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London 2012 Olympics Coins go into Circulation

For the very first time in the thousand year history of Britain’s Royal Mint, coins designed by the public will go into national circulation.  Approved by the Queen herself and the Treasury, these are the new 50 pence coins specially designed to commemorate the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.  And with more than 87 million of these coins entering into national circulation in the coming year, people will have ample opportunities for collecting the entire set of designs.

Recently, Lord Coe, the London 2012 chairman was quoted as saying that coins are a component of the very fabric of our lives and that it would be a huge honor to have a set of coins designed by members of the British public specifically for celebrating London 2012 Olympics.  He said the 50 p coins were a part of a wide-reaching, long-lasting, cultural legacy benefiting the whole nation and that he was looking forward to collecting the entire coin range.

The reverse side of each of the coins depicts one of 29 sports designed by citizens of England and Wales.  The designs were chosen from around 30,000 entries submitted in a public competition organized by the Royal Mint.  Some of the sports featured on the 50 pence pieces include swimming, sailing, and basketball, as well as lesser-known games such as handball and the Paralympic sport boccia.

The selected designers vary from a Reading delivery driver and a Manchester policeman to a Bristol schoolgirl and a Preston bank clerk.  These lucky winners have the privilege of seeing their designs used in coins meant for public circulation and which like other coins have the approval of the Queen as well as the Treasury.

Children have produced two of the selected designs which have been unveiled already, but have not yet been issued.  Florence Jackson, who hails from Bristol, was only nine when, beating17,000 other entries, she won a BBC One Blue Peter competition last year.  Florence’s high-jump design was the first of the officially approved 50p designs out of the series of 29.  A cyclist in a velodrome was the second winning design by a child, designed by 16 year old Theo Crutchley-Mack, from Halifax.  This was unveiled in 2010.

The newly designed 50 pence coins are in circulation in England and Wales.  And with the London 2012 Olympics drawing closer, the excitement for collecting them is slowly building up.