Britain's Royal Mint launches coin for 80th anniversary of D-Day landings

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Royal Mint has launched a coin marking next month's 80th anniversary of the 1944 D-Day landings, when 150,000 Allied soldiers invaded France to drive out the forces of Nazi Germany.

Designed by artist David Lawrence with support from Imperial War Museums, the 50 pence coin, equivalent to around 60 cents, depicts Allied soldiers disembarking onto a beach in Normandy as war planes fly above.

It is inscribed with “D-DAY 6 JUNE 1944 UTAH OMAHA GOLD JUNO SWORD”, referring to the codenamed beaches where Allied troops landed in history's largest amphibious invasion on June 6, 1944.

The portrait of Britain's King Charles is on the other side.

"We are proud to unveil this tribute to the courage and resilience of British and Allied troops eight decades ago, which will serve as a permanent reminder of their sacrifices and bravery," Rebecca Morgan, director of commemorative coin at the Royal Mint, said in a statement.

As part of its unveiling, French sand artist Jehan-Benjamin Tarain produced a 35-metre (115 ft) diameter depiction of the new coin on Gold Beach in northern France. Together with fellow sand artist Sam Dougados, it took them 5 hours and 30 minutes to create the sand art, the Royal Mint said.

($1 = 0.7875 pounds)

(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Alison Williams)