- This article is about the Zimbabwean coin issued from 1980 to 2003. For the 2014 bond coin, see Zimbabwean 50 cent coin (bond).
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Zimbabwe Bird, state title, year
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The 50 cent coin is a former circulation piece of the Republic of Zimbabwe, issued in two varieties from 1980 to 2003. The first variety appeared in 1980, shortly after the recognition of Zimbabwe's independence, and continued to be produced until 1997. It was followed by a similar coin in 2001, which differed only in composition and measurements. This second piece was struck very briefly until 2003.
Both varieties were distributed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ). The first was produced at the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Wales, under contract with the RBZ. The second was struck at the Zimbabwe Mint in Bulawayo. Both coins initially carried a legal tender face value of 0.50 Zimbabwean dollars, but they were eventually demonetized after the redenomination of the dollar in 2005.
Pieces struck from 1980 to 1997 are composed of cupronickel and measure 1.88 millimeters in thickness, while later examples are made of a cheaper nickel-plated steel and measure a larger 2.15 millimeters in thickness. In spite of these disparities, both varieties share a mass of 7.5 grams and a diameter of approximately 26 millimeters, and regardless of the year of minting, all Zimbabwean 50 cent pieces have medallic alignment and a plain edge. They are round in shape and bear raised, undecorated rims.
The obverse, designed by English artist Barry Stanton (1943–), features a rendition of the Zimbabwe Bird in its center. A national symbol of Zimbabwe, the bird is shown frequently on the country's heraldry and official works, including its currency. Written above this depiction on the coin, extending clockwise from the left to right rims, is the state title "ZIMBABWE". The Gregorian date of minting appears below the Zimbabwe Bird, curved in a counterclockwise direction at the coin's lower boundary. It is separated from the state title by two diamond-shaped objects, one at the obverse's bottom left periphery, and the other at the bottom right. The reverse, illustrated and engraved by Zimbabwean artist Jeff Huntly (1931–2008), shows a rocky hill with a radiant sun representative of Zimbabwe's independence in the background. At the hill's summit are a balancing rock formation, common in parts of Zimbabwe, and a small group of trees. The image is accompanied on the reverse by the numeral "50", which identifies a face value of 50 cents. This number appears at the top of the coin in a large, serifed font, interrupting some of the sun's rays.
The total mintage of the 50 cent coin is currently unknown. Business strikes exist for all ten years of production, along with 15,000 proofs from 1980 and 5,500 proofs from 1997. All of the proofs were initially included in sets distributed by the Zimbabwean government.
- Numismatic Guaranty Corporation – Zimbabwe 50 Cents KM# 5 (1980–1997) • Zimbabwe 50 Cents KM# 5a (2001–2003)
- Numista – 50 Cents - Zimbabwe (1980–1997) • 50 Cents - Zimbabwe (2001–2003) (English) (French)
- Numismatic Dimensions – Coins of Zimbabwe
- Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe – Mints
- Zimbabwean dollar on the English Wikipedia