Introducing the Isaac Newton 50p Coin
In 2017, to celebrate Isaac Newton’s 375th birthday, the Royal Mint issued a 50p coin. He was born on 25 December 1642 in Woolsthorpe, England and led a life of discovery and passionate curiosity. Along with his work in classical mechanics and optics, he even became Master of the Royal Mint in 1699, a position he held until his death in 1727. One of his most famous contributions was the publication of his book, ‘Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica,’ usually referred to just as ‘Principia’. The book presents his law of motion, law of universal gravitation, and his development of Kepler’s laws of planetary motion.
Isaac Newton 2017 50p
The Isaac Newton 50 pence’s design is an illustration of Proposition 11 found in Book One of ‘Principia’. The proposition describes the properties of bodies that move in shapes like ellipses and how they move in accordance with forces positioned at a central focal point. It helps mathematically describe why planets move in an elliptical orbit.
On the Royal Mint blog, they talked to the designer of the coin, Aaron West, a Royal Mint graphic designer. He elaborates on why he chose this particular mathematical theory for the coin. “The reason I picked this theory is because it worked really well within the lines, the lines go through the centre from the top and middle, that worked really well. One thing that I particularly liked was one of the lines that goes through diagonally, when I did the text it goes through the ‘I’ in Sir Isaac Newton, that was a little thing that worked quite well.”
(Caption: Isaac Newton Portrait by Sir Godfrey Kneller 1689)
How Much is the Isaac Newton 50p Worth?
The Isaac Newton 50p was minted only 1,800,000 times. In terms of mintages, it has the second lowest mintage value for all the commemorative 50 pence coins. (The lowest is the Kew Gardens 50p.) On eBay, as of 2019, the highest price sold was £220.00 for an Isaac Newton coin and Royal Mail First Day Cover pack.
Other Versions of the Isaac Newton 50p Coin
There are other versions of the Isaac Newton 50p coin including Brilliant Uncirculated (mintage of 30,000), Silver Proof (mintage of 7,000), Silver Proof Piedfort (mintage of 4,500), and Gold Proof (mintage of around 600).
Other Isaac Newton Coins
There is also a 2018 version of the coin, but it was not for circulation. The coin was part of the ‘Strike Your Own’ feature during the Royal Mint Experience tour in Wales. These 2018 Isaac Newton 50p coins are only found as Brilliant Uncirculated coins in special packs, with an estimated mintage of 20,000.
This isn’t the first commemorative coin for Isaac Newton. In 2009, the Royal Mint released non-circulating Silver Proof 5-pound coin as part of the celebration for the 2012 London Olympics. Designed by Shane Greeves, the coin feature Eduardo Paolozzi’s sculpture of the scientist with the 2012 Games logo and the quote from William Shakespeare, ‘Make not your thoughts your prisons.’
|Reverse Designer||Aaron West|
|Obverse Designer||Jody Clark|