Collecting Isle of Man Tourist Trophy (T.T.) 50p Coins

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This brief chapter contians some useful information if you are collecting or going to collect T.T. 50p coins--base metal chapter

First of all, this topic is all about Isle of Man cupronickel (i.e. metal and silver in colour; 75:25 copper to nickel ratio) 50p coins especially for the Tourist Trophy (i.e., T.T.) events on the island. More clearly, we split this brief chapter into two subparts. One part it is about to talk the standard finish 50p coin. Another part it refers the diamond finish 50p coin. Meanwhile, you can find out what are so-called the "diamond finish" 50p coins. All standard 50p coins and diamond 50p coins are solely minted by the British Pobjoy Mint® which is a private limited company (hereafter the Mint or PM) on behalf of the government of Isle of Man (Tynwald, note Tynwald you need to see Viking Boats 50ps article.).

Normally, standard finish 50p coins are produced for the purpose of daily use. This is why collectors easily find 50ps through daily life. All standard finish 50p coins are most minted associated with "AA" on its reverse (AA originally called the production batch codes). For some cases from A batch, it may appear "AB"/"AC"/"AD". Other single die mark like E or F is able to locate at precious metals. But, collectors call them all as die marks (or die letters, interchangeable). They are definitely meant some information. Sadly, we can tell you nothing at the moment. Based on my experiences, I may say the die letters may indicate many different types of mirrors associated with different striking pressures, times of striking, etc. Why do we see such the difference of the die letters between coins? It is a good point to raise. However, it never ever concludes a convincible answer, even from the Mint itself. If you like, spend more time on googling them. 

Diamond finish 50p coins are specially created by the Mint for the purpose of producing higher standard quality on commemorative coins to serious collectors. The concept of "diamond finish" was invented by the Mint in early 1980s (note I personally think the term was derived from "diamond cut", because the first mint-master has very strong background of jewellery). What are "diamond finish" coins? In terms of diamond finish, they are highly likely ProofLike ( i.e., PL) coins (eg., 1980 IOM Xmas 50p BC coins). More information related to PL can be seen below. Bearing in mind that all diamond finish 50p coins come with die letters "BB" on reverse and a cert (e.g., it includes IOM T.T./IOM Xmas/some IOM Viking boats). Interestingly, some diamond 50p coins come WITHOUT "BB" when minted in 2000s onwards. The techniques (for instance, matte mirror, reflectivity etc) used on diamond 50p coins are very enjoyable and look beautiful. Because the mirrored-field has higher reflectivity better than a standard 50p coin but slightly lower than any proof coins made by the Mint. Last, all T.T. 50p coins you are seeing within this chapter are made of cupronickel (Copper-3/4, Nickel-1/4 and appears silver in colour). 

  • "Prooflike (PL) coins appear to look like proof coins but in reality have not been produced using the special proof process. This may include mirrored fields and cameo devices. The scale donates the proper designation for the coin, based on reflectivity, 2 to 4 inches of reflectivity; devices must be frosted." (adapted from online)
  • "For instance, PCGS notes that Prooflike Morgan dollars require 'clear reflection in the fields on both sides from 2-4 inches away.' The company states that a hazy effect or streaks may impede the reflectivity, generally indicating a semi-prooflike condition (which does not appear on the PCGS label)." (adapted from online)
 
Now, it is time to reveal the T.T. 50p coins what they look like. In this part, it contains two parts. Part I: it is the pre-1997 section (i.e., 1969 to 1997, 50p coins are 30.00mm in diameter and 13.50g in weight) and Part II: it is the post-1997 section (i.e., 1997 to date, 50ps coins are resized to 27.30mm in diameter and 8.00g in weight).

