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Coins are a huge collectors’ item, with the Royal Mint often producing limited edition coins for people to buy and keep. The rarer the coin, the higher the value is likely to be. Recently, the Royal Mint revealed the top ten rarest 50 pence pieces in circulation.
That got us thinking – could some of our readers have a small fortune stashed away in an old bag or purse? Since the move to ‘new money’ over 51 years ago, there have been a whopping 70 variations of the 50p coin. There have also been plenty of rare and unique designs, with collectors desperate to get their hands on them.
What is so special about the 50p coin? Well, it has become the most values and collected coin in the UK. Because it is the largest British coin in circulation, it has the most space for special designs and artwork, with many pieces being used to celebrate historical moments over the years.
50p coins are commonly used to commemorate important events. These include designs for events such as the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings, the 50th anniversary of the National Health Service and the 2012 Olympic Games.
As mentioned, the rarer the coin, the higher the value is likely to be. This is the case with many collectibles. The mintage is the number of coins made in each design. The lower the mintage, the higher the value. A low mintage is hugely attractive to collectors and is often the greatest selling point.
As with collectibles such as watches, gemstones and even handbags, the condition is fundamental when wanting to sell a coin. Misprints or errors in design can also make a coin more desirable to buyers.
Of course, the design on the coin contributes greatly to how sought after a coin is.
Interestingly, the value also depends on who you ask. If you get a valuation from a coin dealer and sell through them, you may get a more robust, fixed fee for your coin. However, selling at an auction house or on an online marketplace such as eBay could reduce the limits on the amount people will pay for a particular coin. Thus, you could get more money, as many coin collectors will bid highly during auctions.
The Kew Gardens 50p was originally released in 2009, and is the most sought-after 50 pence piece. Just 210,000 were put into circulation, with most of them falling into private hands. Kew Gardens is the most famous royal botanical garden in the nation, with the design featuring the famous Chinese Pagoda at Kew.
The chances of getting your hands on one of these is slim. This is due to the low mintage due to the lack of demand for the 50p denomination in the UK at time of its release.
Another version of the Kew Gardens 50p was released in 2019 to celebrate 50 years of the 50 pence piece. Released 10 years after the original design, the 2019 bears a slightly different effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and of course, a different date.
This is the 50p piece that often sparks the interest of novice coin collectors. In the past, this coin has sold for as much as £895 on eBay previously. There are currently listings on eBay such as this ‘2009 Royal Mint Kew Gardens 50p Coin Presentation Pack’ for £375.
The Olympic Football coin was yet another coin designed in order to celebrate the prestigious 2012 Olympic Games. Just 1,125,500 of these coins were minted. This is the first of many Olympic Games 50 pence pieces to grace this list.
Not only were the 2012 London games a huge event, with the country coming together for the historical occasion to celebrate sport. But football itself is an extremely popular sport in general, standing the test of time. Because of this, a coin collector, who is also a keen football fan, may be even more eager to get their hands on this piece.
This coin was originally available to purchase from the Royal Mint in July 2010 for £2.99. According to Coin Hunter, over 12 years later, a circulated version of this coin could currently get you £13. A brand new, uncirculated coin in the original packaging could earn you a nice £26. This is nothing to be sniffed at – this is a price increase of 770%!
The Olympic Wrestling 50p was made to commemorate the London 2012 Olympic games. This often attracts a lot of interest from collectors due to its rarity and subsequent value. Although this is just one of the 29 designs minted for the games, it is one of the rarest in circulation.
Created over a decade ago, this coin has had plenty of time to filter through various hands and wallets through the years. Just 1,129,500 were put into circulation, with many spenders not realising this significance and worth of this coin. To put this number in context, there are approximately 200 million regular 50p coins in circulation, making this design highly valuable.
This coin previously sold for £52.88 online, meaning your 50p could be worth over 100 times more than the face value.
Judo may be a sport involving holding down your opponent, but these 50p pieces aren’t so easy to get your hands on. The coin was designed by a David Cornell, who won a competition which saw his design printed on just over one million 50p coins.
There were 1,161,500 of these coins put into general circulation. These coins are selling from £11 on average, a value increase of 2,100% in the 11 years since they were first minted. If you have one of these coins in packaging with a cover, you could get £37. A nice bit of pocket money!
In total, 1,163,500 of these coins were made in 2011. The triathlon is a popular part of the Olympic games. A coin seems the perfect way to celebrate the sport.
Bids on online marketplace on eBay have reached £34 previously. However, Coin Hunter suggests uncirculated Triathlon 50p pieces in their original packaging could fetch approximately £79.
There are other 50p coins which could fetch you some cash. You may not even realise you have them lying around! Here are five more valuable and rare 50p pieces, including the year they were minted and their mintage – the number of them in circulation.
It isn’t just old coins which catch the eye of collectors. New coins can collect a nice sum of cash too. In fact, just a few years ago in 2019, the Royal Mint re-released some of the rarest 50p coins. Five of the most popular coins were released to celebrate half a decade of the 50p coin, all surrounding British Culture.
These new coins were made with old designs. However some of them featured a slightly different effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth than the original releases. One of these re-releases was the Kew Gardens piece, as discussed earlier. The other four re-releases in the set include 100 years of Girl Guiding, 100 years of Scouting for boys, the first sub-four-minute mile and a newly minted version of the old ‘New Pence’, featuring Britannia.
In 2021, a new 50p piece came out to celebrate the achievements of Team GB. Bought new, they ranged from £11 to £102.50, depending on whether they came in a set, their colour and the rarity of them. The gold proof version was extremely rare, with only 250 minted, sold by the Royal Mint for £1,095 a piece.
Do you have a few coins lying around which you think could be worth a little something? If you are lucky enough to have picked up a rare coin or have had one in a penny pot for a few years, why not see if you could get more than face value for the piece?
There are a few ways in which you can find out the value of your coin. Firstly, of course, you could check out online marketplaces such as eBay. Searching the full name of the coin and filtering the results to show ‘sold’ items will give you an idea of how much they have sold for previously. Similarly, you could refine your search to show the results from highest to lowest, so you can see the higher end of the price you could pocket.
There are also useful online tools which can help you estimate the value of your 50p. Coin Hunter is a brilliant site which gives you estimations for your coin. This is based on the average of the most recent sales. It also gives you an estimate of the different prices circulated and uncirculated versions can sell for. Plus, how much the price has increased since it was first minted.
Some websites, such as Change Checker have a scale which shows you just how rare a coin could be. The Scarcity Index gives you an idea of where your coin ranks.
If you believe your coin is worth a decent sum of money, you could always visit an independent coin dealer. A pawn shop could also give a rough estimate. You may even wish to sell any very rare coins at auction.