In Brief

Rare 50p coins: which are the most valuable?

Commemorative Platinum Jubilee coin reminiscent of other historic designs

A new 50p coin commemorating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee has today been revealed by the Royal Mint.

The coin has been designed by John Bergdahl and personally approved by Her Majesty to celebrate her 70th year on the throne. 

The design shows the royal on horseback, an image that the Royal Mint has said represents the Queen’s fondness of nature, and is reminiscent of the equestrian designs for the 1953 Coronation and 2002 Golden Jubilee pieces. 

The image will feature on the obverse “heads” side of collectable 50p coins and the traditional £5 crown. The other side will feature the number 70.

Will the new coin be worth anything to collectors?

Some 50p coins are worth considerably more than their face value, with eagle-eyed collectors, or numismatists, willing to pay huge sums for rare editions.

“There’s no hard and fast rule” that can be applied to coin valuation, said auctioneers Warwick & Warwick. But generally, the rarer the coin, the more valuable it is. 

“Non-circulating commemorative coins are particularly sought after by collectors due to their aesthetic appeal or rarity value”, so the Platinum Jubilee coin could be a piece worth holding on to. 

“However, it’s important to remember that not all commemorative coins are made equal,” the auction house added. The precious metal from which the coin is made, and whether it has a “proof” finish can also be a determining factor in valuation. And while a gold piedfort proof Jubilee coin will set collectors back £2,185, the brilliant finish comes in at £7, according to the Royal Mint.

Which 50p coins are the most valuable overall?

To help spot which 50p coins are worth holding on to, experts at Changechecker.org have compiled an index that tracks the scarcity of 50p coins. Here are the top ones, according to the latest list, updated in November 2021.

Kew Gardens: The rarest 50p coin currently in general circulation is a Kew Gardens piece, designed to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Royal Botanic Gardens in 2009.

It depicts the Gardens’ famous pagoda and only a relatively small batch of 210,000 were minted, “meaning you can now expect around £80 for one”, said iNews.

Coin collecting book Spend It? Save It? What should you do?, written by Phil Mussell and the production team of Coin News Magazine, estimates the coin’s value at around £100. Last year, one sold on eBay for 340 its face value at £170 - though that’s small fry compared to one spotted by The Sun back in February, which was going for £707.

2012 Olympics: There were 29 different 50p designs released in 2010 and 2011 to mark the 2012 Olympics Games in London, with each design representing a different sport. These dominate the Changechecker scarcity index, with the football, judo, tennis, triathlon and wrestling designs rounding out the top five.

In 2019, one Olympic 50p sold on eBay for £590, 1,180 times its face value. It depicted an Olympic swimmer in action, with wavy lines across their face to represent water, and was one of only 600 coins ever produced before the design was amended to show the athlete more prominently, said the Daily Mirror.

Beatrix Potter: Aside from the Kew Gardens coin and the Olympics designs, the only other three in Changechecker’s top 20 are related to Beatrix Potter. The series was first minted in 2016 to mark 150 years since the author’s birth, but has had some further releases since.

The rarest is the 2018 Peter Rabbit mint, followed by Flopsy Bunny and Mrs. Tittlemouse.

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