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This article is about the Belgian coins minted from 1866 to 2001. For earlier pieces of a similar denomination, see Belgian ½ franc coin. For other Belgian coins of the same denomination, see Belgian 50 centime coin (disambiguation).
50 centimes / centiemen
Coin BE 50c Miner obv 78
Obverse of the final type
General information
Country

Flag of Belgium Belgium

Used by

Flag of Belgium Belgium (1866–2002)
Flag of Luxembourg Luxembourg (1944–2002)

Value

0.50 francs

Years

18662001

Measurements and composition
Mass
  • 2.5 g (1866-1914, 1922-1939)
  • 5 g (1918)
  • 2.75 g (1952-2001)
Diameter
  • 18 mm (1866-1914, 1922-1939)
  • 24 mm (1918)
  • 19 mm (1952-2001)
Thickness
  • 1.05 mm (1866-1914)
  • 1.45 mm (1922-1939)
  • 1.21 mm (1952-2001)
Composition
Appearance
Shape
  • round (1866-1914, 1922-2001)
  • round with circular hole (1918)
Alignment
Edge
  • reeded (1866-1914, 1922-1939)
  • plain (1918, 1952-2001)
Obverse

See text

Reverse

See text

v · d · e

The 50 centime/centiem coin is a former circulation piece of the Kingdom of Belgium. It was issued in seven major designs from 1866 to 2001, three under King Leopold II (1835–1909; r. 1865–1909), two under Albert I (1875–1934; r. 1909–1934), one during the German occupation of Belgium in World War I (1914–1918), and one under Baudouin (1930–1993; r. 1951–1993) and Albert II (1934–; r. 1993–2013). Each of the coins was struck at the Royal Belgian Mint and its precursor, the Monnaie de Bruxelles, and distributed by the National Bank of Belgium.

From 1833 to 1850, ½ franc pieces, equivalent in value to 50 centimes, were released under King Leopold I (1790–1865; r. 1831–1865). These were replaced in 1866 by the first 50 centime piece of Leopold II, which was struck with French legends from then until 1899 and Dutch legends from 1886 to the same date. A new coin of the denomination, the "Seated Lion" piece, was then released in Dutch and French versions in 1901, followed by a final coin of Leopold II issued in Dutch and French varieties from 1907 to 1909.

In 1910, a year after Albert I succeeded Leopold II as king, the first coin of the new monarch was released into circulation. The French version of this piece was struck until 1914, not long before the German occupation of Belgium began, while the Dutch coin was only manufactured until 1912. In 1918, nearing the end of World War I, the occupying German forces released another 50 centime piece into circulation, which unlike previous and future coins, incorporated both Dutch and French inscriptions on the same piece. One last 50 centime coin, the "Wounded Belgium" type, was introduced under Albert I in 1922, nearly four years after Belgium's liberation from Germany. The French variety of this coin was manufactured from then until 1933, and the Dutch version, although dated as late as 1934, was struck from 1923 to 1939, into the reign of King Leopold III (1901–1983; r. 1934–1951).

No new 50 centime pieces were released into circulation under Leopold III. A coin of the denomination was struck in 1939, but the start of World War II (1939–1945) and the German occupation of Belgium prevented it from being issued. Under Prince Charles (1903–1983; r. 1944–1950), who served as prince regent while Leopold III was in exile, no 50 centime coins were released either.

Under Baudouin, who succeeded Leopold III in 1951, a final 50 centime piece was struck in Dutch and French varieties in 1952. In 1955, the Dutch version of the coin underwent a minor stylistic change, which was later applied to the French piece in 1956. These coins were struck into the reign of Albert II, having been made in circulation quantities until 1998. They were then minted exclusively for collectors' sets until the introduction of the euro in 2001.

Prior to their eventual demonetization, the coins held legal tender status in their country of origin, circulating for a value of 0.50 Belgian francs. The third coin of Albert I and the pieces of Baudouin and Albert II were also used in neighboring Luxembourg, which entered into a currency union with Belgium in 1944, for a value of 0.50 Luxembourgish francs before 2001.

