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Why Sir Isaac Newton Features on a New 50p Coin

Sir Issac Newton is a famous British icon who deserves to be featured proudly on a commemorative 50p coin. Read on to discover the inspiration behind The Royal Mint's 2017 Brilliant Uncirculated, silver and gold coins.

The Pursuit of Truth

Newton was the towering intellectual giant of the 17th Century Scientific Revolution. He changed our understanding of mathematics and physics and redefined the way we understand the Universe. Highly acclaimed in his own lifetime, Newton is best known today for discovering the laws of gravity and motion, set out in Pincipia, and for inventing calculus.

He built the first practical reflecting telescope, and showed how a ray of light is divided into its constituent colours by a prism - a scientific experiement children in schools around the world marvel at. Newton's other work included an empirical law of cooling, the first theoretical calculation of the speed of sound, and the notion of Newtonian fluid. The contributions Newton made to the world was invaluable. No onwder he was President of the Royal Society from 1703 to 1727.

However, a little known fact about Newton is for more than 30 years he played a vital role in the growing stength of The Royal Mint. As Master of the Mint he made a considerable contribution to our coinage and economy, helping to make Britain’s currency one of the most respected and admired in the world.


Master of the Mint

Isaac Newton was appointed warden of The Royal Mint in 1696. He served as warden until 1700 when he was made Master of the Mint - a position he held until his death in 1727.

Newton’s complex and meticulous 1717 report, commonly known as ‘the valuation of the guinea’, was pivotal in establishing gold coin as the pre-eminent currency of the United Kingdom. It suggested setting the gold guinea’s value at 21 shillings, which paved the way for the introduction of the Gold Standard a century later. Thanks to Newton’s vision, Royal Mint coins remain unrivalled in their accuracy and purity to this day.


The 4 January 2018 is the 375th anniversary of the birth of Isaac Newton. What better tribute than a Royal Mint coin?


Isaac Newton Coins Mintage & Specifications



Limited Edition





50p Brilliant Uncirculated Coin

Unlimited Unlimited 50p Cupro-nikel 27.3mm 8g

50p Silver Proof Coin

4,000 7,000 50p .925 silver 27.3mm 8g

50p Silver Proof Piedfort Coin

3,000 4,500 50p .925 silver 27.3mm 16g

50p Gold Proof Coin

500 634 50p .9467 gold 27.3mm 15.5g


 * The Maximum Coin Mintage (MCM) is the maximum number of coins that may be issued by The Royal Mint
 ** The Limited Edition Presentation (LEP) is the maximum number of coins, presented in a specific style, that may be issued


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