The rarest 50p and £2 coins revealed! UPDATED UK mintage figures.
As collectors, we often find ourselves focusing on the commemorative coins that turn up in our change, but how often do we pay attention to the definitive designs?
We wouldn’t normally combine definitive and commemorative mintage figures into one chart, however the comparative figures give us an interesting insight into the change in our pockets and actually go to show why the definitive coin designs deserve your attention…
50p Mintage Figures
Our latest charts featuring the updated commemorative coin mintage figures for circulation coins revealed the 2017 Sir Isaac Newton 50p as the second rarest UK 50p in circulation after the Kew Gardens, with a mintage of just 1,801,500. This knocked Jemima Puddle Duck off the second spot with a whopping 298,500 less coins being struck.
Change Checkers had already shown a great response to the Sir Isaac Newton coin, voting it their favourite coin design of the year in 2017. But now, as we delve deeper into the mintage figures for not only commemorative 50p coins but also the definitive designs, an unlikely rival has pipped the 2017 Isaac Newton to the post to claim the title of the second rarest UK 50p coin in circulation…
You might be surprised by the second rarest 50p in circulation…
The chart above features the mintage figures for every commemorative and definitive UK 50p coin in circulation and whilst the Kew Gardens still remains king, it came as a surprise that the second rarest 50p was actually a definitive rather than a commemorative design.
The 2017 Royal Shield 50p has a mintage of just 1,800,000 which means there are 1,500 less coins than the 2017 Sir Isaac Newton 50p. This is by far the lowest mintage figure for any definitive 50p coin, with the next rarest definitive coin having almost double the amount of coins struck – the 2008 Britannia with a mintage of 3,500,000.
Definitive 50p coin designs
Christopher Ironside’s Britannia design featured on all UK definitive coins from their first appearance in 1969 with the words ‘NEW PENCE’ inscribed above. The inscription was revised in 1982 to say ‘FIFTY PENCE’ and this design remained unchanged until 2008, when Matthew Dent’s Royal Shield design was introduced, featuring the third and fourth quarters of the Royal Arms.
It comes as no surprise that the majority of the definitive designs can be found towards the bottom of the chart, with the most common UK 50p in circulation being the 1997 Britannia. The old larger 50p and this smaller one were both dated 1997, however the larger coin was only struck as year sets, whereas the smaller circulated in very large numbers, with a mintage of 456,364,100.
The fact that the 2017 Benjamin Bunny commemorative 50p features in amongst the definitive designs goes to show just how many of this design were struck and how likely you’ll be to find one in your change.
We haven’t included the Olympic 50p coins in the mintage chart as this was a specially struck series, with low mintages figures for each coin. You can see the Olympic 50p mintage figures here >>
£2 Mintage Figures
When it comes to the £2 coins, the Commonwealth Games are some of the rarest in circulation. In fact, all four coins would be sat at the top of the mintage charts if it wasn’t for two 2015 coins…
The rarest definitive £2 coin revealed…
Many collectors will be aware of the 2015 Navy £2‘s low mintage figure of 650,000, making it the third rarest UK £2 coin in circulation, however many of us may not know that this coin is in fact joint third, as a definitive design from the same year also holds the same low mintage figure.
In 2015, the new definitive £2 coin was introduced, with a design featuring the Britannia, replacing the Technology design which had featured on the coin since 1997. Britannia has featured on a British coin in one way or another for more than 300 years, apart from after 2008 when she was dropped from the 50p coin. She received a welcome return to British coinage for the 2015 definitive £2, but with so few coins being struck, this coin has become the third rarest UK £2 coin in circulation.
The 2016 version of the coin had a higher mintage of 2,925,000, but this is still incredibly low when compared to the 1998 Technology £2, which has a mintage of 91,110,375.
Of course the most common £2 coin you’re likely to come across in your change is the Technology £2, which dominates the bottom of the chart. The rarest of the Technology £2 coins is actually the 2005 issue, with a mintage of 3,837,250, making it the eighteenth rarest UK £2 in circulation.
