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Historic New 50p Coins To Mark London Olympics

The Royal Mint is issuing a new set of 50p coins celebrating the London Olympic and Paralympic Games in 21 months’ time.

For the first time in the Mint’s 1,100-year history, the coins have been designed by members of the public.

There are 29 designs altogether – one for each of the different sports that will feature in 2012.

As well as Olympic favourites like sailing, swimming and basketball, they show lesser-known sports such as goalball and boccia.

All the designs have been approved by the Queen and the Treasury.

A total of 87 million Olympic coins will enter circulation, so there should be more than enough to go round, says the Mint.

There was no shortage of contestants wanting to make their mark on Britain’s currency heritage.

More than 30,000 designs were submitted earlier this year after the design competition was announced.

The winners come from across the UK and include a policeman from Manchester (MNCS.OB – news) , a London journalist and a retired social worker from Derby.

They were chosen by a panel of independent experts and representatives from the Royal Mint, London 2012 and the International Olympic Committee.

A spokesman for the Mint said: “The release of the 29 Olympic 50ps is the largest simultaneous range of designs (we have) ever featured on a circulating coin.

“Since the 50 pence piece was introduced 41 years ago, when decimalisation was established, only 16 designs have ever featured on the heptagonal coin.”