CoinsEdit

Coins of Leopold II (1866–1909)Edit

Shortly after the Leopold I's death in late 1865, his oldest living son, Crown Prince Leopold, ascended the throne as King Leopold II. During his reign, Leopold commissioned various buildings and public works projects, causing him to be remembered in Belgium as the "Builder King". However, abroad he is more well known for his exploitation of Congolese workers in the Congo Free State (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), one of the Belgian colonies founded after the Scramble for Africa.

First design (1866–1899)Edit

Coin BE 50c Leopold II shield NL 26

1886 coin

Coin BE 50c Leopold II shield FR 26

1866 coin

Under Leopold II, Belgian coins began to follow the standards of the Latin Monetary Union (LMU). The first series of pieces bearing the new monarch's likeness, consisting of denominations of 50 centimes and 1, 2, 5, 10, and 20 francs, was first released from 1865 to 1867 by the National Bank of Belgium. These coins were then followed in 1869 by new 1 and 2 centime pieces, and eventually in 1894 by 5 and 10 centime coins. Each of the 1860s coins was struck at the Royal Belgian Mint (previously the Monnaie de Bruxelles) and designed by Belgian artist Léopold Wiener (1823–1891). The 50 centime piece, which was manufactured from 1866 to 1886 in French and from 1886 to 1899 in Dutch, remained in circulation until its demonetization on July 30, 1932.

The coin, in accordance with the Latin Monetary Union's standards, is composed of .835 fine silver and measures 2.5 grams in mass, 18 millimeters in diameter, and 1.05 millimeters in thickness. It has coin alignment and a reeded edge, and like most coins, is round in shape. The rims of both sides of the piece are raised and decorated with a dentilated boundary.

A left-facing portrait of a bearded, mustached Leopold II appears in the center of the obverse, the "L.WIENER" signature of the artist engraved in small print along the rim below. On Dutch coins, the legend "LEOPOLD II KONING DER BELGEN", meaning "Leopold II, King of the Belgians", extends clockwise from the coin's lower left to lower right peripheries, separated between "KONING" and "DER" by the king's likeness. On French coins, the text travels in the same direction, but instead reads "LEOPOLD II ROI DES BELGES" and is divided between the words "ROI" and "DES".

An illustration of the lesser coat of arms of Belgium appears in the middle of the reverse. On the coin, the arms features a central escutcheon with a lion rampant in its center, surmounted by the Royal Crown of Belgium. The escutcheon superimposes two crossed scepters, one bearing a hand of justice on its tip and the other featuring a lion rampant on the end, and is surrounded by the grand collar of the Order of Leopold. In the conventional arms, a ribbon bearing the national motto additionally appears below the escutcheon, but this item is omitted on the coin. Instead, the motto is inscribed clockwise along the upper rim, reading "EENDRACHT MAAKT MACHT" (English: "Unity makes strength") on Dutch pieces and "L'UNION FAIT LA FORCE" on French coins. The face value is written in the middle of the reverse, reading "50 CN", abbreviated for 50 centiemen, on Dutch pieces and "50 CS", shortened for 50 centimes, on French coins. The numeral and shortened word in the value are separated onto both sides of the reverse by the coat of arms. Printed counterclockwise along the coin's lower boundary is the Gregorian date of minting, the first two digits separated from the last two by the Order of Leopold in the arms.

A total of 4,751,000 Dutch pieces and 11,344,864 French coins were manufactured. Only business strikes of both are known to exist. Overdated French specimens exist for the years 1881 and 1886. On these, the last two digits of the date superimpose a "61" or "66". Although overdated pieces are often more expensive with most coin types, according to the Standard Catalog of World Coins, the overdated Belgian pieces tend to sell at lower prices than examples not demonstrating the error.

Mintages
Year Mintage
Dutch
1866
(restrikes)
1886 3,750,000
1898 501,000
1899 500,000
Total 4,751,000
French
1866 6,806,000
1867 1,014,000
1868 1,075,864
1881 200,000
1881/61
1881/66
1886 1,250,000
1886/61
1886/66
1898 499,000
1899 500,000
Total 11,344,864
Pattern coinsEdit

Although Dutch versions of the first 50 centime piece were not released until 1886, patterns were struck in bronze and silver as early as 1866. French essais with thick silver planchets and a tin uniface trial strike were also manufactured in 1866.