Part I:
In total, six T.T. 50p coins exist before 1997. They are: four T.T. 50p coins from 1981 to 1984) plus two T.T. related (ie., TTF1) 50p coins between 1996 and 1997 (note, by 30.00mm in diameter 6 in total, or by 27.30mm in diameter 7 in total. It all depends on how you count them really). More details for each coin are as follows:
  1. 1981 T.T. commemorates 1980 winner--Joey Dunlop & Yamaha motor. Mintage 100,000 standard finish coins (AA/AB) &  30,000 diamond finish coins (BB).
  2. 1982 T.T. commemorates 1981 winner--Mike Grant & Suzuki motor. Mintage 100,000 (assumed) standard finish coins (AA) & 30,000 diamond finish coins (BB).
  3. 1983 T.T. commemorates 1982 winner--Ron Haslam & Honda motor. Mintage 100,000 standard finish coins (AA/AB/AC/AD) & 30,000 diamond finish coins (BB).
  4. 1984 T.T. commemorates the Sidecar T.T. nine times winner--Mike Boddice. Mintage 100,000 (assumed) standard finish coins (AA) & 30,000 diamond finish coins (BB).
  5. 1996  commemorates Philip McCallen Great achievement in 1996. Unknown mintage for both standard finish coins (AA) & diamond finish coins (NO die letters).
  6. 1997 commemorates Philip McCallen Great achievement in 1996. Unknown mintage for standard finish coins (AA, 30mm in diameter).

More specifically, 1981 Joey Dunlop

1981 T.T. 50p coin in pictures,
  • 1981 BB Diamond Finish 50p coin (top);
  • 1981 AA standard finish 50p coin with error (middle-left);
  •  1981 AB standard finish 50p coin (middle-right);
  • 1981 AB standard finish 50p coin with error (down-left).
Note
  • obverse designer A. Machin
  • Machine: Yamaha (747)
  • TT on top of the reverse
  • Circulating Commemorative  issue coinage
1981 T.T. Commemorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin
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1981 T.T. Commemorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin
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1981 T.T. Commemorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin
1981 T.T. Standard Finish 50p Coin with different die letters and the obverse
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1981 T.T. Standard Finish 50p Coin with different die letters and the obverse
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1981 T.T. Standard Finish 50p Coin with different die letters and the obverse
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1981 T.T. Standard Finish 50p Coin with different die letters and the obverse
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1981 T.T. Standard Finish 50p Coin with different die letters and the obverse

Variation on 1981 Misspelling Error Coins

It is clearly seeing that the Mint really made a mistake when they produced 50ps of first the T.T. theme in 1981 as seen from pictures below. But they did not fully realise the "spelling" was a issue seriously, and not negotiate properly before striking the first T.T. collection 50p coin. As you can see from pictures below, a small "hump" was use to cover up the first three REA of REARACING (the letters was originally supposed to be "REARACING"). It is very unclear that this hump was done by intension or dispute or economic situation in 1981. But having seen the small hump from pictures below, it really tells people that the Mint made it by intension for sure. This "accident" it is easy to remind collectors WHY did not they correct and recall and re-create a correct reverse die for a commemorative 50p in 1981?  However, this mistake will last forever once collectors well noticed this significant difference. A real story behind bar nobody could tell and answer presumably. 

Note
  • "RACING" only on AB die mark coins
1981 Misspelling 50ps associated with AA & AB die letters
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1981 Misspelling 50ps associated with AA & AB die letters
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1981 Misspelling 50ps associated with AA & AB die letters
1981 A little Hump covers up "REA" next to RACING
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1981 A little Hump covers up "REA" next to RACING
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1981 A little Hump covers up "REA" next to RACING

1982 Mike Grant

1982 T.T. 50p coin in pictures,
  • 1982 BB Diamond Finish 50p Coin (top);
  • 1982 AA standard finish 50p coin (down).
Note
  • Obverse designer A. Machin
  • Machine: Suzuki (500)
  • TT on top of the reverse
  • Circulating Commemorative issue coinage
1982 T.T. Commemorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin
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1982 T.T. Commemorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin
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1982 T.T. Commemorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin
1982 T.T. Standard Finish 50p Coin with AA die letters
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1982 T.T. Standard Finish 50p Coin with AA die letters
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1982 T.T. Standard Finish 50p Coin with AA die letters

