The Isaac Newton 50p has Started Going into Circulation

By Tom Pritchard on at

This year marks the 375th anniversary of the birth of Isaac Newton, the famed physicist who gave us calculus, the laws of motion, and an irrational fear of apples falling on our head for no good reason. To commemorate the occasion the Royal Mint has produced a special edition 50p coin, and some of them have started going into circulation.

The downside is that you're not likely to get one of these as change with your morning coffee. Not yet anyway.

At the moment only 375 of the coins have gone into active circulation, all in shops at Newton's birthplace and family home of Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire. The Royal Mint says that more coins will be released into circulation "imminently", but hasn't specified when and where it will happen.

If you just can't wait, the Mint's shop is selling commemorative editions of the coin, with gold and silver proof variants available for ludicrous prices. The regular coin is available for £10.

What some people might not know is that in addition to being a big fan of maths and physics, Newton was also warden of the Royal Mint for over 30 years. He was appointed in 1696 at the age of 53, and in 1717 he wrote a report establishing the gold coin as the UK's foremost currency. This paved the way for what we now call the gold standard.

The 50p coin was designed by Aaron West, one of the Mint's graphic designers, and is the result of a collaboration between the Mint and The National Trust - which owns and maintains Woolsthorpe Manor. [London Evening Standard]


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