Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in 1952 after the death of her father George VI. Interestingly she was not actually crowned until 1953. 1977 was the 25th anniversary of her ascension (the ‘silver jubilee’),and celebrations were held throughout the UK and the British Commonwealth, with the official day of celebration set as February 6, 1977. The Royal Australian Mint joined in on the party with the released the 1977 50c, a commemorative 12 sided, 15.5 gram, cupro nickel coin for general circulation.
The obverse of the coin bears the standard young portrait of Her Majesty as sculpted by Arnold Machin. The reverse of the coin (like all other decimal coins up until 1986) was designed and sculpted by Stuart Devlin. A typical royal design by Devlin (similar to some of his other work in silver) it comprises 25 crowns in a ring around a central device and the legend “Silver Jubilee 50 Cents”. 25 million of the coins were struck for circulation, a further 128,000 in brilliant UNC condition for mint sets, and 55,000 were struck to proof standards for the 1977 proof sets. The coin was also struck in silver for the 1989 Masterpieces in Silver set, but was dated 1989 and had the newer Raphael Maklouf obverse.
Like many of the early commemorative 50c coins the Silver Jubilee coins were hoarded away in great numbers, and you can easily buy a nice uncirculated coin for just $4 or $5. A coin from a mint set may fetch a couple of dollars more. A pristine proof 1977 50c could fetch $20 to $30 while the silver coin from the 1989 Masterpieces in Silver set would get about the same. A circulated 1977 Silver Jubilee 50c coin is worth, somewhat sadly, 50c.