1983 Ron Haslam

1983 T.T. 50p coin in pictures,
  • 1983 BB Diamond Finish 50p Coin (top);
  • 1983 AA standard finish 50p coin; 1983 AB standard finish 50p coin;
  • 1983 AC standard finish 50p coin; 1983 AD standard finish 50p coin.
Note
  • obverse designer A. Machin
  • Machine: Honda
  • TT on top of the reverse
  • Circulating Commemorative issue coinage
1983 T.T. Commemorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin
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1983 T.T. Commemorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin
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1983 T.T. Commemorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin
1983 T.T. Standard Finish 50p Coins with AA AB AC AD die letters
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1983 T.T. Standard Finish 50p Coins with AA AB AC AD die letters
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1983 T.T. Standard Finish 50p Coins with AA AB AC AD die letters
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1983 T.T. Standard Finish 50p Coins with AA AB AC AD die letters
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1983 T.T. Standard Finish 50p Coins with AA AB AC AD die letters
1983 T.T. Currency Type 50p Coin (AA AB AC AD die letters) Obverse
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1983 T.T. Currency Type 50p Coin (AA AB AC AD die letters) Obverse
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1983 T.T. Currency Type 50p Coin (AA AB AC AD die letters) Obverse

1984 Mike Boddice

1984  T.T. 50p coin in pictures,
  • 1984 BB Diamond Finish 50p Coin (top);
  • 1984 AA standard finish 50p coin (down).
Note
  • obverse designer R. Maklouf
  • Machine: Yamaha
  • TT on top of the reverse
  • Circulating Commemorative issue coinage
1984 T.T. Commemorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin
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1984 T.T. Commemorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin
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1984 T.T. Commemorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin
1984 T.T. Standard Finish 50p Coin with AA die letters
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1984 T.T. Standard Finish 50p Coin with AA die letters
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1984 T.T. Standard Finish 50p Coin with AA die letters

1996 Philip McCallen & Nigel Davies

1996 T.T. related 50p coin in pictures,
  • 1996 AA standard finish 50p coin (top panel); 
  • 1996 AA diamond finish 50p coin (middle, semi-PL);
  • 1996 No die letters diamond finish 50p coin (down panel, PL).
Note
  • obverse designer R. Maklouf
  • Why this one is related to T.T. (for TTF1), you then have to understand first what is w privy noted in 1985. The Formula TT was part of the Isle of Man TT and ended in 1990.
  • 25th anni. of decimalisation in the island
  • NO T.T. logo.
  • Regular issue coinage
1996 T.T. Currency Type 50p Coin
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1996 T.T. Currency Type 50p Coin
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1996 T.T. Currency Type 50p Coin
1996 T.T. Commemorative Type 50p Coin
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1996 T.T. Commemorative Type 50p Coin
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1996 T.T. Commemorative Type 50p Coin
1996 T.T. Special Commemorative Type 50p Coin
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1996 T.T. Special Commemorative Type 50p Coin
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1996 T.T. Special Commemorative Type 50p Coin

Variation on 1996 T.T. related 50p Coin.
I. Eye appears more shiny and whity on this type of coins. More likely semi-prooflike coin. A neo coin is struck between (at least) semi-PL and (lower than) PL.

neo-1996 T.T. Commemorative 50p Coin
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neo-1996 T.T. Commemorative 50p Coin
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neo-1996 T.T. Commemorative 50p Coin
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neo-1996 T.T. Commemorative 50p Coin
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neo-1996 T.T. Commemorative 50p Coin

1997 Philip McCallen & Nigel Davies

1997 T.T. related 50p in pictures,
  • 1997 AA standard finish 50p coin (30.00mm in diameter) (top panel);
  • 1997 AA standard finish 50p coin (27.30mm in diameter) (down panel).
Note
  • obverse designer R. Maklouf
  • Why this one is related to T.T. (for TTF1), see note in 1996 above.
  • Echo UK coinages in resizing 50p coins 1997
  • NO T.T. logo
  • Regular issue coinage
1997 T.T. currency Large-sized 50p coin
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1997 T.T. currency Large-sized 50p coin
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1997 T.T. currency Large-sized 50p coin
1997 T.T. currency small-sized 50p coin
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1997 T.T. currency small-sized 50p coin
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1997 T.T. currency small-sized 50p coin

Part II

Info beyond this point, they are all about smaller-sized T.T. 50p coins and T.T. related coins after/(within) the period of 1997.  In other words, the diameter of all 50p coins afterwards 1997 is 27.30mm & 8.00g in weight. All diamond finish coins may come cross in this chapter. But it will be around the corner somewhere in this chapter.

