• 50 Pence 2006-2009, KM# 1057, United Kingdom (Great Britain), Elizabeth II, 150th Anniversary of the Institution of the Victoria Cross, Medal
  • 50 Pence 2006-2009, KM# 1057, United Kingdom (Great Britain), Elizabeth II, 150th Anniversary of the Institution of the Victoria Cross, Medal
Description

The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest award of the United Kingdom honours system. It is awarded for gallantry "in the face of the enemy" to members of the British armed forces. It may be awarded posthumously. It may be awarded to a person of any military rank in any service and to civilians under military command although no civilian has received the award since 1879. Since the first awards were presented by Queen Victoria in 1857, two thirds of all awards have been personally presented by the British monarch. These investitures are usually held at Buckingham Palace.

The VC was introduced on 29 January 1856 by Queen Victoria to honour acts of valour during the Crimean War. Since then, the medal has been awarded 1,358 times to 1,355 individual recipients. Only 15 medals, 11 to members of the British Army, and four to the Australian Army, have been awarded since the Second World War. The traditional explanation of the source of the metal from which the medals are struck is that it derives from Russian cannon captured at the Siege of Sevastopol. Some research has suggested a variety of origins for the material. Research has established that the metal for most of the medals made since December 1914 came from two Chinese cannons that were captured from the Russians in 1855.

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·2006
IRB

Reverse

Depiction of the obverse and reverse of a Victoria Cross with the date 29 JAN 1856 in the centre of the reverse of the Cross, the letters VC to the right and the value FIFTY PENCE below.

The decoration is a bronze cross pattée, bearing the crown of Saint Edward surmounted by a lion, and the inscription FOR VALOUR. This was originally to have been FOR THE BRAVE, until it was changed on the recommendation of Queen Victoria, as it implied that not all men in battle were brave. The cross is suspended by a ring from a seriffed "V" to a bar ornamented with laurel leaves, through which the ribbon passes. The reverse of the suspension bar is engraved with the recipient's name, rank, number and unit. On the reverse of the medal is a circular panel on which the date of the act for which it was awarded is engraved in the centre.

Engraver: Claire Aldridge

29
JAN
1856
CHA
VC
FOR VALOUR
FIFTY
PENCE

Edge
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$3
Characteristics
Type Commemorative Issue (Circulating)
Material Cupronickel
Weight 8 g
Diameter 27.3 mm
Thickness 1.78 mm
Shape polygon
Sides 7
Alignment Medal

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