Real, Fake and Re-issued… The inside story on the Kew Gardens 50p!

In the world of coin collecting, there’s one 50p in particular which is prized above all others. The one coin collectors strive to add to their collections… The Kew Gardens 50p.

We’ve taken a look at the inside story of this famed 50p to give you all the details you need to know about the coin – real, fake and re-issued…

Celebrating the 250th anniversary of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew

Released by The Royal Mint in 2009 to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, the striking design by Christopher Le Brun RA features the famous Chinese Pagoda at Kew entwined by a decorative leafy climber. It’s an image I’m sure many Change Checkers are familiar with, but not every Change Checker has been lucky enough to find one, and that’s because the mintage figures for this coin are so low…

The scarcest UK coin in circulation

In 2014, The Royal Mint revealed that only 210,000 Kew Gardens 50p coins had been struck, making it the scarcest UK coin in circulation.

Until this point, the coin had been somewhat overlooked, but once collectors realised just how rare this coin really was, the race was on to find one in their change – a challenge which to this day has coin collectors hunting far and wide for the chance to find one.

It’s estimated that just 1 in 300 people are likely to come across the Kew Gardens. When you compare its scarcity to the average 5 million coins per design usually issued into circulation, you start to really understand just how rare this coin is.

Whilst we don’t know for sure why so few coins were struck, we do know that The Royal Mint strikes new coins to meet the demand from cash centres, banks, Post Offices and distribution centres and perhaps demand was low that year. This might also have been in preparation for the 29 50p designs that would be released a few years later for the London Olympics. 

It’s important to mention that there were also 128,364 Brilliant Uncirculated Kew Gardens 50p coins minted, meaning the rarity of the Kew Gardens design lies in its circulating form, rather than with the uncirculated coins.

Selling for over 200 times face value

Those that have come across the Kew Gardens 50p have the opportunity to make a tasty profit on the 50p, with our eBay Tracker figures showing the average sold price for the coin at £138, with some in good condition still selling for even more!

Bidders have driven phenomenal prices for the Kew Gardens 50p on eBay, which continues to sell at over 200 times face value. However, there are chancers out there that have been seen to list the coin for eye watering amounts in the thousands! As our blog debunking eBay coin prices explains, whilst a coin might be listed for a high price, it is actually unlikely to have sold for this price. However, high priced coins on eBay often draw attention from press articles, which further feeds into the hype surrounding the coin.

Kew Gardens selling for £1,000. Credit: eBay

Beware of fakers

Unfortunately for collectors, fake Kew Gardens 50p coins are out there and to the untrained eye they can be tricky to spot… Take a look at the infographic below to find out what you should be looking for to spot a fake Kew Gardens 50p:

You can also check out our video guide on how to spot a fake Kew Gardens 50p here:

Re-issued Kew Gardens 50p

Towards the end of 2018, The Royal Mint announced that the coin would be re-issued in 2019 as part of the 50th anniversary of the 50p coin set and unsurprisingly when these coins became available they were snapped up by collectors in a matter of mere hours!

The set was made available in base Proof, Silver Proof and Gold Proof specifications, at a very limited number. In fact, the full range of 3,500 base Proof sets, 1,969 of the Silver and just 75 Gold completely SOLD OUT!

Has the 2009 Kew Gardens 50p become less valuable?

Some collectors were nervous that re-issuing the Kew Gardens 50p would cause the value of the original 2009 coin to drop. We can confidently say that due to the fact the re-issued coin is dated 2019 and didn’t enter circulation, the scarcity of the original 2009 dated coin has not be affected and this continues to be the UK’s scarcest coin currently in circulation.

50 years of the 50p Base Proof set

Have you been lucky enough to find a Kew Gardens 50p in your change? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. marie trevivian on February 5, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    a friend showed me a kew gardens 50p which he bought for £2.99p on E bay it was brand new and had the word copy printed on it by the queens neck, don’t know how many have been sold but didn’t think anyone would spend money on an obvious fake, didn’t compare with my genuine one

  2. kimkimin4seas on February 1, 2019 at 11:03 pm

    How much is the re-production 50p Kew Garden in 2017 worth?

