The UK’s Top 10 Rarest Coins in Circulation

Which coins should you be looking out for in your change?

We’ve taken a look at the mintage figures for UK coins to find out which ones are the rarest in circulation...

The UK's Top 10 Rarest Coins in Circulation

What you might be surprised by is that on our top 10 list, just 1 out of the 10 coins is a 50p!

The rarest UK coin currently in circulation is the Kew Gardens 50p, but the 9 rarest coins after that are actually £2s.

Whilst 50p coins are very popular amongst collectors at the moment, it’s certainly worth noting that it is in fact the £2 coins which you should be keeping your eyes peeled for, as some of the ones you can find in your change are very rare.

Other rare coins to look out for

Of course, this doesn’t take into account the rare error coins that have been found in circulation, such as:

Whilst exact mintage figures for these error coins may be unknown, we can assume that they could each be rare enough to find themselves near the top of the list.

A-Z of Great Britain 10p coins

The UK's Top 10 Rarest Coins in Circulation
A-Z of Great Britain 10p coins

It’s also worth noting that whilst mintage figures for the individual designs haven’t been released, if we assume that each A-Z of Great Britain 10p has been struck in equal quantities, then there would be approximately 281,000 of each design.

This would put each A-Z 10p design in equal second place on the list of the top 10 rarest coins in circulation!

What about the coins no longer in circulation?

Currently the Kew Gardens 50p is the rarest coin in circulation, but did you know that it isn’t actually the UK’s rarest 50p?

This title goes to the 1992/93 UK EC Presidency 50p, with a mintage of just 109,000 – almost half of the Kew Gardens!

In 1997, 50p coins were redesigned in the smaller specification and this coin was demonetised, meaning it is no longer in circulation.

The UK's Top 10 Rarest Coins in Circulation
192/93 EC Presidency 50p

The same can be said of the 1989 Claim of Right £2, which was demonetized in 1997 when the bi-metallic £2 coin was introduced.

This coin has a mintage of 381,400 which makes it the rarest UK £2 and would put it in second place on the list if it were still in circulation.

The UK's Top 10 Rarest Coins in Circulation
1989 Claim of Right £2 – the UK’s rarest £2

Are you lucky enough to have any of the top 10 rarest coins in your collection? Or perhaps you’ve even been lucky enough to get your hands on the pre-1997 coins listed above. Let us know in the comments below!


If you’re interested in coin collecting, our Change Checker web app is completely free to use and allows users to:

– Find and identify the coins in their pocket
– Collect and track the coins they have
– Swap their spare coins with other Change Checkers

Change Checker Web App Banner 2 Amends 1024x233 1 1024x233 - Your January 2019 Scarcity Index update!

Sign up today at: www.changechecker.org/app

32 Comments

  1. Les kent on August 27, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    Hi Rachel
    This list just might help other collectors
    As we all know the definitive coins all have the same design on the reverse for each year they were/are minted
    but did you know IF you collect the circulated ,uncirculated and proof coins you will find as follows
    3 BRITANNIA 1969,2009 & 2019 LARGE & SMALL
    2 EEC 1973 & 2009 ” ”
    2 BRITANNIA 1984 & 2009 ” ”
    2 BRITANNIA 1993 & 2009 ” ”
    3 D-DAY 1994,2009 & 2019 ” ”
    2 NHS 1998 & 2009 ”
    2 EU 1998 & 2009 ”
    2 LIBRARIES 2000 & 2009 ”
    2 SUFFRAGETTE 2003 & 2009 ”
    3 4 MINUTE MILE 2004 & 2009 ”
    2 DICTIONARY 2005 & 2009 ”
    2 VICTORIA CROSS 2006 & 2009 ”
    2 HEROIC 2006 & 2009 ”
    3 BOY SCOUTS 2007, 2009 & 2019 ”
    2 KEW GARDENS 2009 & 2019 ”
    2 BLUE PETER ( IMAGES) 2009 & 2011 ”

    Please check the out
    Les.

