Behind the design: The Glasgow 2014 50p

The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games are officially underway and the first batch of Glasgow 2014 50p coins has already begun to enter circulation. With coin collectors everywhere on the look out for the latest 50p to add to their Great British Coin Hunt Collector Albums, we caught up with one person who can’t wait to find this 50p in his change – the designer, Alex Loudon.

commonwealth games 50p designer
Designer Alex Loudon (left) created the design with the support of Dan Flashman (right)

1. How did you feel when you found out you were designing a circulating coin?

tangerine were invited by The Royal Mint to participate in a competitive process to design a circulating coin. We were thrilled when we found out our design had been confirmed and approved. I’m not sure it will finally sink in though until I find the coin in my pocket! That will be a very special moment!

2. Who was your inspiration for the cyclist and athlete on the coin?

Chris Hoy and Graeme Obree were obvious initial inspirations, being so deeply rooted in Scottish sports identity, especially with the Chris Hoy Velodrome opening. We felt that cycling and athletics best conveyed the sense of athleticism, Scottishness and atmosphere of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

glasgow 2014 50p cyclist sketch   glasgow 2014 50p runner sketch

3. Did you use any images in particular for your inspiration?

We really started to take inspiration from images of Scotland and Glasgow, the scenery, the architecture initially, then we began looking at sports and what makes those sports striking, iconic and dynamic in a still image.

 4. Are you going to any Glasgow 2014 events? Will you be watching it on TV?

We will definitely be watching the cycling, athletics and hockey.

5. Have you been keeping track of the Glasgow 2014 Baton Relay and other Glasgow 2014 developments?

Yes, mostly on Twitter and Instagram. It was nice to wake up to see a photo of the coins coming off the press for the first time in the papers and on BBC News.

You can follow both The Royal Mint and tangerine on Twitter at @RoyalMintUK and @tangerinelondon

6. Are you athletic / a cyclist yourself? If so, how did it feel to be able to put a sport you love on a coin?

Everyone at tangerine is really active, most of us cycle to work everyday, and I compete in Obstacle Course races in my free time. Its nice to apply something close to my heart to a professional project, it’s rare that we get that opportunity. My family is also from Glasgow, so that was another nice personal coincidence.

7. Are there any other sporting events that aren’t on UK coins that you’d like to see on UK coins?

Perhaps some more niche british sports to celebrate our unique eccentricities as a nation. i.e. cheese rolling, bog snorkling, etc.

8. With sport recently dominating UK coins for the Olympics and Paralympics, did it influence your design one way or another?

I’m not sure we were directly influenced by it, but it was definitely fresh in our minds, particularly all the images from the London 2012 Games.

9. How did you want your design to be received? And so far, has it been received as well as you’d hoped?

Hopefully well. Everyone we’ve shown it to has really liked it which bodes well.

commonwealth games 50p

10. Would you like to design another coin? If so, if you could put anything on it, what would your design be?

I would love to design another coin! It’s so different to the work we usually do at tangerine. Over the last few months I have been mostly working on aircraft interiors, concept cars and consumer product design, so this project was different in both discipline and scale.

If I could put anything on a coin… A celebration of british design and fashion would be an interesting theme for a new coin collection.

11. Have you seen a coin with your design in circulation yet? If not, are you looking forward to finding one in circulation?

Not yet, but we all keep checking our change!  Everyone at tangerine is on the look out to be the first to find one! We have received some of the Proof coins which are wonderful though!

12. What has been the reaction to this whole experience from your friends and family? Were they interested to know that this is how a new coin design comes about?

They’ve all been very excited about it, probably more so than me. It’s been really nice to have something I’ve worked on that I can show to people so soon after it was designed.

13. Has anyone you know become interested in coin collecting following your experience? Are YOU now a coin collector?

Since London 2012 I’ve checked my change to see if there’s something interesting. Now I’ve got an even better reason to check my change and watch out for shiny new 50p’s. I think its also made us all at tangerine look at coins in a slightly different way too!


The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games 50p is available to purchase direct from The Royal Mint for as little as £10.

The design is available in Brilliant UncirculatedGold ProofSilver Proof, and Silver Proof Piedfort.


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