    • Rachel Hooper on February 4, 2019 at 9:36 am

      Hi, I’m not aware of a 2017 re-production of the Kew Gardens 50p. Is this a coin you have bought?

  3. Karen on February 1, 2019 at 7:57 pm

    I bought my kew gardens 50p off eBay for £32 , not long after it was revealed to be scarce.At the time that was the most I’d paid for a coin, but it was a very good investment….my friends laughed at me, called me mad.who’s laughing now.

    • Rachel Hooper on February 4, 2019 at 10:09 am

      That was a very good buy Karen!

  4. Del Green on February 1, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    Had one but because I had a mint set gave it away to a friend. {GUTTED]

  5. Diana on January 28, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    I managed to find a Kew Gardens in my change in the middle of last year. It made my day & im still on the look out fir another one ( greedy I know but what a find )

    • Rachel Hooper on January 29, 2019 at 8:43 am

      Very lucky! Well done Diana 🙂

  6. Luke on January 22, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    Its a shame we cant calculate how many are still in circulation and not been removed in to collections. Did have 1 before the boom but son paid the chippy man with some 50ps ahhhh lol. May get lucky again one day 🙂

  7. Deborah HAGUE on January 19, 2019 at 4:49 pm

    I have 3 Kew gardens plus quite a few of each of
    The battle of Britain
    Battle of Hastings
    Glasgow commonwealth games
    Benjamin Britten
    Victory cross
    Charles Dickens
    Rugby world cup
    Mary Rose
    Rio 12-16
    Robbie Burns
    Auld Lang syne and
    King James Bible
    Can you tell me if it is worth saving any of the above as l would like to reduce my collection.

  8. Disco Dave on January 19, 2019 at 12:38 am

    Question. So it’s 2019 and 2017 coins are not in circulation yet? Doesn’t make sense to me, other than the Royal Mint jumping on the same “band wagon’ as the post office years ago (and royal mail still) and creating a false market.

  9. Roy Hollingworth on January 17, 2019 at 9:56 pm

    Many years ago I started chucking any “non standard” 50p pieces in a pot to see how many different ones I could find. When coin collecting took off with the issue of the Olympic coins I had about 16 different pre-Olympic designs and guess what! The Kew Gardens coin was amongst them. The “IRB” on the obverse is smaller than most of the other designs, is this correct or is fake?

    • Rachel Hooper on January 18, 2019 at 8:29 am

      Fantastic, what a good idea Roy and it certainly paid off! If the IRB is noticeably smaller than other coins with the 4th portrait then unfortunately you might have a fake, but you could always send it to The Royal Mint for verification to be sure.

    • Disco Dave on January 19, 2019 at 12:22 am

      Have you not read and looked at the article you are commenting on? It is what it’s all about!

  10. Dayle Morgan on January 17, 2019 at 4:46 pm

    In the end, all these coins wont be worth much because of all the people hoarding them, new collectors wont be able to get coins without paying for them so will lose interest. You would make more money annually checking all your personal finance and stop wasting money on things you buy and don’t even use. Coin collecting is about the excitement not a few pence its certainly not going to support you financially.

    • Charles Patrick O'Brien on February 1, 2019 at 4:28 pm

      Hi Dayle, I commented a few weeks ago about how Change Checker had caused a lot of the problem with the tables or charts of number 1 ,2. etc: people showing off with 20 Kew in their “collection” money making collection that is and the posts asking how much is it worth, spoiled it for us collectors, me I’ve been collecting since 1958 when family members returned from national service and brought home some foreign coins and gave them to us kids.

      • Rachel Hooper on February 4, 2019 at 2:05 pm

        Hi Charles, sorry to hear you’re not happy with our charts. Can you let me know which ones in particular you are referring to? There are many collectors out there that see building their collection as a fun hobby, however there will always be those who look to sell their collections too. I’m sorry you feel that the hobby has been spoiled. It sounds as though you have some really special and meaningful coins from family members in your collection.