1997 & 1998 & 1999 T.T. related 50p in pictures (from top-left to down-right)
  • 1997 AA die letters standard finish 50p coin (top);
  • 1998 AA die letters diamond finish 50p coin (middle);
  • 1999 AA die letters standard finish 50p coin (down).
Note
  • obverse designers I. Rank-Broadley (except  R. Maklouf (1997) )
  • Why this one is related to T.T. (for TTF1), see note in 1996 above.
  • NO TT logo noted.
  • Regular issue coinage
1997 1998 1999 T.T. Currency Type 50p Coins
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1997 1998 1999 T.T. Currency Type 50p Coins
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1997 1998 1999 T.T. Currency Type 50p Coins

Bear in mind that the two coins above pictures, 1998 & 1999, still continue to circulating.

If you are keen to collect IOM 50p coins, the themes on IOM 50ps circulating area coins you may have noticed are as follows:
  • 1971 to 1987 "Viking Boats/Long Boats" were struck (by the Royal Mint in 1971, the rest started from 1972 onwards to 03/2017 by the Pobjoy Mint) on 50p coins, regular issue coinage;
  • And, 1988 to 1995 "Computer Technology, PC" on 50p coins, regular issue coinage;
  • Moreover,  1996 to 1999 "Philip McCallen", regular issue coinage;
  • And then, 2000 to 2003 "Pre-Norse Carved Cross", regular issue coinage;
  • Last 2004 to Present "Milner's Tower", regular issue coinage.
All above regular issue coinages were no any time gap(s) created and overlapped from 1971 to 1999 for circulating coins on 50p coins and even 1972/73/74 50ps were minted in 1975 for the purpose of continuity. How strong this logic it is. All the coins were followed by one simple rule "consistency" in time order Year by Year. However, ONLY the 1997 large-sized Philip McCallen 50p coin was overlapped between two different sizes in decimalisation system. It is more likely to commemorate and distinguish pre-1997 & post-1997 decimal eras. Ahh, yes! It has one single commemorative 50p coin made in 1994, the Legislative Building.  Moreover, the Xmas theme started from 1980 till 2014. But this bit belongs to Xmas commemorative coins. Therefore, we will not present any info this chapter. 

Let we have a look at the 1998, 1999 coins and the 1999 ''commemorative'' coins.

1998 & 1999 Philip McCallen
1998 & 1999 T.T. related 50ps in pictures,
  • 1998 AA die letters diamond finish coin (top);
  • 1999 AA die letters standard finish coin (down).
Note
  • obverse designers I. Rank-Broadley (IRB)
  • Why this one is related to T.T. (for TTF1), see note in 1996 above.
  • Regular issue coinage
1998 T.T. Commemorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin Rev. & Obv.
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1998 T.T. Commemorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin Rev. & Obv.
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1998 T.T. Commemorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin Rev. & Obv.
1999 T.T. Currency Type 50p Coin Rev. & Obv.
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1999 T.T. Currency Type 50p Coin Rev. & Obv.
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1999 T.T. Currency Type 50p Coin Rev. & Obv.

1999 "Commemorative" coin, Yes or No??

In 1949, Isle of Man T.T. races became part of FIM Road Racing World Championship. In 1999, Isle of Man T.T. races celebrates its 50th anniversary and commemorates rider Robert "Les" Graham riding with 500cc AJS "Porcupine". Whether this coin is a commemorative coin or not, it seems to people that they are unable to answer it. If you consider a fact that regular issue coinage is alongside 1999, so this 50p coin is a commemorative coin automatically. 

