins, you will know the 1998 EU 50p coin as one of the most popular commemorative coins. This beautiful piece has been labelled as the EU Stars fifty pence coin since it was minted to commemorate the UK's 25th anniversary of joining the European Economic Community (EEC). The 'UK entry to the EEC 50p coin' has a distinctive appearance and is a beautiful coin.
Its intricate design sets it apart from other coins and is sure to impress any collector.
In this blog post, we will discuss this commemorative 50p coin's history, design, mintage, and worth. We'll also provide information on where to find it for sale online.
Just an aside, the European Union has been commemorated four times so far on UK 50p coins. The UK's joining of the EEC in 1973 was celebrated with the minting of a commemorative 50p coin, which was the older style, bigger fifty pence coin which had a mintage of 89,775,000.
Then the Royal Mint also chose to mark another auspicious event of the EU back in 1992/1993: the UK's presidency of the Council of Ministers and the Single European Market completion, represented on the 1992 / 1993 Dual Date 50p, which is the rarest 50p to have been circulated with a mintage of just 109,000, lower than the Kew Gardens 50p by an amazing 101,000.
Next was the 1998 EU 50p which was one of the first 50p coin designs featuring the new size of 50p along with the 1998 NHS 50p coin, both had just over 5 million minted.
Finally, a Brexit 50p was commissioned In January 2020, the Royal Mint issued a special 50p coin bearing the inscription ‘Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations’ and is widely known as the Brexit 50p.
1998 EU 50p History
1998 marked the 25th anniversary of the UK entering the EEC. To commemorate this milestone, a special 50p coin was minted and released into circulation that we know as the EU stars 50p today. It was also one of the first 50p coins with a lighter and smaller specification.
The 1998 European Union 50 pence coin was commissioned to commemorate 25 years since Britain and Ireland joined the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973, hence the inscriptions on the obverse design.
As mentioned above, a 50p was released in 1973 to commemorate the year that Britain and Ireland joined the European Economic Community 50p. The EEC was formed in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome, founding members were West Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Britain and Ireland joined in 1973.
In 1993, as a result of the Maastricht Treaty, the EEC would be renamed the European Community (EC) in order to reflect the achievement of a complete single market known as the internal market, which allowed for the free movement of goods, capital, services, and people within the EEC.
The Design of the 1998 EU 50p Coin
The 1998 EU 50p's impressive reverse design shows a group of twelve stars, representing the twelve golden stars on the European flag, shooting in to the sky in celebration. The number 12 is not the number of countries in the EU, it is used because it is a symbol of perfection.
The letters 'EU' are inscribed between the anniversary years 1973 and 1998, and the value 50 PENCE is at the bottom of the 50p coin.
The designer's initials JM, for well known sculptor John Mills, can be seen under a star ray on the left. Mills has worked on several other commemorative coins for the Royal Mint over the years and created some amazing designs.
The obverse features the fourth portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The Queen is wearing the famous tiara from the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland, which Her Majesty's grandmother gifted to her in 1947.
Below the Queen's head are the designer's initials IRB for Ian Rank-Broadley. The inscription around the effigy says ELIZABETH · II · D · G REG · F · D · 1998.
Different Versions of the Coin
Different versions of the coin were also released for coin hunters. A total of 8,859 Silver Proof versions of the coins were minted along with 10,000 Silver Proof Piedforts and 1,177 Gold Proof 50p coins being minted.
Other names for this 50p Coin
As per the Royal Mint, the actual design of the coin is officially called the EU 50p, but, like all the European Union 50p coins, with their title and what they represent plus their varied design, collectors may call it by different names:
- EU stars 50p – simply due to the stars on the reverse design.
- 50p with stars - as above
- 1973 to 1998 50p – referring to the dates shown on the inscription towards the bottom of the 50p's reverse design.
If you see any of these names online, they are referring to the 1998 EU 50p.
How much is the 1998 EU stars 50p worth?
So the big question, how much is the EU 50p coin worth. Looking at the most recent online sales figures, we can see the 1998 EU 50p coin in circulated condition is worth around £3 to £4 plus postage. So it is 6-7 times above face value and you can still find this coin in your change today. If you find one, keep hold of it.
How rare is the 1998 EU 50p coin?
The EU 50p has a mintage of 5,043,000, so like the 1998 NHS 50p it's kind of middle of the road and considered a fairly common coin to find. Being one of the earlier commemorative 50p coins and the inherent interest in historical events and the recent political landscape this is a very popular coin and a great coin to add to your collection.
Where Can You Buy the 1998 EU stars 50p coin?
If you are looking for a unique commemorative coin to add to your collection, the 1998 EU 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, 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 1998 EU stars 50p coin.