Second design (1901)Edit

Coin BE 50c Leopold II lion NL 33

1901 coin

Coin BE 50c Leopold II lion FR 33

1901 coin

In 1901, the National Bank of Belgium released a series of redesigned 5, 10, and 50 centime pieces. Lower valued 1 and 2 centime coins continued to be manufactured, but continued using the same design. All three of the new pieces were manufactured in Dutch and French varieties at the Royal Belgian Mint in Brussels. The 50 centime coin, designed by Belgian sculptor Thomas Vinçotte (1850–1925), was not struck very well and experienced rapid wear in circulation, causing it to only be manufactured in 1901. Its design was intended to be used on new 1 and 2 franc pieces as well, but because of the problems with the 50 centime coin, neither was ever released into circulation. The 50 centime piece remained in circulation until its demonetization on July 30, 1932.

The coin is composed of .835 fine silver and measures 2.5 grams in mass, 18 millimeters in diameter, and 1.05 millimeters in thickness. It has coin alignment and a reeded edge, and is round in shape. The rims of both sides of the piece are raised and undecorated.

A left-facing portrait of an older, bearded and mustached Leopold II appears in the center of the obverse. On Dutch coins, the legend "LEOPOLD II KONING DER BELGEN" extends clockwise from the coin's lower left to lower right peripheries, separated between "KONING" and "DER" by the king's head. On French coins, the caption "LEOPOLD II ROI DES BELGES" is used instead, separated between "ROI" and "DES" by Leopold's likeness.

A rendition of the Leo Belgicus, a lion symbolizing the Low Countries, is illustrated in the middle of the reverse. It is illustrated with its head facing backward and its front left paw placed on a large stone tablet, a symbol representing the Constitution of Belgium. On Dutch pieces, the national motto "EENDRACHT MAAKT MACHT" is inscribed clockwise along the rim above. French coins instead use the legend "L'UNION FAIT LA FORCE", which also travels in the same direction at the piece's upper periphery. Printed horizontally to the left of the lion is the Gregorian date of minting, "1901", and engraved in small print at the coin's boundary below is the artist's signature, spelled as "VINCOTTE" without the cedilla in the "C". The face value is written horizontally below the lion's front paws, rendered as "50 CEN", for 50 centiemen, on Dutch pieces and "50 CS
·
", for 50 centimes, on French coins.

A total of 3,000,000 Dutch and French examples of the coin were manufactured during a single year of production. Only business strikes of each variety are known to have been struck.

Pattern coinsEdit

Copper, gold, and silver patterns with French inscriptions were reportedly production. Copper trial strikes were also manufactured with Dutch legends.

Third design (1907–1909)Edit

Coin BE 50c Leopold II NL 39

1907 coin

Coin BE 50c Leopold II FR 39

1907 coin

In 1904, the National Bank of Belgium released new 1 and 2 franc pieces, the first coins of the two denominations to be issued since 1887. There were plans to introduce a similar 50 centime coin around the same period, as is evidenced by the handful of patterns struck in 1904, but the release of such a piece was delayed until 1907. It was then manufactured in Dutch and French varieties until 1909 and remained in circulation until its demonetization on July 30, 1932. All three of the coins were struck at the Royal Belgian Mint in Brussels and designed by Thomas Vinçotte.

The coin is composed of .835 fine silver and measures 2.5 grams in mass, 18 millimeters in diameter, and 1.05 millimeters in thickness. Most examples have coin alignment, although a smaller number of Dutch coins minted in 1909 use medallic alignment instead. The piece has a reeded edge and is round in shape, and both of its rims are raised and decorated with a dentilated border.

A left-facing portrait of a bearded, mustached Leopold II appears in the center of the obverse. On Dutch coins, the legend "LEOPOLD II KONING DER BELGEN" extends clockwise from the coin's lower left to lower right rims, separated between "KONING" and "DER" by Leopold's likeness. On French coins, the text reads "LEOPOLD II ROI DES BELGES" instead and is separated between "ROI" and "DES" by the king's head. Written in small print below Leopold's portrait is the signature of the artist, "TH.VINÇOTTE". On a handful of French coins minted in 1907 and Dutch and French pieces made in 1909, the point in this inscription is omitted.

