In Brief

Rare 50p coins: how to spot the valuable ones

Some limited editions are worth far more than their face value - will the Brexit coin be one of the them?

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has unveiled the commemorative 50p coin marking the UK’s exit from the European Union.

Around three million Brexit coins, which are dated 31 January, with the inscription “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations”, will enter circulation from Friday. Another seven million will be added later this year.

“This is third time lucky for the Brexit 50p as a previous batch of 1,000 prototypes struck for the previously planned departure date of March 29 last year had to be melted down,” says This is Money.

So will they be worth anything to coin 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.

Generally, the rarer the coin, the more valuable it is. Therefore, This is Money says, numismatists are “not particularly enthused” about the Brexit batch because there will be ten million in circulation.

However, the site says that investors are still excited about rare coins that are sometimes thrown up by new issues, such as coins marked with the old 29 March or 31 October dates.

Adam Hopkin, of coin and bullion dealer Chards, says one of these could “fetch several thousand pounds”.

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 2019.

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”, says 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. However, a rare silver Kew Gardens 50p sold at auction for £400 in 2018. iNews says the coin was a proof, meaning it was uncirculated and extremely rare.

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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, triathlon and wrestling designs rounding out the top five.

Last year, 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, says 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 are the Flopsy Bunny coin, the 2018 Peter Rabbit mint and one featuring Jemima Puddle-Duck.

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