Your guide to Guernsey’s rarest coins in circulation… Mintage figures revealed!
Coins from Crown dependencies and overseas British territories can sometimes make an unexpected appearance in our change.
They are identical in size, shape and weight to UK denominations (bar the new 12 sided £1) which means they often find their way into tills and vending machines undetected.
Finding one in your change can be an annoyance on one hand as technically the coins are not legal tender in the UK. On the other hand, from a collecting point of view, new and interesting designs are always a bonus!
Mintage figures for British Isles coins are very hard to track down, but we’ve managed to get hold of the definitive mintage figures for Guernsey to show you which are the rarest coins you should be looking out for.
Guernsey Definitive 50p Coin Mintage Figures
Guernsey’s Definitive 50p Coins
Two different definitive 50p designs have been issued on Guernsey coinage between 1969 and 2012 – the Ducal Cap and Freesia 50p coins.
The first 50p design released in Guernsey, the Ducal Cap, was issued six times between 1969 and 1984, with each coin having a mintage of 200,000.
The coin features an image of the Ducal Cap of the Duke of Normandy on the reverse and the Guernsey Coat of Arms on the obverse, which includes three lions instead of Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait. This makes the 50p particularly distinguishable.
Whilst the Ducal Cap 50ps have a fairly high mintage figure considering the size of Guernsey’s population (just 62,307 as of 2018), the most common Guernsey 50p is actually the 1997 Freesia design with a mintage of 1,044,000.
The Freesia 50p features the Guernsey Freesia Flowers on the reverse and the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse. There is also a small Guernsey Coat of Arms on the obverse of the coin, which acts like a Guernsey mint mark and makes the Guernsey 50p stand out when compared to typical UK 50p coins.
Mintage figures for the Freesia design vary considerably, with the rarest coin issued in 1987 actually only having a mintage of 5,000. Mintage figures for the UK Britannia 50p were also low in 1987, as this coin had a mintage of 88,659, whereas the definitive 50p is normally issued in the millions. However the Guernsey Freesia Flowers 50p is still over 17 times rarer than it’s UK counterpart for 1987.
The most common Guernsey 50p, the 1997 Freesia Flowers has a mintage of 1,044,000, however this is still lower than the rarest UK definitive 50p (2017 Royal Shield), which has a mintage of 1,800,000.
Guernsey Definitive £2 Coin Mintage Figures
Guernsey’s Definitive £2 Coin
The first definitive Guernsey £2 coin design was actually dated 1997, but was only included in brilliant uncirculated and proof coin sets.
It was in 1998 that the first of the Guernsey £2 coins were issued in to general circulation, featuring the definitive Flag design.
As the first year of issue for the first bi-metallic coin, you’d expect the mintage for this to be high, however only 150,000 of these coins were struck in 1998. This makes the 1998 £2 Guernsey’s most common definitive £2 in circulation, but when compared to the UK’s most common £2 (1998 Technology design) which had a mintage of 91,110,375, you realise just how rare these Guernsey coins really are!
This design has remained the same since its introduction, however the mintages figures for subsequent years were drastically lower, with the rarest coin being released in 2012 with a mintage of just 5,250. Comparatively, the UK’s definitive £2 coin (Technology design) issued in 2012 had a mintage of 3,900,000 – that’s over 700 times more than the definitive coins issued in Guernsey that year!
Although £2 coins were issued in Guernsey in 1991, 1993, 1994 and 1995, these were actually commemorative crown size coins, not issued for circulation and so we do not have these figures. At that time The Royal Mint manufactured Guernsey’s commemorative coins, creating a crown size denomination from the £2 coin.
Guernsey Definitive £1 Coin Mintage Figures
Guernsey’s Definitive £1 Coins
Three different definitive £1 designs have been issued in Guernsey since 1981 – the Lily, HMS Crescent and Finance Motif.
As you can see from the chart above, the Finance Motif design issued from 1985 – 2012 has dramatically lower mintage figures and has been issued more frequently.
The coin features the finance motif on the reverse, but as with most Guernsey coins, it is the unusual obverse that makes it stand out. The obverse features the portrait of Her Majesty the Queen facing right, with a small Guernsey Coat of Arms on the left.
In 1981, Guernsey issued the Lily £1. Similar to the Ducal Cap 50p, the Lily £1 features the Guernsey Coat of Arms on the obverse, which includes three lions instead of Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait. The reverse of the design features a lily flower, the national flower of Guernsey.
200,000 Guernsey Lily £1 coins were issued in 1981, making it the second most common £1 on Guernsey.
In 1983, Guernsey issued the HMS Crescent £1.This coin also features the Guernsey Coat of Arms on the obverse, but the reverse features an engraving of the HMS Crescent by Robert Elderton.
