The 50 cent coin was introduced in Trinidad and Tobago in 1966 and remains legal tender. The current design featuring steel pans on one side and the national coat of arms on the other was launched in 1976 when the country became a republic. It is larger than our 25 cent coin and just about the size/weight of a US quarter.
Use of the 50 cent coin has not been traditionally very high. We’re trying to change this as one aspect of our recent efforts to streamline and economize on the cost of minting/printing coins and banknotes. Other aspects included the demonetization of the 1 cent coin in 2018 (it cost approximately 22 cents to mint a 1 cent coin); the change in the metallic composition of coins in 2017; and the switch from cotton-based to more durable polymer-based banknotes that started in 2014.
We have built up a lot of stock of 50 cent coins over the years. If people use more of these coins, it will save the country having to mint as much of the other denominations (25, 10, 5 cent pieces). Our social media and print notices are geared at encouraging people and businesses to use, and banks to order these coins for their customers.
Overall, we wish to emphasize that the Central Bank is aiming to encourage less use of cash, and more digital transactions, in Trinidad and Tobago over time. Meanwhile, we continue to modernize and streamline our currency activities.