The Royal Mint, in collaboration with the Natural History Museum, has launched a commemorative coin collection celebrating fossil hunter and pioneering palaeontologist Mary Anning (1799–1847).

This is the second coin collection that features prehistoric creatures and is entitled “Tales of the Earth.” Featuring a design by palaeo-artist Robert Nicholls who specialises in producing anatomically accurate reconstructions of natural history specimens, this 50p coin was designed with the expert guidance of the Earth Sciences Department of the Natural History Museum. Available as a gold and silver Proof, colour-printed silver Proof, colour-printed Brilliant Uncirculated exclusive to The Royal Mint and standard Brilliant Uncirculated edition, it’s a fitting tribute to one of Britain’s greatest fossil hunters, Mary Anning (1799–1847) who became known around the world for finds she made in Jurassic marine fossil beds in the cliffs along the English Channel at Lyme Regis in the county of Dorset in Southwest England. Anning's findings contributed to changes in scientific thinking about prehistoric life and the history of the Earth. Her discoveries included the first correctly identified ichthyosaur skeleton; the first two nearly complete plesiosaur skeletons; the first pterosaur skeleton located outside Germany; and fish fossils.

After her death in 1847, Anning's unusual life story attracted increasing interest. Charles Dickens wrote an article about Anning's life in February 1865 in his literary magazine All the Year Round. In 2010 the Royal Society included Anning in a list of the ten British women who have most influenced the history of science.


The fifth crowned portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II facing right, wearing the George IV State Diadem and drop earrings.

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.

Engraver: Jody Clark



Depicts a Temnodontosaurus and its skull between Mesozoic plants. The designer's initials RN (for Robert Nicholls) on the right.

Temnodontosaurus (Greek for “cutting-tooth lizard” - temno, meaning “to cut”, odont meaning “tooth” and sauros meaning “lizard”) is an extinct genus of ichthyosaurs from the Early Jurassic, ranging between 200 and 175 million years ago (Hettangian - Toarcian), and known from Europe (England, France, Germany and Belgium) and Chile. They lived in the deeper areas of the open ocean.

Temnodontosaurus was one of the largest ichthyosaurs. Estimates of the maximum length of Temnodontosaurus have ranged from 9 m (29.5 ft) to 12 m (39 ft). The largest length estimates rival those of another giant ichthyosaur, Shonisaurus popularis, which was previously considered the largest ichthyosaur. Temnodontosaurus is known for its incredibly large eyes which, at approximately 20 cm (8 in) in diameter, are believed to be the largest of any known animal.

The first ichthyosaur skull ever discovered was that of Temnodontosaurus platyodon. The specimen (BMNH 2149) was found in the Lias of Lyme Regis by Joseph Anning in 1811. The rest of the skeleton was recovered in 1812 by his sister, Mary Anning, but has been lost since.



50 Pence

5th portrait, Gold Proof Coin
Type Commemorative Issue (Non-circulating)
Material Gold
Fineness 0.916
Weight 15.5 g
Diameter 27.3 mm
Thickness -
Shape polygon
Sides 7
Alignment Medal
Royal Mint

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