You may have noticed a lack of 2017 coins on the £2 chart as to date The Royal Mint haven’t confirmed if they will enter circulation. Based on The Royal Mint’s figures, we know that no 2017 Britannia coins were struck for circulation.
I was certainly surprised by the rarity of some of the definitive designs shown on the charts above and will be checking the dates of the coins in my change very carefully to see if I can find any rarer ones for myself, but will you be doing the same?
Your chance to own the 2017 Britannia £2
This coin wasn’t struck for circulation, however you can own this coin as part of the 2017 Royal Mint Annual set.
But you’ll have to be quick, as this set is no longer on sale at The Royal Mint.
How about Jane Austen £2.what is scarcity and mintage of this coin.
The Jane Austen £2 hasn’t actually entered circulation yet and we don’t yet know the mintage of this coin yet unfortunately. We’ll update you as soon as we know more.
Are 2016 £2 technology coins in circulation?
The definitive coin issued in 2016 was actually the new Britannia which has replaced the Technology.
Thanks for the information Rachael.
Now looking for the 2016, -17 & -18 to bring my collection to date. I don’t get many £2 coins in my change these days.
2015 FWW Navy and Magna Carta also exist with 4th head. Any comment.
If you have coins worth more than face value is there somewher to sell them?
Facebook coin groups and eBay are the best places to sell your coins. Always check the sold listings on eBay rather than live listings to see what people are actually willing to pay for a coin.
Hi ive got a few Peter rabbit paddington bear and mrs tittlemouse 50p coins can you tell me how much they are worth and how do I go about checking other coins i have worth thankyou.
Hi Jayne, unfortunately we don’t offer valuation, however you can take a look at this blog to determine a value for your coin: https://www.changechecker.org/2018/08/02/could-i-be-minted-the-6-point-guide-to-valuing-your-coin/
What is the up to date worth of a 20 p mule please
Hi Hugh, if you check the sold listings for the coin on eBay, you’ll see it’s currently selling at around £45.
Hi Rachel, I have a £2.00 coin in the shape of a football with 1996 written in the center of the face. Nearly twice the thickness of a normal £2.00 coin. Is it valuable, I ask as I have never ever seen another like it?
Hi Michael, this is one of the old commemorative £2 coins. You can find out more about it here: https://www.changechecker.org/coin/104/pre-1997-2pound-Football.aspx
I’ve got an isle of man TT 50p but can’t get any info on it
Hi Pippy, the Change Checker web app only lists UK coins which is why you can’t find info on your Isle of Man TT 50p. What year is the coin?
Hi Rachel can u tell me how much the 50p worth please is the 1918 people Act thanks.
Hi Christine, unfortunately we don’t offer valuation, however you can take a look at this blog to determine a value for your coin: https://www.changechecker.org/2018/08/02/could-i-be-minted-the-6-point-guide-to-valuing-your-coin/
In the 50p pyramid you show Royal Shield 2015 twice, once with 10million ish, once with 39 million ish.
This is because two different portraits were issued that year – the 4th portrait and the new 5th portrait. I’ve updated the chart now to make this clearer.
Hi Rachel can you tell me how much is my 2 pound sterling worth the first one come out with 1689 to 1989 &1981 A 5 shilling the prince of wales and lady Diana spencer how much is it worth can you let me know my name is Joe thanks
Hi Joe, unfortunately, we are unable to tell you what your coins are worth as this depends on so many variables. However, if you have a read of our blog “Could I be minted? – The 6 point guide to valuing your coins”, you should be able to determine a realistic value for your coins – https://www.changechecker.org/2018/08/02/could-i-be-minted-the-6-point-guide-to-valuing-your-coin/
Do you do anything similar for coins like the 2018 Newton 50p or the 2017 Britannia £2 that never went into circulation, and in theory are therefore relatively rare?
It would also be useful if you could download the article as a PDF to print or save.
Not sure whether to mention it, but there is a typo, “an unlikely rivel has pipped the 2017 Isaac Newton” should be rival.
