British ’50p’ marks 2022 Commonwealth Games

The U.K.-based Royal Mint has unveiled a 50-pence coin celebrating the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

With a storied history dating to 1930, the Commonwealth Games stands among the world’s largest sporting events. Neatly scheduled between the Summer Olympic years, the quadrennial Commonwealth Games has a similar legacy of athletic excellence covering an array of sports with top athletes from across the Commonwealth nations.

This year, the Commonwealth Games will return to England for the third time in its history. More than 5,000 athletes from 72 Commonwealth nations will participate in 280 events across 20 sports in Birmingham, which has never hosted these Games. The motto for Birmingham 2022 is “Games for Everyone,” with a focus on inclusivity—an outlook backed by the largest female and para-sport program in the event’s 92-year history.

Featuring a reverse design by Royal Mint product designer Natasha Preece, the new 50-pence coin depicts geometric patterns, including three coloured V-shaped figures, associated with Birmingham 2022.

Natasha Preece, a Royal Mint product designer, produced the new “50p” Commonwealth Games coin with a reverse design featuring geometric patterns associated with Birmingham 2022.

“Working in the Royal Mint’s product design team, a lot of the coins that we model are for other artists,” Preece is quoted as saying on the mint’s website. “It’s really exciting when you win a design competition as you get to follow your own coin design all the way through the production process. It is really lovely to see my idea go from a drawing on my iPad to a fully struck coin in different metals. I knew this coin would be a memento for a lot of people attending the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games as well as those watching on TV, which made the project all the more exciting.”

Her first move when designing the coin was creating a mood board “of everything and anything that related to the sporting events at the Commonwealth Games and the city of Birmingham,” Preece added.

“Once I finished my research, I then moved on to the actual design. I tend to have the ‘rule of three’ when designing; I pick three elements per concept and focus on the layout and how the elements fit best into a ’50p’ shape. After creating initial designs, I showed my designs to the Product Design team to get their feedback and opinions. I really enjoy this part of the process, discussing the designs with the team and thinking of ways to make the design stronger. The three elements in this design are the text, the library pattern and the Commonwealth Games emblem.”


This year’s Commonwealth Games mark the event’s third time in England and first time in Birmingham.

The Birmingham 2022 organizing committee unveiled the event’s official medals in May.

The three students, along with dozens of others, individually entered a competition organized by the School of Jewellery and the Birmingham 2022 team. Amber Alys led the medal design team while Francesca Wilcox and Catarina Rodrigues Caeiro also helped design the medal’s ribbon and box.

“The exquisite, jewel-like medals have been designed by three students from Birmingham’s School of Jewellery,” according to a statement from the organizers. “The designers took inspiration from the journey that athletes take to reach their goal of competing at the Games, and so embossed areas, symbolizing an aerial map of the host region’s road and canal network, have been included as a key feature of the design.”

Toye, Kenning and Spencer manufactured the medals in Birmingham’s world-renowned Jewellery Quarter, a location included on the Birmingham 2022 marathon route (and just a stone’s throw away from Arena Birmingham, one of the event’s venues).

To read more about the medal, click here.

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