The coin's face value appears on two lines in the middle of the reverse, the Gregorian date of minting, either "1907" or "1909", engraved below. On Dutch pieces the value reads "50 CENTN
·
, abbreviated for 50 centiemen, whereas on French coins it is rendered as "50 CENTS
·
, shortened for 50 centimes. Engraved along the coin's rim is a wreath consisting of tied ivy and oak branches. The ivy branch is engraved at the left rim, extending from the bottom of the reverse to the top, while the oak branch appears at the right periphery, also traveling from the bottom of the coin.

A total of 3,055,000 Dutch pieces and 3,047,916 French coins were manufactured during two nonconsecutive years of production. Only business strikes were reportedly struck for each variety.

Mintages
Year Mintage
Dutch
1907 545,000
1909 2,510,000
Total 3,055,000
French
1907 545,000
1909 2,502,916
Total 3,047,916
Pattern coinsEdit

At least three silver pattern pieces with French inscriptions were minted in 1904. One has a plain edge, another has a reeded edge, and the other features smaller images than those used on the circulated coins.

Coins of Albert I (1910–1934)Edit

When Leopold II died on December 17, 1909, he had no surviving male issue to ascend the throne. For this reason, Prince Albert, Leopold's nephew and oldest living relative, succeeded him on December 23 of the same year, adopting the royal name King Albert I. Albert's reign was marked by a number of significant events, including the German occupation of Belgium in World War I and subsequent reconstruction, the institution of reforms in Belgian Congo and Ruanda-Urundi, and the first five years of the Great Depression (1929–1941).

Pre-war coins (1910–1914)Edit

Coin BE 50c Albert I NL 42

1910 coin

Coin BE 50c Albert I FR 42

1910 coin

The first coins of Albert I were introduced in 1910 in denominations of 2, 5, 25, and 50 centimes, and 1 and 2 francs. They were then followed by a new 10 centime piece in 1911, a 1 centime coin in 1912, and in a gold 20 franc piece in 1914. All of these coins were manufactured at the Royal Belgian Mint in Brussels. The 50 centime piece, designed by Belgian artist Godefroid Devreese (1861–1941), was struck with Dutch legends from 1910 to 1912 and French inscriptions from 1910 to 1914. It remained in circulation until its demonetization on July 30, 1932.

The coin is composed of .835 fine silver and measures 2.5 grams in mass, 18 millimeters in diameter, and 1.05 millimeters in thickness. It has coin alignment and a reeded edge, and is round in shape. The rims of both sides of the piece are raised and undecorated.

A left-facing portrait of a mustached King Albert appears in the center of the obverse, the artist's signature "G.DEVREESE." engraved in small print along the rim below. On Dutch coins, the legend "ALBERT KONING DER BELGEN", meaning "Albert, King of the Belgians", is written clockwise from the coin's lower left to lower right peripheries. It is separated between "KONING" and "DER" by Albert's likeness, and each word is flanked on both sides by a small circular point. On French pieces, the legend instead reads "ALBERT ROI DES BELGES" and is divided between "ROI" and "DES" by the king's head. Like on the Dutch coins, each individual word is flanked on both sides by a circular point.

The coin's face value appears on two horizontal lines in the middle of the reverse, the Gregorian date of minting written in smaller print below. On Dutch pieces the value reads "50 CENTN
·
, abbreviated for 50 centiemen, whereas on French coins it is rendered as "50 CENTS
·
, shortened for 50 centimes. A wreath consisting of tied oak and laurel branches surrounds the value and year, with the oak branch illustrated at the coin's left rim and the laurel branch depicted at the right. Unlike on most coins featuring wreaths, the branches travel from the top of the coin to the bottom, not from the bottom to the top. Inscribed counterclockwise along the piece's lower periphery is the national motto, rendered as "EENDRACHT MAAKT MACHT" on Dutch examples and "L'UNION FAIT LA FORCE" on French coins. Each word in the legend is flanked on both sides by a small circular point.

A total of 4,963,000 Dutch coins and 5,203,000 French pieces were manufactured. Only business strikes of each variety are known to exist.

