Cambridge alumnus Isaac Newton to appear on the new 50p coin

Khushali Dodhia 3 January 2017

The work of one of Trinity College’s most famous alumni will be recognised on the face of the new 50p piece, when it goes into circulation later this year.

Sir Isaac Newton will be commemorated by the 2017 design alongside Jane Austen who will appear on a new £2 coin marking the 200th anniversary of her death. Austen will also appear on the new £10 note, replacing Cambridge alumnus and scientist Charles Darwin.

A second £2 will feature the Royal Flying Corps, a predecessor of the Royal Air Force. The Royal Mint is also releasing a new 12-sided £1 coin, which it has billed as “the most secure coin in the world”.

It isn’t the first time Newton has appeared on legal tender. The Cantab featured on the 1978 £1 note, which was withdrawn from circulation after the introduction of the £1 coin.

As well as his significant contributions to science, Newton also served as Master of the Mint, where his work laid the groundwork for the introduction of the gold standard by which a currency’s value was measured in Britain until 1931.

Dr Kevin Clancy, director of the Royal Mint Museum, said: “This is a particularly significant year in Royal Mint history as we welcome in the new 12-sided £1 coin, with its innovative security features.

“This year we also mark the achievements of Jane Austen, Sir Isaac Newton and the Royal Flying Corps – all pioneers in their own field. The British public should start to see these coins appearing in their change from spring 2017.”

This is the second time Cambridge has hit headlines recently due to currency. In December, vegan restaurant Rainbow Café came under fire for refusing to accept new £5 notes after it was revealed that they contain traces of meat by-products.

This article was last updated on 05/01/17