  11. Stan Crickett on January 17, 2019 at 7:21 am

    I’ve managed to find two kew 50p so far

  12. Mark on January 16, 2019 at 6:12 pm

    I am lucky enoug to have 7 Kew Gardens as I knew about them before it was on the news and in the papers which started the collecting frenzy ……….

    • Rachel Hooper on January 17, 2019 at 9:01 am

      That’s very lucky!!

  13. Luke Smith on January 16, 2019 at 5:33 pm

    Had the kew and put it on my shelf as i kept any different looking 50p’s aside, then few months later found out its a rare one went to grab it and that and my off side 50p had disappeared?? Asked my wife and yes she grabed them to buy some milk from tesco ?

    • Rachel Hooper on January 17, 2019 at 9:02 am

      That’s rotten luck! Of all the coins she could have chosen it had to be the two scarcest! Hopefully you’ll manage to come across them again some day.

  14. Allan Bennett on January 16, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    i have a silver technologies £2 coin 2011 with a few errors on it ive never seen one before how do i get it tested to see if its geniune ? thanks

    • Rachel Hooper on January 16, 2019 at 4:45 pm

      Hi Allan, I would suggest sending in the coin to The Royal Mint who offer a verification service. This service costs £20; they will send the coin back to you with confirmation of their findings, which can take a few weeks depending on demand for the service.

  15. Leslie John Hamilton on January 16, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    Ref kew gardens being spent. I had a chance of a second kew. There was one on the german ebay for 50 euros it was sold for 51 euros. I didn’t buy it as I didnt want my girl freind moaning at me. I do have kew gardens so thats my pension sorted out for a week. As for the 2019 kew there were non as far as I know on the international site. Such a shame I would have loved to have a 2019 coin set. Rant over. I must cook my dinner. Byeeeeeeeee ☺

  16. Tony Jennings-Temple on January 16, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    I have been lucky enough to have collected TWO Kew gardens 50p’s. Both in change from the same shop roughly 2 years apart.

  17. Barry Evans on January 16, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    hi, when oh when are we going to get Aviation & Jane Austin from 2017 in our change.

    • Rachel Hooper on January 16, 2019 at 4:38 pm

      The Royal Mint haven’t yet confirmed when/if these coins will enter circulation.

      • David on January 30, 2019 at 11:03 pm

        Hi Rachel, On being on some of the coin groups it was said that the Royal Mint had confirmed that the Aviation and Jane Austin wouldn’t be going into circulation. Is this wrong

      • Rachel Hooper on January 31, 2019 at 8:36 am

        Hi David, there hasn’t been any official confirmation that these coins aren’t entering circulation, but we will let you know when we do hear from The Royal Mint.

  18. Terry on January 16, 2019 at 12:37 pm

    Actually the rarest 50p is the dual date 1992/1993 Council of Ministers Single Market with a mintage 109,000 and not the Kew Gardens with a mintage of 338,364 inclusive. Figures obtained from the Royal Mint. I suggest you amend your records.

    • Rachel Hooper on January 16, 2019 at 4:40 pm

      Hi Terry, as the 1992/93 coin is no longer in circulation, the Kew Gardens is in fact the rarest 50p coin in circulation at the moment. The dual dated 1992/93 coin is very interesting though and is featured on our eBay Tracker.

    • SIMON on January 16, 2019 at 8:37 pm


      • Rachel Hooper on January 17, 2019 at 8:59 am

        Hi Simon, the Gibraltar Christmas coins are lovely and many of the British Isles coins have very low mintage figures due to the smaller population compared to the UK. As they are not legal tender in the UK, they are not named as UK circulation coins so again the Kew remains king, but they are certainly sought after and the mintage figure for the 1988 coin is incredibly low! It’s such a shame that your coin is no longer with you and I really feel for your buyer having his whole collection stolen, that must have been awful.

    • Christina on February 1, 2019 at 6:17 pm

      Wow. Thanks for the info. I have one!!