Mintages
Year Mintage
Dutch
1910 1,900,000
1911 2,063,000
1912 1,000,000
Total 4,963,000
French
1910 1,900,000
1911 2,063,000
1912 1,000,000
1914 240,000
Total 5,203,000

German occupation coin (1918)Edit

Coin BE 50c WWI 53

1918 coin

On May 3, 1914, five days after the start of World War I, the German Empire declared war against France. In an attempt to capture Paris quickly, Germany executed what later became known as the Schlieffen Plan, which involved catching the French off guard by invading through neutral Belgium and Luxembourg. Although Belgian troops resisted the German advancements for a while, over 95 percent of the country was occupied by the winter of 1914. The areas under German occupation were divided into three administrations – the Operational Zone, Staging Zone, and General Government – until German troops retreated from Belgium in late 1918.

In 1915, during the first full year of the occupation, the Germans released a series of 5, 10, and 25 centime coins into circulation. These were joined by a new 50 centime piece introduced in 1918, the last year of the German occupation. To conserve metals such as copper and silver, which were used for the war effort, all four coins were minted in zinc. Each was struck at the Royal Belgian Mint and designed by Belgian engraver Alphonse Michaux (1860–1928). The 50 centime coin circulated throughout the rest of World War I and shortly afterward, finally being demonetized on July 20, 1922.

The coin is composed of zinc and measures 5 grams in mass and 24 millimeters in diameter. It has coin alignment and a plain edge. The piece is round in shape and has a 4.5 millimeter circular hole in its center, a feature added to prevent confusion with the other zinc coins issued by the occupying Germans. Both of its rims are raised and decorated with a dentilated border.

A radiant five-pointed star is displayed in the middle of the obverse, the coin's circular hole situated in its center. Printed clockwise along the rim to the left is the Dutch name of Belgium, "BELGIË". Its French equivalent, "BELGIQUE", is engraved in the same direction at the piece's right periphery, and is separated from the Dutch by a small circular point near the top of the obverse. Written counterclockwise at the bottom of the coin is the Gregorian date of minting, "1918", flanked on both sides by flower shaped points.

On the reverse, a laurel branch appears at the left side, extending clockwise from the bottom of the coin to the top. It is partially superimposed by the escutcheon from the Belgian coat of arms, which is positioned directly to the left of the central hole. Written on two lines on the opposite side of the reverse is the face value "50 CENT.", abbreviated for the Dutch 50 centiemen and French 50 centimes. In the value, the numeral is rendered in significantly larger print than the following word.

A total of 7,394,400 examples of the coin were produced. Only business strikes of this particular type are known to exist.

Patterns and trial strikesEdit

Several patterns and trial strikes of the 1918 coin were struck. These include holed aluminum, "tan" and "red" bronze, gold, and silver pieces and non-holed cupronickel, nickel, silver, and zinc coins. A klippe strike was also reportedly minted.

Wounded Belgium coins (1922–1934)Edit

Coin BE 50c wounded Belgium NL 56

1922 coin

Coin BE 50c wounded Belgium FR 56

1922 coin

During World War I, Belgium's refusal to comply with the Schlieffen Plan was met with violence by occupying German forces. Belgian civilians were particularly targeted during the invasion, suffering property destruction, mistreatment, and mass killings at the hand of German soldiers. This, in addition to the theft of industrial equipment in Belgium, left the country heavily wounded after the war ended in 1918.

In remembrance of World War I and its toll on Belgium, a series of 50 centime and 1 and 2 franc pieces was introduced between 1922 and 1923. All three were manufactured at the Royal Belgian Mint in Brussels and designed by Belgian sculptor Armand Bonnetain (1883–1973), hence why they are sometimes called the types Bonnetain in French. The 50 centime piece was originally struck with French legends from 1922 to 1933 and Dutch inscriptions from 1923 to 1934. Dutch coins were minted again in 1939, not long before the start of World War II, but continued to bear the 1934 date. Also, Dutch pieces bearing the date 1922 were manufactured, but at a later point than the date would imply. Both varieties of the 50 centime piece continued to circulate until their demonetization on May 8, 1953.

