Also known as the Fourth Reform Act, the Representation of the People Act of February 6, 1918 marked a radical change for British women.
This act was the first to give all men over 21 years old the active and passive voting right, but only women over 30 who held £5 of property, or had husbands who did.
It extended the franchise by 5.6 million men and 8.4 million women, and legislated a number of new practices in elections, including making residency in a specific constituency the basis of the right to vote.
It was a landmark step on the road to equal representation and to the rights we enjoy today. This 50p coin marked the centenary of the Act and was released into circulation in 2018, to commemorate 100 years since the Act was passed.
Have you found this coin in your change?
History of the coin
The 1918 Representation of the People’s Act 50p was introduced in 2018 and is an iconic 50p that you will have no doubt come across in your change. But how much is it worth today, and is it a rare coin?
The Representation of the People Act improved the electoral system, allowing more people to vote. The Act was introduced because of World War I, as it was evident that reform was necessary since many soldiers couldn't vote upon returning to England.
Moreover, the growing pressure from advocates for women's rights led to an opportunity for implementing change.
The Bill was passed by majority vote in the House of Commons in June 1917. Royal Assent was then given in February the following year.
Although women were not given electoral equality until 1928, the 1918 Representation of the People Act was considered a significant step towards equality.
The act allowed women over 30 with property or marriage ties to vote, as well as all men over 21. This added 9.2 million female voters and 4.5 million male voters, marking a significant shift in British politics.
A major result of the law was that women could now sit in the House of Commons, marking a historic milestone. Nancy Astor made history in December 1918 when she was elected as MP for Plymouth Sutton, becoming the first woman to sit in the House of Commons.
Design of the 2018 Representation of the People Act 50p coin
The cupro-nickel form of the coin has a plain edge, is 27.3mm in diameter, weighs 8g, and is 1.78mm thick.
The coin's reverse design, by Stephen Taylor, draws inspiration from posters of the year the act was passed, portraying figures queuing to vote as seen above.
Both males and females are seen in the queue, honoring the Act and its accomplishments. This coin is easily noticeable in your change, so it's worth checking out.
Royal Mint Graphic Designer Stephen Taylor, said of the coin: “My design uses the familiar idea of a British queue, to suggest a line of people waiting to cast their votes at the ballot box. I began with the strong, celebratory pose of the woman holding her ballot aloft, followed by the soldier, the working-class man and the suffragette.
I paid careful attention to their poses and clothing, showing the different classes of society finally being given a political voice after years of struggling to be heard.”
Helen Antrobus of the People’s History Museum, Manchester said, “It’s really great to see a Representation of the People Act 1918 50p amongst the new coin designs for 2018. I wish it were possible for all of us to carry one in our pockets to carry forward that message of equality first started by the Act 100 years ago, reminding us that we still have work to do.”
The year 1918 is featured at the top of the coin in the centre, with the words REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE ACT written around the voters.
Collectable editions of the coin were also available from The Royal Mint, in finishes ranging from Brilliant Uncirculated to precious metal gold and silver proof. Circulating coins bearing the design are likely to be seen in circulation later this year.
The obverse features the fifth portrait of Her Majesty the Queen as designed by Jody Clark.
On the obverse side, running continuously around the effigy is the monarch's legend and the date: ELIZABETH II · D · G · REG · FD · D · 50 PENCE 2018.
Translated from Latin: Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen, Defender of the Faith, followed by the value and denomination in English.
In small letters below the head, the artist's initials J.C for Jody Clark.
Jody Clark was the youngest person to design the monarch’s profile on this currency at the age of just 33. Jody Clark was also the first Royal Mint employee to design a UK definitive coin portrait in more than 100 years.
He had only been working at the Royal Mint for about two years prior. The new design would be the first time her portrait had been changed in 17 years.
Jody Clark’s design was unveiled in 2015 as the fifth definitive coinage portrait of Her Majesty and the fourth portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in circulation.
Mintage of the 2018 Representation of the People Act 50p Coin
The 2018 Representation of the People Act 50p coin was released in 2018 and had a mintage of 9 million.
Unfortunately, a mintage of 9,000,000 is quite high, and although it can be very hard to estimate how many coins are actually left in circulation, we can still assume that the Representation of the People Act 50p is not particularly rare to find in your change.
Is the 2018 Representation of the People Act 50p Coin Rare?
Regrettably, a mintage of 9,000,000 is seen as fairly substantial for a 50p coin, so the 2018 Representation of the People Act 50p isn't regarded as particularly rare.
The rarity of the 2018 Representation of the People Act 50p coin also affects its value. The Royal Mint released 9,000,000 of these coins into circulation, making them relatively common.
Additionally, there are certain variations of the coin that are even rarer and more sought after by collectors. These include coins with errors or special designs. If you happen to have one of these rare variations, its value could be much higher than the average.
The 2018 Representation of the People Act 50p coin was also released in different versions including Brilliant Uncirculated Packs, Silver proof versions, silver proof piedfort versions and also gold proof versions
Also, given the popularity of Historical events and equality, the coin is still highly sought after. The 2018 Representation of the People Act 50p can still be found in your change and as collectors are adding them to their collections, the coin is becoming more scarce.
How much is the 2018 Representation of the People Act 50p worth today?
The value of the 2018 Representation of the People Act 50p coin can vary depending on a few factors. The condition of the coin, its rarity, and the demand among collectors all play a role in determining its worth.
As of 2023, the average value of a circulated Peoples Act 50p coin is around £2.50. However, if you have a coin in excellent condition or a rare variation, its value could be significantly higher.
Where Can I Buy the 2018 Representation of the People Act 50p Coin?
If you're interested in adding the 2018 Representation of the People Act 50p coin to your collection, there are a few places you can look. You can start by checking with local coin dealers or visiting coin shows and exhibitions.
You can buy it from us by clicking here.
Unfortunately, as this coin is now 5 years old, the Royal Mint no longer stocks this coin so it is only available to buy on the secondary market.
The 2018 Representation of the People Act coin commemorates both an icon in British literature and one of the most beloved detectives in history.
Are there any known errors of this coin?
The Royal Mint has not confirmed any error versions of the 2018 Representation of the People Act.
Bit of Trivia...
It was not until 1969 that the Representation of the People Act extended the vote to men and women over 18.