2000 Public Libraries Silver Proof Piedfort 50p Coin
These silver proof commemorative coins were issued by The Royal Mint to celebrate the 150th anniversary of British Public Libraries.
These piedfort coins are double the thickness of a standard 50p coin. The coins are struck from 0.925 sterling silver and contain 0.476 troy ounces of the precious metal.
Each coin comes issued in a presentation box, with a certificate of authenticity from The Royal Mint. There were 5,721 of these coins minted.
Up until the end of the nineteenth century, the provision of free libraries depended wholly on the generosity of benefactors like Dick Whittington, who bequeathed a library for public use by the citizens of London. In the main, books were hired from circulating libraries, tobacconists and street hawkers. Edward Edwards was to change all that.
Educated by the Mechanics Institute, a league catering for working men eager for self education, Edwards campaigned passionately for free libraries. His articles impressed Dumfries MP, William Ewart, so much, that an attempt to establish "libraries freely open to the public...in towns in Great Britain and Ireland" was put before Parliament. Despite opposition, their combined efforts bore fruit when in August 1850 the Public Libraries Act received Royal Assent and allowed local councils to fund a "Public Library or Museum of Art and Science or both". For the first time, ordinary people could enjoy free access to the world's storehouse of knowledge and great literature.
Today the public library service lies at the very heart of every community in the United Kingdom, underpinning education and enriching the quality of life. It is perhaps the biggest cultural revolution the nation has seen, a revolution that began with the Public Libraries Act of 1850 and one that is still in full swing.
The Royal Mint, in conjunction with the Library Association, marked the 150th Anniversary of the Act with a commemorative fifty pence coin. The reverse design, created by Mary Milner Dickens, depicts the turning pages of a book above the pediment of a classical library building. The facade is decorated with CDs to give a modern perspective. The obverse features the portrait of the Queen by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS, FSNAD.
Public Library Milestones
The obverse was designed by Ian Rank-Broadley. The text reads:
ELIZABETH II · D · G · REG · F · D · 2000
The reverse design depicts turning pages of a book above the pediment of a classical library building, its facade covered with CDs to give a modern perspective. It was designed by sculptor Mary Milner Dickens.
|Weight / Size
|Silver Weight Troy Ounces
|Fineness / Carat
|Mary Milner Dickens
|Elizabeth II (1952-2022)
|Mint / Brand
|The Royal Mint
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Bullion coins are provided as is and on occasion may have some minor scratches or edge knocks. These are not regarded as faulty or damaged goods as their precious metal content and value as a bullion coin is not affected. Any coin sold for a value less than a 180% intrinsic is considered a bullion coin.
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