World's first blackened 50p coin released to mark 180th Penny Black anniversary


17 January 2020
A blackened 50p coin has been released by Gibraltar to mark 180 years since the release of the Penny Black, the world's first adhesive stamp used in the public postage system.

The limited edition 50p will be produced to a mintage of 7,500 and has a pearl black proof finish.

The Penny Black, whose anniversary the 50p celebrates, was first issued on 1 May 1840 and set a new precedent by allowing postage to be pre-paid, rather than being paid for by the recipient. The new Penny Black allowed letters of up to 0.5oz to be delivered for one penny, regardless of distance.

The now-iconic portrait of the young Queen Victoria (who came to the throne in 1837) on a black background became a familiar sight up and down the country. As other countries gradually adopted their own version of the adhesive postage stamp, Britain had (and retains) the status of being the only country to omit its name from its postage stamps.

Coin details

Metal: Pearl Black Cupro Nickel Diamond Finish

Diameter: 27.30mm

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Weight: 8g

Mintage: 7,500

To buy the coin, visit the Gibraltar Stamps website.

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