Ultimate Guide: The Top 10 Rarest Coins in Circulation

Have I just found a rare coin? It’s a question which collectors ask daily, and to help answer it, we’ve put together these charts showing the TOP 10 rarest coins for each of the four denominations on the Change Checker App.

How does your coin stack up against the others?

The Northern Ireland 2002 Commonwealth Games is the rarest £2 coin currently in circulation – in fact the four designs in the 2002 Commonwealth Games series can be found in the top ten chart. Others to look out for include both 2008 and 2012 Olympic Handover Two Pound Coin designs and the 2015 Royal Navy £2.

The rarest One Pound coin currently in circulation is the Edinburgh £1 – have you ever spotted one in your change? The Royal Arms is a common design which is sometimes ignored, but remember to look out for one with a 2008 date – that’s actually the fourth rarest.

A chart showing the rarest £1 coins in circulation

The Olympic Fifty Pence series is very popular with Change Checkers, but in terms of rarity, there really isn’t much separating the top 10 designs. The Football ‘Offside Rule’ 50p was certainly one of the most talked about designs, and it also narrowly ranks as the scarcest.

The top 10 rarest designs in the famous Olympic sports 50p series

As mentioned in our previous blog the rarest coin, of any denomination, is the Kew Gardens 50p. Its status as the most scarce coin has been well publicised, and as a result, many are hoarded by collectors. The chart below illustrates just how rare it is compared with other Fifty Pence designs.


Hopefully our charts will help you identify which coins you should be looking for in your loose change, and remember you can Find, Collect and Swap all your coins for FREE with the Change Checker App: www.changechecker.org/app



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  1. Matthew on August 7, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    Although no significant changes for the10 pence, aside from the shield change, how about a table for the most significant variation problems with cud etc.?

    • Mark Liversidge on August 10, 2015 at 2:59 pm

      Hi Matthew, thanks for your comment. We will certainly consider publishing a blog post on that topic, although it would be geared towards all denominations rather than just the 10p.

      • Matthew on August 10, 2015 at 3:19 pm

        Thanks, I think the ‘variations’ of all denominations tends to be over looked as not classed/admitted as errors. Some are quite obvious, and favourites exist for all. I lean towards missing designer initials and the queens ‘doubled’ image.

  2. ernie on July 27, 2015 at 10:31 am

    i have a 2007 50p (scouts) but i notice you have it in your ultimate guide dated 2009 have you got it wrong?

    • Mark Liversidge on July 27, 2015 at 1:46 pm

      Hi Ernie, you are absolutely right – this has now been updated. Thanks for letting us know!

  3. George Slade on July 24, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    Trying to find the guide to the 10p??

    • Mark Liversidge on July 27, 2015 at 9:53 am

      Hi George, we have only included the four main denominations which feature on the Change Checker App. There haven’t been many design changes for the 10p so I’m afraid there isn’t a Top 10 chart. Perhaps we can help if you have a specific query?

  4. Carl Gray on July 24, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Am I right in thinking the rarest 50p (E.C. single market demonetised in 1997) was never issued for general circulation but only issued in commemorative or Royal Mint sets.)

    • Mark Liversidge on July 24, 2015 at 11:35 am

      Hi Carl, the EC Single Market 50p was issued in specimen sets, but 109,000 were also struck for general circulation.

      • Sharron Morgan on July 26, 2015 at 8:27 pm

        so then does this not make this the rarest 50p coin minted.

      • Mark Liversidge on July 27, 2015 at 9:56 am

        Hi Sharron, yes it is the rarest 50p coin ever minted. However, we haven’t included it in these charts as it is no longer in circulation.

  5. Michael on July 23, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    You say the Royal Arms 2008 £1 coin is the 4th rarest, how many Royal Arms 1983 coins were minted?

    • Mark Liversidge on July 23, 2015 at 4:09 pm

      Hi Michael, there were over 443 million Royal Arms £1 coins struck in 1983. That was the very first year the £1 coin was introduced so a high quantity was needed. There were progressively fewer struck in each of the subsequent years.

      • Michael on July 23, 2015 at 4:27 pm

        Thanks for that, I have all the £1 coins in my collection so now it’s time to look for different dates, The Royal Arms 2008 looks a good place to start, thanks again.

  6. Irene Green on July 23, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Thank you, this was very interesting

  7. Andy on July 23, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    this is great to be able to check with – Thankyou

  8. Barry on July 22, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    The 50pence table is missing the rarest one:
    United Kingdom’s Presidency of the Council of Ministers and the completion of the Single European Market.
    Only 109,000 were issued.

    • Mark Liversidge on July 23, 2015 at 8:58 am

      Hi Barry, these charts are only for coins which are currently in circulation. The EC Single Market 50p is one of the older versions which were demonetised and replaced in 1997. You are quite right though, that is the rarest 50p ever struck for circulation.

  9. Sheila on July 22, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    Very intetesting