• 50 Pence 2004-2009, KM# 1047, United Kingdom (Great Britain), Elizabeth II, 50th Anniversary of the First Four-minute Mile by Roger Bannister
  • 50 Pence 2004-2009, KM# 1047, United Kingdom (Great Britain), Elizabeth II, 50th Anniversary of the First Four-minute Mile by Roger Bannister
Description

Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister (1929-2018) is an English former middle-distance athlete, physician and academic, who ran the first sub-four-minute mile.

In the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Bannister set a British record in the 1500 metres and finished fourth. This strengthened his resolve to be the first 4-minute miler. He achieved this feat on 6 May 1954 at Iffley Road track in Oxford, with Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher providing the pacing. When the announcer, Norris McWhirter, declared "The time was three...", the cheers of the crowd drowned out Bannister's exact time, which was 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. Bannister's record lasted just 46 days. He had reached this record with minimal training, while practising as a junior doctor.

Bannister went on to become a distinguished neurologist and Master of Pembroke College, Oxford, before retiring in 1993. When asked whether the 4-minute mile was his proudest achievement, he said he felt prouder of his contribution to academic medicine through research into the responses of the nervous system.

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

Obverse

Third crowned portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II facing right, wearing the George IV State Diadem.

The George IV State Diadem, officially the Diamond Diadem, is a type of crown that was made in 1820 for King George IV. The diadem is worn by queens and queens consort in procession to coronations and State Openings of Parliament. The piece of jewellery has been featured in paintings and on stamps and currency. It can be seen in the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace.

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

From 1985 to 1991 the head of Queen Elizabeth II was a slightly smaller size. From 1993 to 1997 the head was a slightly larger size. The change over was made part way through 1992 so there are two versions in this year. 1997 has small varieties in design of the portrait.

Engraver: Raphael David Maklouf

ELIZABETH·II·D·G·REG·F·D·2004
IRB

Reverse

The legs of a running athlete with a stylised stopwatch in the background and the value 50 PENCE below.

Engraver: James Butler

50
JB
PENCE

Edge
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$4
Characteristics
Type Commemorative Issue (Circulating)
Material Cupronickel
Weight 8 g
Diameter 27.3 mm
Thickness 1.7 mm
Shape polygon
Sides 7
Alignment Medal
Mint
Royal Mint

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