  19. Marcus on January 16, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    Are you aware of fake Coin Cover Kew Gardens 50p (the green envelope and cover ) issued by Royal Mint?
    I just received one from Good Seller from Ebay, but comparing with my others coin covers.
    The Eye and hair are less detailed.
    On the Aye definitely, the pupil is missing…
    Your Team ever find or hear about fake Coin Covers or maybe is just bad mint?
    Please advise
    Thank you

    • Rachel Hooper on January 16, 2019 at 4:42 pm

      Hi Marcus, this isn’t something I’ve heard of before, but is very interesting. You could always contact The Royal Mint to have the cover verified.

  20. Terry on January 16, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    Hi I am lucky enough to have 3 of these. One of which came from a set and is uncirculated. The other 2 are in the first collection 50p packs issued from the Royal Mint. Again making it lucky that I have two complete sets.

  21. Tom Parnell on January 16, 2019 at 11:14 am

    Hi, This is the second time I have informed you that in your list of 10 rarest 50p coins that you have the wrong design for the 1998 uk EEC coin it should be the Stars not the joined Hands (1973 coin). Just thought I’d mention it again as you replied to me you would look into it.

    • Rachel Hooper on January 16, 2019 at 12:00 pm

      Sorry Tom, this has now been updated.

  22. mr. p gaughran on January 16, 2019 at 11:06 am

    ! have a mint set from 2009,still packaged, included of course the kew garden 50p coin.

  23. David Jordan on January 16, 2019 at 10:58 am

    I was lucky enough to find 4 original 2009 50P coins. I had been collecting 50p coins from my change and was very surprised that I had so many of them. I only have 3 now because I gave my son 1 of them. As a collector I also have 2 proof sets and the piedfort set containing the coin and a silver standard proof version. Except for 1 of the proof sets purchased off ebay for a low price all of these coins were purchased from The Royal Mint.

    • Rachel Hooper on January 16, 2019 at 12:01 pm

      You’re very lucky David! Make sure you keep those coins safe.

      • David Jordan on January 16, 2019 at 1:17 pm

        Rachel Hooper. They are safe I can assure you of that. Not bragging but I also purchased the set of 16 Silver Proof 50p coins in 2009 which did have Kew Gardens in it direct from The Royal Mint..

  24. Angela on January 16, 2019 at 10:43 am

    I have one of these in my collection may check it’s not a fake lol.

  25. Angela on January 16, 2019 at 10:41 am

    Are the 2017 £2.00 COINS in circulations. ie raf and captain hook ect. I have not seen any off the coins after the 1st world war 2016 coin.

    • Rachel Hooper on January 16, 2019 at 12:02 pm

      Hi Angela, the 2017 £2 coins aren’t in circulation yet unfortunately.

  26. Libby Williams on January 16, 2019 at 9:52 am

    Lucky enough to have a Kew, will never part with it from my collection, which is for my boy eventually.

  27. David Cupples on January 16, 2019 at 9:35 am

    I have the full set of 50p coins up to 2016 but since then I find very few of the later coins in circulation and obtain them through “Change Checkers”.

  28. sh on January 16, 2019 at 9:09 am

    I have loads of 50p, £1 and £2 with lots of different designs. This includes at least one of the old kew gardens 50p.

  29. Jim on January 16, 2019 at 9:06 am

    Back in 2009 I had bought the annual Royal Mint Proof Set which included the Kew Gardens 50p, so when I received one in change that year or early in 2010, I spent it! (The one that got away – well, the mintage figures weren’t out, so I didn’t even think it would be scarce and I’d got my beautiful proof version). The proof set had a mintage of 34,438, now fetching quite a high price on ebay too.

    • Rachel Hooper on January 16, 2019 at 10:21 am

      Yes it wasn’t until 2014 when the mintage figures were released that people realised just how rare the coin was. Maybe another one will find its way into your change one day and at least you have the lovely proof version.

  30. SH on January 16, 2019 at 8:30 am

    I have at least one of these coins. Any advice?