The first official UK Gay Pride Rally was held in London on July 1 1972 since it was the closest Saturday to the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots.

The rally had approximately 2,000 participants and almost 50 years later, in 2019, 1.5 million people attended – making it the biggest Pride in the UK.

The new 50p coin, designed by east London artist and LGBTQ+ activist Dominique Holmes, will mark the momentous anniversary.

50th Anniversary of Pride 50p with original artwork. Credit: The Royal Mint

New Royal Mint coin released to mark 50 years of Pride

The eye-catching design features the historic Pride progression flag and is also inscribed with Pride in London’s values.

In four striking rainbows, the values read protest, visibility, unity, and equality.

The Royal Mint worked with writer and activist Dominique Holmes to design the coin after their reverse design was selected from a contest between artists in Pride UK’s LGBTQ+ art exhibition.

Speaking about their design, Dominique Holmes said: “Working to the scale of a 50 pence piece was interesting for me as I’m used to working on a larger scale.

“The main challenge was ensuring that the important messages of protest and visibility could be clearly understood on the coin. I had to keep a 50p next to me at all times as I worked to keep my sketches in check!

Dominique Holmes holds 50th Anniversary of Pride 50p with original artwork. Credit: The Royal Mint

They continued: “Seeing the design and the message of Protest and Pride on the coin itself was quite moving. Growing up in the 80s and 90s in the UK, I never saw this sort of positive LGBTQ+ representation, and I feel very proud to have worked on something that celebrates and commemorates such an historic moment for the LGBTQ+ community and the Pride movement so publicly.

“This is a significant milestone in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights and equality. Pride means so much to me and to so many people across the UK and beyond, and it’s important that we take time to celebrate the progress made over the last 50 years, whilst continuing the important work for our community.”

The new 50p coin is available for purchase from June 9 and The Royal Mint has said that five million coins will enter general circulation later this year.

The launch of the commemorative coin forms part of the Royal Mint’s wider commitment to diversity and inclusion.

This includes Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) training for all employees as well as a network of D&I Champions and an employee-led LGBTQ+ society.

Employees from The Royal Mint will also be marching in the Pride in London parade on July 2 to show their support to the LGBTQ+ community.

Dominique Holmes holds 50th Anniversary of Pride 50p with original artwork. Credit: The Royal Mint

To mark the launch, it will make a financial contribution to London LGBT Community Pride C.I.C.

Nicola Howell, Chief Commercial Officer at The Royal Mint said: “It has been a pleasure working with Dominique on the 50th Anniversary of Pride coin.

“Their design is a fitting tribute to the legacy of Pride UK, and we know how excited collectors will be to find one in their change.

“We are always looking to work with talented British artists from a range of backgrounds who are passionate about bringing their own diverse experiences to life on an official UK coin.”

The special 50p is available to purchase via The Royal Mint website, including gold, silver, and brilliant uncirculated versions.