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2021 Tales of the Earth: Temnodontosaurus Coloured Silver Proof 50 Pence Coin

This is the 2021 Temnodontosaurus Coloured Silver Proof Fifty Pence Coin. The Privy Council have announced that The Royal Mint intend to make a new series of 50p coins celebrating palaeontologist Mary Anning's discoveries: the Temnodontosaurus, Plesiosaurus and Dimorphodon.

We will update this page when we have more information. 


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Mary Anning

Mary Anning was a fossil collector and palaeontologist, best known for her work in discovering Jurassic marine life.

Anning was born in Dorset in 1799. Her father was a carpenter, who would subsidise his income by collecting fossils on the beach and selling them to holidaymakers. When he passed away Mary and her brother continued to hunt for fossils and in 1811 they stumbled across what would become known as an Ichthyosaurus; a large marine animal from the Jurassic period.

Anning continued her work in hunting for fossils and would often search on cliffs during the winter months, especially after landslides which would uncover new fossils. Anning discovered the first skeleton of a Plesiosaur, and a Dimorphodon, which was eventually studied by William Buckland and renamed as the Pterodactyl.

Charles Dickens wrote in an article about Anning's life, "The carpenter's daughter has won a name for herself, and has deserved to win it."


The first skeleton Mary and her brother stumbled across in 1811 was the Temnodontosaur. This was a large marine reptiled which belonged to the ichthyosaur family. 

The reptile was roughly the size of a killer whale - around 9 - 12 metres. They also have the largest eyes of any vertebrate, with a diameter measuring 26.4mm .

Privy Council

We first heard about the coin after the Privy Council published information about it. The Privy Council is made up of senior politicians who advise the Queen on such matters as bank holidays, coinage and lively company statuses. The Royal Mint have to submit any new coin designs to The Privy Council for approval and that information is then announced on the Privy Council website. 


The obverse of the coin will likely feature the Jody Clark portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. The inscription will read:

“· ELIZABETH II · D · G · REG · F · D · 50 PENCE ·” and the date of the year and for the reverse either:


The reverse of the coin will feature:

a design depicting a Temnodontosaurus accompanied by the inscription “TEMNODONTOSAURUS” and “MARY ANNING 1811


Fineness / Carat0.925 Sterling
Obverse DesignerJody Clark
Issuing Monarch Elizabeth II (1952-2022)
Mint / BrandThe Royal Mint
CountryUnited Kingdom
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