Introducing the Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary 50p Coin
‘A Dictionary of the English Language’ was written by Samuel Johnson, a very talented English scholar and writer. Published in 1755, the work became an impressive symbol of scholarship by one individual. Unlike prior dictionaries, Samuel had created a plan on how to organise the words methodically and also included examples word use through quotes from literary classics. The plan attracted the patronage of the 4th Earl of Chesterfield, Philip Stanhope. The physical book is generally large at 46cm tall and 51 cm wide and the paper itself was of high quality, greatly increasing the price of the work. This seminal work would become the reference tome for authors like Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde.
Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary 2005 50p
To celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Dictionary’s publication, the Royal Mint released this coin in 2005. Designed by Tom Phillips, the Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary 50p coin’s design features an assortment of entries from Johnson’s dictionary, including ‘Fifty Pence,’ ‘Saxon’, and ‘plural of penny.’ That’s why the Dictionary 50p is also known, informally, as the Plural of Penny 50p and the Saxon 50p. Stamped at the bottom of the coin is the shorter title for the work, ‘Johnson’s Dictionary’ and the year of its publication.
(Caption: Title page from the Second Edition of Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary)
How Much is the Johnsons Dictionary 50p Coin Worth?
The Royal Mint ultimately issued about 17.7 million of the Fifty Pence 50p. It’s a very common coin to find. For a single, presumably circulated coin, the highest price on eBay was £4.24 as of 2019.
Other Versions of the Dictionary Coin
The Royal Mint also issued Gold Proof (mintage 1,100), Silver Proof (mintage 6,500), Silver Proof Piedfort (mintage 3,800), and Brilliant Uncirculated versions of the 50p.
In 2009, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 50p, the Royal Mint also reissued the Dictionary 50p in Proof strike, found only in sets.
(75% copper, 25%
|Obverse Designer||Portrait of Her Majesty the Queen
2005 – Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS
|Reverse Designer||Tom Phillips|