The Royal Mint is releasing redesigned 50p coins showcasing each of the 29 Olympic and Paralympic sports taking place at London 2012. For the first time in the Mint's history, the London 2012 Sports Collection coins were designed by members of the British public through an open submission competition.

The competition was launched in January 2009, and the Mint received over 30,000 entries. These were whittled down to 29 by a panel from the Royal Mint, London 2012 and the International Olympic Committee.

The Royal Mint is trumpeting that the winners come from a wide range of backgrounds, from a 10-year-old schoolgirl to a 75 year old retired social worker, but many appear to be professional creatives -- including graphic designers Davey Podmore (who designed the Rowing coin) and Sarah Harvey (Triathlon), designer and metalworker Jonathan Olliffe (both Aquatics and Gymnastics), and the Royal Mint's own engraver and designer Robert Evans (Hockey). The Cycling coin artist is Theo Crutchley-Mack, a 16-year-old who's just started college in west Yorkshire studying art and design.

None of the coin designs could be described as artistically groundbreaking, but the Football coin's explanation of the offisde rule amused us greatly. It was designed by 26-year-old production journalist Neil Wolfson.