1999 "T.T. related-theme Commemorative" 50p in pictures
  • 1999 AA die letters diamond finish coin (top-left, made in 1990s);
  • 1999 AA die letters diamond finish coin (top-right, made in 2010s);
  • More closer look at between two above.
Note
  • obverse designers I. Rank-Broadley (IRB)
  • NO T.T. logo
  • IOM T.T. races became part of  FIM ROAD RACING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP GRAND PRIX held since 1949 in the Isle of Man (the 50th Anni.)
  • Commemorative issue coinage
1999 T.T. Commemorative 50p Coin Reverse (left made in 1990s & right made in 2000s)
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1999 T.T. Commemorative 50p Coin Reverse (left made in 1990s & right made in 2000s)
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1999 T.T. Commemorative 50p Coin Reverse (left made in 1990s & right made in 2000s)
1999 T.T. Commemorative 50p Coin Obverse (left made in 1990s & right made in 2010s)
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1999 T.T. Commemorative 50p Coin Obverse (left made in 1990s & right made in 2010s)
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1999 T.T. Commemorative 50p Coin Obverse (left made in 1990s & right made in 2010s)
1999 T.T. Commemorative 50p Closer Look (made in 1990s (left) & 2010s (right))
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1999 T.T. Commemorative 50p Closer Look (made in 1990s (left) & 2010s (right))
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1999 T.T. Commemorative 50p Closer Look (made in 1990s (left) & 2010s (right))
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1999 T.T. Commemorative 50p Closer Look (made in 1990s (left) & 2010s (right))
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1999 T.T. Commemorative 50p Closer Look (made in 1990s (left) & 2010s (right))

2004 The trophy

The trophy was minted on 50p coins in both 2004 & 2007. The one in 2007 was meant to celebrate 100th Anni of The T.T. along side with sidecar. It is five years later since the previous one the T.T. coins.

2004 
  • 2004 AA standard finish 50p coin (i.e., appears lustrous).
Note
  • obverse designer I. Rank-Broadley (IRB),
  • The TT logo next to the trophy.
2004 IOM T.T. The Trophy 50p Coin with AA die letters
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2004 IOM T.T. The Trophy 50p Coin with AA die letters
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2004 IOM T.T. The Trophy 50p Coin with AA die letters

2007 The trophy

In this year, two 50ps exist, and both to celebrate 100th Anni. of The T.T..

2007 
Type I: the trophy
  • 2007 AA standard finish 50p coin (top);
  • 2007 Diamond Finish 50p Coin, the Trophy (middle).
Type II: sidecar
  • 2007 AA standard finish 50p coin (middle);
  • 2007 Diamond Finish 50p Coin, Sidecar (down).
Note
  • obverse designers I. Rank-Broadley (IRB)
  • As exact same as the 2004 one 
  • T.T. logo both noted.
2007 IOM T.T. the Trophy Currency 50p Coin with AA die letters
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2007 IOM T.T. the Trophy Currency 50p Coin with AA die letters
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2007 IOM T.T. the Trophy Currency 50p Coin with AA die letters
2007 IOM T.T. The Trophy Commemorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin
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2007 IOM T.T. The Trophy Commemorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin
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2007 IOM T.T. The Trophy Commemorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin
2007 IOM T.T. Sidecar Currency 50p Coin with AA die letters
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2007 IOM T.T. Sidecar Currency 50p Coin with AA die letters
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2007 IOM T.T. Sidecar Currency 50p Coin with AA die letters
2007 IOM T.T. Sidecar Commeorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin
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2007 IOM T.T. Sidecar Commeorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin
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2007 IOM T.T. Sidecar Commeorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin

2009 Honda at T.T. 50 years

2009 Honda at T.T. 50 years in pictures
  • AA standard finish 50p coin (top panel),
  • Diamond finish 50p coin (bottom panel).
Note
  • obverse designer I. Rank-Broadley (IRB)
  • Honda logo & TT logo noted
2009 IOM T.T. Currency 50p Coin with AA die letters
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2009 IOM T.T. Currency 50p Coin with AA die letters
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2009 IOM T.T. Currency 50p Coin with AA die letters
2009 IOM T.T. Honda Commeorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin
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2009 IOM T.T. Honda Commeorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin
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2009 IOM T.T. Honda Commeorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin

