Australian fifty-cent coin

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Fifty Cents
Value0.50 AUD
Mass15.55 g
Diameter31.65 (across flats [1]) mm
Thickness2.80 mm (maximum) [2]
Composition75% Copper, 25% Nickel
Years of minting1969–present
Catalog number
Australian Fifty Cents Obv.jpg
DesignElizabeth II,
Queen of Australia
DesignerIan Rank-Broadley
Design date1999
Australian 50c Coin.png
DesignAustralian coat of arms
DesignerStuart Devlin
Design date1965

The twelve-sided Australian fifty-cent coin is the third-highest denomination coin of the Australian dollar and the largest in terms of size in circulation. It is the only 12-sided coin of its size in the southern hemisphere. It was introduced in 1969 [3] to replace the round fifty-cent coin issued in 1966.

The original, round, 50-cent coin was made of 80% silver and 20% copper; but as the value of a free-floating silver price became higher, the coin's bullion value became more valuable than its face value; so that version was withdrawn from circulation and replaced with the dodecagonal cupro-nickel version.

It is by diameter the largest Australian coin currently issued and second largest after the Crown of 1937–38. It is also the heaviest Australian coin in common circulation. Many commemorative designs have been issued, the large size allowing for detailed content.

With a diameter of 31.65 mm (1.25 in) across flats,[1] the 50-cent coin is one of the largest in volume among those currently circulating in the world. Coins of larger diameter include the Costa Rican five-hundred-colones and the fifty-CFP Franc, both 32.9 mm.

Five-cent, ten-cent, twenty-cent, and fifty-cent coins are legal tender up to the sum of $5.[4]


As with all coins of Australia, the reigning monarch features on the obverse. Only Elizabeth II has been monarch during the coin's existence.

Unlike other decimal denominations, four different portraits of the queen have been used on 50c coins. A unique effigy by Vladimir Gottwald was used for the 2000 Royal Visit commemorative fifty-cent piece.[5][6] This is the only Australian decimal coin to have an obverse designed by an Australian[7] and to have a portrait of the queen which is not also used on British currency.

The other three portraits have featured on all then-current denominations: from 1966 to 1984 one by Arnold Machin,[8] from 1985 to 1998 one by Raphael Maklouf,[9] and since 1999 a portrait by Ian Rank-Broadley.[10] These portraits were introduced to British coins in 1968, 1985, and 1998 respectively.[11]

Commemorative coins[edit]

The Australian fifty-cent coin was the first to display a variation of the reverse design in 1970 for the commemorating the bicentennial of Lieutenant James Cook's landing in Australia. Various other designs followed until the one-dollar and twenty-cent also included new designs.

Year Subject Mintage
1970 Bicentenary of James Cook’s 1770 Voyage 16,500,000
1977 25th Anniversary of the Accession of Queen Elizabeth II 25,000,000
1981 Marriage of HRH the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer 20,000,000
1982 Brisbane XII Commonwealth Games 49,600,000
1988 Australian Bicentenary 9,000,000
1991 25th Anniversary of Decimal Currency 4,700,000
1994 United Nations International Year of the Family 21,300,000
1995 50th Anniversary of the End of World War 2 - Edward 'Weary' Dunlop 15,900,000
1998 200th Anniversary of the Voyage of Bass and Flinders 22,400,000
2000 Millennium year 16,600,000
Visit of Queen Elizabeth II 5,100,000
2001 Centenary of Federation 43,100,000
Centenary of Federation - ACT 2,000,000
Centenary of Federation - NSW 3,000,000
Centenary of Federation - Norfolk Island 2,200,000
Centenary of Federation - NT 2,100,000
Centenary of Federation - QLD 2,300,000
Centenary of Federation - SA 2,400,000
Centenary of Federation - Tas 2,200,000
Centenary of Federation - Vic 2,800,000
Centenary of Federation - WA 2,400,000
2002 Year of the Outback 11,500,000
2003 Australia’s Volunteers 13,900,000
2004 Primary School Design Competition winner (John Serrano) 10,200,000
2005 60th Anniversary of the End of World War 2 26,600,000
Secondary School Commonwealth Games Design Competition winner (Kelly Just) 20,500,000
2010 Australia Day 11,400,000
2014 50th Anniversary of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies 3,000,000
2016 50th Anniversary of Decimal Currency 6,911,000*
2017 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum / 25th anniversary of the Mabo Decision 1,400,000
"*" denotes partial numbers for 2016 - total production to be confirmed

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b Fifty Cents, Royal Australian Mint
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Australian Coin Collecting Blog - The Complete Guide to Australian 50 Cent Coins".
  4. ^ "RBA Banknotes: Legal Tender". Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Gottwald (2000) - Royal Australian Mint".
  7. ^ "Gottwald (2000) - Royal Australian Mint".
  8. ^ "Machin (1966-1984) - Royal Australian Mint".
  9. ^ "Maklouf (1985-1998) - Royal Australian Mint".
  10. ^ "Rank-Broadley (1999-present) - Royal Australian Mint".
  11. ^ "The five portraits of Her Majesty The Queen". The Royal Mint. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  12. ^ "Fifty Cents". Royal Australian Mint. 8 January 2016. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
Preceded by
Australian 50 cent coin (round)
Fifty Cents (Australian)
Succeeded by