50p honours fossil hunter Mary Anning


26 February 2021
The Royal Mint, in collaboration with the Natural History Museum, has launched a new commemorative 50p coin celebrating fossil hunter and pioneering palaeontologist Mary Anning, and featuring a depiction of Temnodontosaurus.

The new 50p coins, the second set in The Royal Mint’s ‘Tales of the Earth’ series, are available in gold and in silver colour and non-colour, as well as a special colour printed ‘Brilliant Uncirculated’ edition.

The coin collection shines a light on one of Britain’s greatest fossil hunters, Mary Anning, and each coin depicts one of her discoveries:

  • Temnodontosaurus - one of the largest types of ichthyosaur and an apex predator that once roamed the ocean that covered much of southern Britain.
  • Plesiosaurus
  • Dimorphodon

Visit the Royal Mint shop to find out more.

The coins were designed by British paleo-artist and designer of the first Tales of the Earth commemorative coin collection, Robert Nicholls, who used scientifically accurate reconstructions of the creatures and the environment that they existed in.

Augmented reality brings creatures to life

Clare Maclennan, Divisional Director of Commemorative Coin at The Royal Mint said:

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'It is an absolute pleasure to continue the popular Tales of the Earth commemorative 50p coin series in conjunction with the Natural History Museum. The next collection in the series celebrates fossil hunter and pioneering palaeontologist Mary Anning, with three coin’s featuring Anning’s astonishing discoveries of Temnodontosaurus, Plesiosaurus and Dimorphodon.
In addition to each of the coin designs being a scientifically accurate reconstruction of the creatures and the environment they lived in, we have combined augmented reality technology with the coins to bring the animals to life through animation and allow people to explore the details of the prehistoric marine reptiles from the comfort of their home.'

Fossil Hunter Mary Anning

Mary Anning was born in Lyme Regis, Dorset, in 1799 and spent her entire life in this small seaside town on England’s south coast. Anning’s father Richard had a large family to support and, in order to supplement his modest income as a carpenter, he set up a curiosity table outside their home selling fossils to tourists.

It was at this point that she developed an interest in helping her father and aged only 12 or 13, Anning made her first discovery, an articulated skeleton of an ichthyosaur, a type of marine reptile that once roamed Jurassic seas. From this point forward Anning made a number of astonishing discoveries making her the greatest fossil hunter of the Victorian era.

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