2010 Suzuki at T.T. 50 years

2010 Suzuki at T.T. 50 years in pictures
  • AA standard finish 50p coin (top panel),
  • Diamond finish 50p coin (bottom panel).
Note
  • obverse designer I. Rank-Broadley (IRB)
  • TT logo noted
2010 IOM T.T. Currency 50p Coin with AA die letters
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2010 IOM T.T. Currency 50p Coin with AA die letters
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2010 IOM T.T. Currency 50p Coin with AA die letters
2010 IOM T.T. Suzuki Commeorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin
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2010 IOM T.T. Suzuki Commeorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin
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2010 IOM T.T. Suzuki Commeorative Diamond Finish 50p Coin

2011 Yamaha at T.T. 50 years

2011 Yamaha at T.T. 50 years in pictures
  • AA standard finish 50p coin (top panel).
Note
  • obverse designer I. Rank-Broadley (IRB)
  • TT logo noted
2011 IOM T.T. Currency 50p Coin with AA die letters
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2011 IOM T.T. Currency 50p Coin with AA die letters
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2011 IOM T.T. Currency 50p Coin with AA die letters

2012 Enduro Motorcycle

This bit information it is not related to T.T. 50p coins, but in 2012, IOM issued 3x 50p coins. One is related to the Queen, diamond jubilee (for the Queen). One is related to the Olympic Games held in London (for the Country, i.e., the great even on earth). The last one is related to motorcycle event (for the Isle of Man, i.e., off-road racing).
 
2012 Enduro Motorcycle in pictures
  • No die marks standard finish 50p coin (top panel);
  • AA die marks standard finish 50p coins (down panel).

Note
  • Enduro Motorcycle noted
  • obverse designer I. Rank-Broadley (IRB)
  • Motor cross (off-road racing)
  • Rider David Knight (IOM)
  • 3 events happened in UK in 2012. a) 2012 the Olympic Games held in London UK 2012 (Cyclist From IOM). b) the Diamond Jubilee  of Elizabeth II in 2012 (Queen Victoria celebrated in 1897). c) Great sport related to IOM (Motor racing famous around the islands).
2012 Enduro Motorcycle 50p coin without die marks
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2012 Enduro Motorcycle 50p coin without die marks
2012 Enduro Motorcycle 50p coin with AA
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2012 Enduro Motorcycle 50p coin with AA
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2012 Enduro Motorcycle 50p coin with AA

2014 ...

2015 T.T. the legends

Suddenly, they change the T.T. series theme from a motor with either two wheels or person to great achievement in T.T. history. In this year, 3 types of coins are able to see as below.  

2015 T.T. the legends at T.T. in pictures
  • AA standard finish 50p coin (top);
  • AB standard finish 50p coin (middle);
  • Without die marks diamond finish 50p coin (bottom).
Note
  • TT logo noted
  • New theme called T.T. the Legends
  • obverse designer I. Rank-Broadley (IRB)
2015 T.T. The Legends Currency 50p Coin with AA die letters
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2015 T.T. The Legends Currency 50p Coin with AA die letters
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2015 T.T. The Legends Currency 50p Coin with AA die letters
2015 T.T. the Legends Currency 50p Coin with AB die letters
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2015 T.T. the Legends Currency 50p Coin with AB die letters
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2015 T.T. the Legends Currency 50p Coin with AB die letters
2015 T.T. the Legends Diamond Finish 50p Coin without die letters
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2015 T.T. the Legends Diamond Finish 50p Coin without die letters
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2015 T.T. the Legends Diamond Finish 50p Coin without die letters

2016 T.T. the legends

To be continued ... sadly, it is hard.

The circle definitely is back again just like the circle happened in 2003/04 on gibraltar coinages.

Briefly, if you look back the TT and TT related 50p coins minted by the Pobjoy mint on behalf of the government of Isle of Man, you probably will find the TT theme was entirely talking about People, Machine makers and Events (TT and TTF1 & TTF2).  

Finally, Farewell, 03/2017. Farewell Pobjoy mint.
Thank you for the joyment you brought us. 
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