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|2009 Royal Mint competition|
27; see below for details
- "This is an amazing opportunity for the whole nation to be a part of London 2012 in a lasting, memorable way."
- ―Jonathan Edwards
The Royal Mint of the United Kingdom held a competition from January to April 24, 2009 that allowed the public to submit designs for 29 different commemorative 50 pence coins for the then-upcoming 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, both of which were held at London. Each of the winning designs would represent a different sport, and would later be featured on the reverses of a number of 50 pence coins in the United Kingdom.
One design competition, specifically held for children between the ages of six and twelve, was held by the children's television show Blue Peter, while another was exclusively held for secondary school and college students. The coin designed through the Blue Peter competition was for the sport of athletics, while the one designed by secondary school students was for cycling. The coins for the remaining 27 sports could be designed by anyone of at least 13 years of age.
Once the duration of the competition had ended, a committee consisting of a handful of public officials selected the most well-designed coins from each category between May and October, 2009. From there, they would be sent to Queen Elizabeth II for approval. Most of the approved designs first appeared on circulation coinage in the United Kingdom in 2011, excluding the athletics coin, which was first issued in 2009 and later reissued in 2011.
The Royal Mint competition was officially launched during January 2009 with the flipping of a massive 50 pence coin in Trafalgar Square, London, an event attended by gold-winning Olympian, Jonathan Edwards, who was also appointed as a member of the design committee for the Olympic and Paralympic commemorative coins. All eligible designs were sent in by April 24 of the same year, one of which, the design for the athletics coin, was first issued on circulation coinage in 2009. The remaining 28 designs appeared on the reverses of 50 pence coins in 2011.
In order to be eligible for the competition, all applicants needed to be at least thirteen years of age, excluding primary school students between six and twelve years old who were eligible to compete via Blue Peter. Anyone between thirteen and nineteen years of age could enter the Secondary Schools and Colleges Competition by registering with their school or college, but were also permitted to take part in the general competition held by the Royal Mint. Individuals residing in countries outside of the United Kingdom were not permitted to enter.
A template for the coin could be downloaded upon registering for the competition, which already featured the Olympic or Paralympic logo and the coin's value, two objects that could not be removed in order for the design to be eligible. Entries could not feature a recognizable image of any known athlete, the Olympic rings or Paralympic agitos anywhere other than the logo, or any sort of identifying marks or initials. All final designs had to be submitted using the aforementioned template. An individual could send in more than one design.
Each applicant that designed an approved coin received a gold specimen and a proof specimen of the coin featuring their design, as well as having their abilities recognized on national currency and receiving a £1500 prize per each design submitted. All winning applicants were notified of their design's approval during November 2009.
- Main article: British 50 pence coin/Commemorative coins
Several applicants' designs were considered by a public committee, but ultimately, those of 27 individuals were selected to be approved for use on coinage. Jonathan Olliffe and Natasha Ratcliffe were the only applicants who submitted two designs that were selected.