Unlike previous 50 centime pieces, the coin is composed of nickel and measures 2.5 grams in mass, 18 millimeters in diameter, and 1.45 millimeters in thickness. It has coin alignment and a reeded edge, and is round in shape. The rims of both sides of the piece are raised and decorated with a dentilated boundary.

La Belgique or Belgica, a female figure personifying Belgium, is illustrated in the middle of the obverse. She is portrayed kneeling and holding her right leg, a sword and shield hanging from her waist. This illustration, known as "Wounded Belgium" or Belgique blessée in French, represents Belgium weakened from World War I but recovering. The sword on her waist, according to Belgian numismatist Xavier Lion, signifies Belgium's resistance against Germany during the war. Inscribed clockwise along the rim above is the local name of Belgium, which reads "BELGIË" on Dutch coins and "BELGIQUE" on French pieces. It is flanked on both sides by a small five-pointed star or asterisk. Engraved in small print at the piece's lower left periphery are the "A.B" initials of the artist.

A caduceus, believed to symbolize Belgium's economic recovery after World War I, appears in the center of the reverse. On Dutch pieces, the legend "GOED VOOR" is engraved clockwise along the periphery above, whereas on French coins, the text "BON POUR" appears instead. These inscriptions are accompanied by the piece's face value, which reads "50 CEN" (50 centiemen) on Dutch coins and "50 CES" (50 centimes) on French pieces. The numeral and abbreviated word are separated by the serpent entwined staff in the caduceus. Combined, the legend and value translate as "good for 50 centimes". They were added to the coin to assure the public of its face value, since the "Wounded Belgium" type was the first non-silver Belgian 50 centime piece to be introduced. Printed counterclockwise along the lower periphery is the Gregorian date of minting, the first two digits separated from the last two by the staff in the caduceus. Four forget-me-nots (Myosotis) additionally appear on the reverse, two flanking the legend "GOED VOOR" or "BON POUR", and the other two flanking the date.

A total of 34,231,000 Dutch examples and 32,391,000 French pieces were manufactured. Only business strikes of this particular type are known to exist.

Mintages
Year Mintage
Dutch
1922
1923 15,000,000
1928 10,000,000
1928/3
1930 2,252,000
1930/20
1932 2,000,000
1932/22
1933 3,139,000
1934 1,840,000
Total 34,231,000
French
1922 6,180,000
1923 8,820,000
1927 7,000,000
1928 3,000,000
1929 1,000,000
1930 1,000,000
1932 2,530,000
1932/23
1933 2,861,000
Total 32,391,000
Pattern coinsEdit

Aluminum, bronze, copper, copper-tin, nickel, and silver patterns of both language varieties were minted in 1922. Examples of each composition were struck with plain edges and reeded edges.

Coin of Leopold III (1939)Edit

On February 17, 1934, Albert I unexpectedly died in a mountaineering accident near the village of Marche-les-Dames in Namur. His eldest son, Prince Leopold, succeeded him as King of Belgium on February 23 of the same year, assuming the royal name of Leopold III. The new monarch's reign was marked by many controversies, the most prominent being his surrender to invading Axis forces in 1940, which many domestic and foreign leaders decried as an act of treason. Because of this action, Leopold was declared unable to reign and was forced to live in exile in Pregny-Chambésy, Switzerland, from 1944 to 1950. During this time, the king's younger brother, Prince Charles, ruled as prince regent and assumed Leopold's responsibilities as head of state.

From 1938 to 1939, the National Bank of Belgium released a new series of 5, 10, and 25 centime and 1, 5, and 50 franc pieces into circulation. A 50 centime coin was also planned, but its production was halted shortly after the start of World War II, and was never issued as a result. This series is particularly notable for its incorporation of Belgian provincial and municipal heraldry on the reverse of each coin. The lower three denominations each display the arms of three of the then nine provincial capitals of Belgium, while the higher valued 50 centime and 1 and 5 franc coins each show the arms of three of the nine provinces themselves. The 50 franc piece, in addition to an unissued 20 franc pattern, feature all of the provincial coats of arms under the Royal Crown of Belgium. Each of the coins was struck at the Royal Belgian Mint in Brussels. The unissued 50 centime and circulated 1 and 5 franc pieces were designed by Belgian sculptor Ernest Wijnants (1878–1964).

