1973 UK's accession to the European Economic Community 50p



Issued 1973
Diameter 30mm
Weight 13.5g
Composition 75% copper, 25% nickel (referred to as cupro-nickel)
Obverse Arnold Machin
Reverse David Wynne
Edge Plain
Inscription 1973 50 PENCE
Mintage 89,775,000
Original drawing showing ten hands The released design with nine hands  

Design details:

The 1973 50p piece was the very first commemorative coin since decimalisation. It was introduced to celebrate the UK's accession to the European Economic Community. It features nine hands clasping each other in a circle, symbolising the nine member states of the community, One hand is notably smaller than the other eight. One of the original designs showed a different inscription and ten hands, when David Wynne was preparing designs one of the early options was a ring of ten hands rather than the nine that subsequently appeared as the approved design. In the time between the idea of the coin being proposed and its eventual issue, the expected number of members was reduced from ten to nine by the withdrawal of Norway.

David therefore had to amend his design accordingly. He had used as models hands to which he could readily refer: his own, those of his wife and one of his sons, those of a craftsman who assisted in his studio and those of a girl who helped look after his children.
One of the girl's hands was omitted and, being more delicate than the others, the one that remains is conspicuous. The girl's hand does not represent any particular member of the Community, thatís the official word on it.