Hi James, unfortunately as we don’t know the mintages for these coins we can’t create a mintage chart or predict how rare they are. We would assume that the 2018 Sir Isaac Newton is rare as the only place people were able to get hold of this coin was at The Royal Mint Experience. You can print out the web page if you’d like a copy of the article. Where you select the printer you can actually change this to ‘Save as PDF’ if you’d rather not actually print it out. Hope this helps. Thanks, Rachel
I have isaac Newton 50p coin from the Royal mint, and it is in the original packaging.
I’ve read on this website that the Gold Olympic 50p are the most rarest coins. They ‘and correct me if incorrect’ are the only UK circulation coins which only had one off gold coin made for each design. All other uk circulation coins have had many gold coins made. Has anyone ever seen one of these coins or has any been put up for sale yet?
Hi Sean, yes only one of each design was struck in gold and gifted to the winning designer. I doubt these will ever be put up for sale as they are a one off.
Love these blogs and love collecting coins. Reminds me of collecting album stickers as a kid and vinyl records as a teenager.
Thought best mention in the £2 listed chart it says ‘Ireland’. Rather than ‘N.Ireland’.
So glad you enjoy our blogs Matt. Collecting is a fantastic hobby! I don’t think it every gets old.
I have a large number of proof coins which unfortunately l have not been able to store in an air tight enviroment and these are showing signs of blooming which l understand is a normal. The general advice is that they should not be cleaned. Given that the lustre is disappearing should l stop collecting proof coins and concentrate on just BUNC coins which are cheaper and circulated. These coins cover the period from 1971 to about 2014
Hi John, I’m sorry to hear your coins are tarnishing. We wouldn’t recommend cleaning them either, so if this is something that concerns you you might feel happier concentrating on cheaper BU coins. It’s personal preference really.
The 2012 Olympic Games Handover £2 should be much higher up – an extra zero has been added to the mintage.
Also Find A Coin omits the 2017 featured in this article as an issue year for the Shield 50p.
May I also second Steve Coddington’s request for a means of specifying years wanted/available for definitives.
Good spot Brian, that’s been updated. Unfortunately as we don’t separate designs by year, the 2017 shield coin is not featured separate from the other shield coins on the web app.
The Find A Coin entry for the Shield/Royal Arms 50p says:
Years of issue: 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
It omits the 2017 year featured in this article.
Sorry Brian, that’s been updated now.
How about the WW1 aviation and the Jane Austen?
These haven’t been included as mintage figures are not yet confirmed.
I have various 50p , £1 old, £2 coins about 100 different ones and would like to sell them as a job lot to a collector if possible, how is the best way to do this as I’m not very computer savvy and not sure how to do it on e bay ?
Hi Mark, I would suggest you contact a dealer from the British Numismatics Trade Association who could help you sell your coins as a job lot. Best of luck!
I have always collected the different years of the definitive coins (50p, £1, £2). Can we hope to see these included in ‘My Collection’ on the website and album pages?
Glad to hear you’ve built such an extensive collection Steve! Unfortunately the website and album only splits each denomination into design at the moment.
An excellent way of presenting this information – a knowledge of the definitive issues is for me part of the enjoyment of collecting. I’ve been lucky to have seen several 2017 shield 50p, must have been a batch released in Birmingham.
You seem to have missed mention of the 1997 50p, first year of issue of the new smaller coin, and with a massive mintage of 456,364,100 meaning about 1 in 3 received in change are of that date and by far the most common.
The lower denominations are also of interest – I’m still waiting to see a 2017 penny or twopence (the 2017 2p has a record low mintage of 16,600,000).
Glad you enjoyed the blog Jim! You are very lucky indeed to have those 2017 shields. It’s certainly worth looking out for the definitive designs too. Great spot for the 1997 50p – I’ve updated that now.
Where is the £2 2017 Britannia???
The Royal Mint didn’t strike any of the 2017 Britannia £2 coins for circulation, so this coin has not been included.