This is the most common Guernsey £1, with a mintage of 267,000. But, compared to the most common UK £1 (2015 Royal Arms) which has a mintage of 129,616,985, mintage figures for the HMS Crescent £1 are incredibly low. Almost 500 times lower than the most common UK £1!
Although the 1981 Lily and 1983 HMS Crescent designs were only issued for one year each, they both have much higher mintage figures than the Finance Motif issued prior to these designs.
In fact, if you were to add up the mintages for every year the Finance Motif was issued (bar an unusually high year in 2001) the figure would still be lower than the 1981 Lily and 1983 HMS Crescent coins.
The rarest Guernsey £1 is the 1990 Finance Motif, with a mintage of just 3,500. We know that British Isles mintage figures are much lower than the UK due to the smaller population, however when you compare this to the rarest UK £1 which is the 2011 Edinburgh £1 with a mintage of 935,000, the difference is staggering! In fact, Guernsey’s rarest £1 is actually more than 250 times rarer than the Edinburgh £1!
Lack of Demand for New Definitive Coins
From 2012 to present there have been no definitive coins released on Guernsey, and we must assume that this is due to the fact that there just isn’t the demand for them. As previously mentioned, the small population of just 62,307 means that there are less coins issued on the British Isles.
Has any Guernsey coinage found its way into your pocket and have you been lucky enough to find any of the rarer coins? Let us know in the comments below.
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Secure the Ducal Cap 50p, Freesia Flowers 50p or Finance Motif £1 here >>
Also no 1992 large 50p as all 650 000 melted down at royal mint uk scrap guernsey coins only
sorry 2012 20p 50p
If any one needs coins from guernsey let me no as I’m from guernsey 🇬🇬 iv got loads of 3012 30p 50p coins Michael Guernsey 🇬🇬
Great Blog, very interesting mintage figures, checked my collection, have 2 1997 freesia 50 pence and a 2001 finance pound coin, at 175,000 mintage. have gibraltar, isle of man, jersey 50 pences and 1 pound coins, including an ascension island pound coin.
Sounds like you’ve got a great collection there Gary!
Thanks Rachael, great info from your website, well done, purchased 50 pences there from you,
including the kew gardens 2019,a must have, lovely set of coins,thank you.
Great. I’ve often wondered about that. It’s not the low numbers but the relative positions. Any chance of an IoM version please ?
Glad you enjoyed the blog David. We’ll keep you updated with any more info about British Isles mintages that we manage to find out.
after going through this article there are several mistakes made here which should of bèen checked before it gets published. Also where did you get your mintage figures source from exactly as I have also couple of different figures for a couple of the coins you have listed here.
Hi Chris, the mintage figures have been provided directly by the States of Guernsey. Please let us know which mistakes you are referring to. Thanks, Rachel
nice having the mintages but as usual the constant comparison to UK mintages is completely irrelevant and purely a marketing ploy as they usually do to make coins seem like they are rarer than they actually are.
Hi Chris, it’s important to remember that due to the much smaller population, mintage figures for British Isles coins will be much less than their UK counterparts, but it does make for an interesting comparison. These figures have been directly provided by the States of Guernsey.
I found the 1997 £2 in my change last year. Great find considering it wasn’t meant for circulation!
That’s very lucky!
Would be nice to also see Jersey, Isle of Man, Falklands & St Helena
Great article, I had no idea that the Guernsey coinage had such low mintage figures and was therefore very pleased to realise that a coin I found in my change some years ago and that I saved purely because it was different has turned out to be the low mintage 1988 Finance Motif £1 coin….bonus.
Lucky find Steve, hold on to that one!
Brilliant work peeps … bit now you have done this can you please please do the same for jersey and the Isle of Man as we do find a few of those on our shores too ..thanks
Thanks Andrew. It’s really hard to source the mintage figures for the British Isles coins, but we will try our best.
Great work team – very interesting to see these mintage figures – hope you can do similar for Jersey (and maybe even Isle of Man), plus the lower denominations!
I went to both Guernsey and Jersey a couple of years ago and their £1 notes are very popular in change so I saw no £2 coins in use at all and the few £1 coins were all UK. The 50p was issued in reduced size in 1997 same as in UK which explains the large mintage for that year and apart from 2008 the only date I saw.
I actually had a fairly well worn Jersey 1998 £2 in a bag of £2 from my bank in Birmingham just last month which has gone straight into my collection.
Thanks Jim, glad you liked our latest blog. It can be a real struggle to source the mintage figures for British Isles coins but we’ll keep digging to see what others we can find! Your experience of Guernsey coinage is really interesting, thanks for sharing.
If you can’t find the mintage figures, could you create a “foreign coin” collection for usbto update like the UK ones? Ive collected a few channel island Isle of Man, and even Gibraltar coins over the years but have nothing to mark them off against. It would be interesting to see how many I am missing, nd something else to aim for 🙂
That’s a good idea Sheri. It’s not currently in the pipeline, but I’ll certainly discuss it with the team.