The 50 centime piece is composed of nickel and measures 2.5 grams in mass, 18 millimeters in diameter, and 1.45 millimeters in thickness. It has coin alignment and a reeded edge, and is round in shape. Both of the coin's rims are raised and undecorated.

A depiction of the Leo Belgicus appears in the center of the obverse. Like the lion on the 50 centime piece of 1901, it is illustrated sitting on the ground and looking backward, toward the left side of the coin. Printed on two lines to the right of this image is the face value "50 c", abbreviated for the Dutch 50 centiemen and French 50 centimes. The Gregorian date of minting, "1939", is engraved horizontally in large print below the lion, while the "E.W." initials of the artist are written at the coin's left periphery in a noticeably smaller font.

An image of a tree superimposed by the coats of arms of (from the top to bottom right) Hainaut, East Flanders, and Luxembourg is displayed in the middle of the reverse. The French name of Belgium, "BELGIQUE", is printed clockwise along the rim to the left of the arms, while the Dutch equivalent, rendered as "BELGIE=" without the diaeresis in the second "E", is written in the same direction at the periphery to the right.

A total of 15,482,000 examples of the coin were planned to be produced. Because the 1939 piece was never issued, very few specimens are known to exist.

Patterns and restrikesEdit

Patterns of the 1939 coin were struck in similor, a type of brass similar to gold in color. These unissued pieces, like their nickel counterpart, have a reeded edge.

At some point, an official silver restrike of the coin with a plain edge was manufactured. On the obverse, a small symbol is engraved to the left of the date and a letter "R" is displayed to the right.

Coins of Baudouin and Albert II (1952–2001)Edit

Main article: Belgian 50 centime coin (1952–2001)

Coin BE 50c Miner NL 78

1998 coin

Coin BE 50c Miner FR 78

1998 coin

Leopold III's return to Belgium in 1950 was met with widespread protests in French-speaking Wallonia and a general strike, which eventually culminated with the killing of four workers by police on July 31 of the same year. In response to the worsening situation, Leopold announced his intention to abdicate in 1950 and was succeeded by his oldest son, Baudouin, in July 1951. One of the most notable events of Baudouin's 42-year reign was the independence of Belgian Congo and Ruanda-Urundi, which effectively ended the Belgian colonial empire.

Having died without a male issue, Baudouin was succeeded by his younger brother, Prince Albert, who became King Albert II on August 9, 1993. Some of the notable events of Albert's reign, which lasted until July 21, 2013, include the creation of the European Union (EU) in 1993 and Belgium's adoption of the euro in 1999.

The first Belgian coins to be introduced after World War II were new 1, 5, 20, 50, and 100 franc pieces released from 1948 to 1950. They were then followed in 1952 by a new 50 centime piece and in 1953 by the first post-war 20 centime coin. All seven coins were struck at the Royal Belgian Mint in Brussels and designed by Belgian sculptor Marcel Rau (1886–1966). The 50 centime piece, which was produced almost annually until 2001, into the reign of Albert II, remained in circulation until its demonetization on December 10, 2001.

The coin is composed of a bronze alloy and measures 2.75 grams in mass, 19 millimeters in diameter, and 1.21 millimeters in thickness. Most examples have coin alignment, although some pieces use medallic alignment instead. All examples have a plain edge and raised, undecorated rims, and are round in shape.

A left-facing portrait of a coal miner wearing a leather helmet on his head appears in the center of the obverse. For unknown reasons, this illustration is smaller on coins minted from 1955 to 2001 than on pieces struck from 1952 to 1955. A Davy lamp, a type of safety lamp often used in coal mines, appears to the right along with the artist's signature, "RAU". In addition, on some French coins dated 1959 and Dutch pieces dated 1980, a small triangle appears below the miner's chin.

