• 50 Pence 2000-2009, KM# 1004, United Kingdom (Great Britain), Elizabeth II, 150th Anniversary of the Public Libraries Act 1850
  • 50 Pence 2000-2009, KM# 1004, United Kingdom (Great Britain), Elizabeth II, 150th Anniversary of the Public Libraries Act 1850
Description

The Public Libraries Act 1850 (13 & 14 Vict c.65) was an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament which first gave local boroughs the power to establish free public libraries. The Act was the first legislative step in the creation of an enduring national institution that provides universal free access to information and literature, and was indicative of the moral, social and educative concerns of the time. The legacy of the Act can be followed through subsequent legislation that built on and expanded the powers granted in 1850 and the 4,145 public libraries that exist in the United Kingdom in the 21st century can trace their origins back to this Act.

The 2009 Proof strike was issued in sets to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 50 pence denomination.

Obverse

Fourth crowned portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II facing right, wearing the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara.

The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara was a wedding present in 1947 from her grandmother, Queen Mary, who received it as a gift from the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland in 1893 on the occasion of her marriage to the Duke of York, later George V. Made by E. Wolfe & Co., it was purchased from Garrard & Co. by a committee organised by Lady Eve Greville. In 1914, Mary adapted the tiara to take 13 diamonds in place of the large oriental pearls surmounting the tiara. At first, Elizabeth wore the tiara without its base and pearls but the base was reattached in 1969. The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara is one of Elizabeth's most recognisable pieces of jewellery due to its widespread use on British banknotes and coinage.

ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA FIDEI DEFENSATRIX means Elizabeth II, by the grace of God, Queen and Defender of the Faith.

Engraver: Ian Rank-Broadley

ELIZABETH·II·D·G REG·F·D·2000
IRB

Reverse

The turning pages of a book, the Anniversary dates "1850" and "2000", and the value "50 PENCE", all above a classical library building on which appear the words "PUBLIC LIBRARIES" and, within the pediment, representations of compact discs.

Engraver: Mary Milner Dickens

·1850·2000·
50
PENCE
·PUBLIC LIBRARIES·
®

Edge
Characteristics
Type Commemorative Issue (Circulating)
Material Cupronickel
Weight 8 g
Diameter 27.3 mm
Thickness 1.78 mm
Shape polygon
Sides 7
Alignment Medal

Related coins

2nd portrait, Entry into European Economic Community

Cupronickel, 13.5 g, ⌀ 30 mm
2nd portrait

Cupronickel, 13.5 g, ⌀ 30 mm
3rd portrait, Large Type

Cupronickel, 13.5 g, ⌀ 30 mm