The face value "50 CENTIMES" is displayed horizontally in the middle of the reverse, underneath an illustration of the Royal Crown of Belgium. In the value, the numeral "50" appears on its own line in a large, outlined font while the following word is displayed on a separate line in smaller print below. Printed clockwise along the rim above is the local name of Belgium, rendered in Dutch as "BELGIE" (without the diaeresis in the second "E") or French as "BELGIQUE". The Gregorian date of minting appears in small print at the bottom center of the coin, its first two digits separated from the last two by the piece's face value. According to Numista, the size of the crown and lettering on the reverse vary from coin to coin.

A total of 350,185,000 Dutch coins and 350,665,000 French pieces were manufactured. Of these, about 780,000 uncirculated specimens minted from 1989 to 2001 (60,000 for each year) were sold in mint sets and all 15,000 proofs struck from 1999 to 2001 (5,000 for each year) were distributed in proof sets.

v · d · e
Mintages
Year Dutch French
Alignment Mintage Alignment Mintage
1952 coin 5,830,000 coin 3,520,000
1953 coin 22,930,000 coin 22,620,000
medallic medallic
1954 coin 15,730,000 none
1955 none coin 29,160,000
1956 coin 5,640,000 none
1957 coin 13,800,000 none
medallic
1958 coin 19,480,000 coin 9,750,000
medallic
1959 none coin 17,350,000
medallic
1962 coin 4,150,000 coin 6,160,000
1963 coin 1,110,000 none
1964 coin 10,340,000 coin 5,860,000
1965 coin 9,590,000 coin 10,320,000
medallic
1966 coin 6,930,000 coin 11,040,000
medallic
1967 coin 6,970,000 coin 7,200,000
medallic medallic
1968 coin 2,000,000 coin 2,000,000
1969 coin 10,000,000 coin 10,000,000
medallic medallic
1970 coin 12,000,000 coin 16,000,000
1971 coin 1,250,000 coin 1,250,000
1972 coin 7,000,000 coin 3,000,000
1973 coin 3,000,000 coin 3,000,000
1974 coin 5,000,000 coin 5,000,000
medallic
1975 coin 7,000,000 coin 7,000,000
1976 coin 8,000,000 coin 8,000,000
medallic
1977 coin 13,000,000 coin 13,000,000
medallic
1978 coin 2,500,000 coin 2,500,000
1979 coin 20,000,000 coin 20,000,000
medallic
1980 coin 20,000,000 coin 20,000,000
medallic
1981 coin 2,000,000 coin 2,000,000
medallic
1982 coin 7,000,000 coin 7,000,000
1983 coin 14,000,000 coin 14,000,000
1985 coin 6,000,000 coin 6,000,000
1987 coin 9,000,000 coin 9,000,000
1988 coin 4,500,000 coin 4,500,000
medallic
1989 coin 60,000 coin 60,000
1990 coin 60,000 coin 60,000
1991 coin 6,000,000 coin 6,000,000
1992 coin 7,000,000 coin 7,000,000
1993 coin 10,000,000 coin 10,000,000
1994 coin 10,000,000 coin 10,000,000
1995 coin 60,000 coin 60,000
1996 coin 11,000,000 coin 11,000,000
1997 coin 60,000 coin 60,000
1998 coin 30,000,000 coin 30,000,000
1999 coin 60,000 coin 60,000
medallic 5,000 medallic (proof) 5,000
2000 coin 60,000 coin 60,000
medallic 5,000 medallic (proof) 5,000
2001 coin 60,000 coin 60,000
medallic 5,000 medallic (proof) 5,000
Total both 350,185,000 both 350,665,000

Trials and restrikesEdit

Silver trial strikes and restrikes of the coin are known to exist. Both are dated 1952, but the trial strikes can be distinguished by the number and word "ESSAI" below the miner's chin on the obverse. Bronze, copper, cupronickel, lead, and nickel-plated steel trial strikes were also reportedly produced.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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Belgian franc
Coins 1 c.2 c.5 c.10 c.20 c.25 c.¼ fr.50 c.½ fr.1 fr.2 fr.2½ fr.5 fr.10 fr.20 fr.25 fr.40 fr.50 fr.100 fr.200 fr.250 fr.500 fr.1000 fr.5000 fr.
Banknotes 1 fr.2 fr.5 fr.20 fr.25 fr.50 fr.100 fr.250 fr.500 fr.1000 fr.2000 fr.5000 fr.10,000 fr.
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