  2. Derek on August 24, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    I thought I would try my luck and get £20 worth of 2 Pound Coins from the bank.
    Amongst them, I was gobsmacked to find a 2008 Olympic Beijing Handover 2 Pound.

  3. Ron Beynon on August 23, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    Hi
    I’ve been collecting coins since the early 60’s and I’ve been fortunate to get all of decimal issues from the 1p to the £5 including all the rare ones from proof and or B/U. I was lucky enough to get the Blue Peter 2009 50p for £10.

  4. TONY on August 23, 2019 at 9:37 pm

    ONE OF THE RAREST MINTED COINS ALTHOUGH NOT ISSUED FOR CIRCULATION BUT CAN STILL BE SPENT IS THE STRIKE YOUR OWN 2018 SIR ISSAC NEWTON 50p with a MINTAGE OF JUST 19,934 , OVER TEN TIMES RARER THEN THE 2009 KEW GARDENS 50p,

  5. Jim on August 22, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    Even though now never seen in circulation, the old “Pre-1997” £2 coins have not actually been demonetized and remain legal tender and valid money which can be paid into the bank (the same situation as the old 25p crowns). Not that you’d want to cash in a “Claim of Right” one of course!

  6. Terry Court on August 22, 2019 at 5:11 pm

    I have one of the bill of rights coin, I used to work in the post office, that’s when I got started collecting commemorative coins.

    • Jenny on September 3, 2019 at 2:13 pm

      I also have one of these is there any value to it

  7. Harry Hawthorne on August 22, 2019 at 5:10 pm

    I commented on the scarcity rating post last week saying I got a kew gardens on monday 11th August 2019.Today i got another that is two kew gardens in 11days!

    • Rachel Hooper on August 23, 2019 at 8:26 am

      That’s incredible! Can we have some of your luck please Harry, haha!

    • Jo hudson on August 23, 2019 at 5:30 pm

      Is it the old kew gardens or the new one?

  8. Les kent on August 22, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    Hi Rachel
    I also am very fortunate to have every one of the rare coins and as I also collect each of the edge inscriptions
    (right way up & up side down) means that I have at least two of each plus a lot more, the only two coins missing in my collections are the 2p new p and the inverted Britannia.
    As for the rare list don’t forget the 2009 Blue peter with only 19,750 sold and whilst we are on the 2009 there
    is a proof set with 15 of the 16 coins in it that are all the remints of a lot of the large 30mm coins and are all the
    27.3mm and this includes a 69 & 82 Britannia, 73 EEC, 93 DUEL DATE, 98 EU, 94 D DAY, 98 NHS 2000 LIBRARIES, 03 SUFFRAJETTS, 04 3 MINUTE MILE, 05 DICTIONARY, 06 VC & 06 HERO, 07 SCOUTS and the 2009 KEW GARDENS, only 1,039 of these sets were sold, I know of 3 of these sets that were split up and
    I have three sets plus ten of the coins so there is NOT a lot left to go around, IF YOU CAN FIND THEM.
    Les’

    • Rachel Hooper on August 23, 2019 at 8:31 am

      Your collection sounds amazing Les! Let’s hope a new pence 2p and inverted Britannia come your way soon. The 2009 Proof set sounds brilliant. You’re very lucky to have such special coins in your collection.

      • Les kent on August 25, 2019 at 8:30 pm

        Hi Rachel
        I would like to correct a mistake on my part if I may, I said I had 3 x 2009 sets when I only have 2 and a proof set made up of the standard proof coins to match the 2009 set plus a set made up of the uncirculated and a set made up of the circulated. I also have a bit more information regarding the 50p coins that I think would interest a lot of the collectors out there especially the new collectors,
        if I send you a list you can decide if you think it would be of interest it would be of interest to them.
        Regards
        Les.
        ,



      • Rachel Hooper on August 27, 2019 at 9:53 am

        Hi Les, no problem! It’s great to be able to share information with other collectors. Are you a member of the Change Checker Community on Facebook? This is a great place to share and help out fellow collectors.



  9. Molly Senior on August 22, 2019 at 11:42 am

    Can you please explain which is the 5th portrait?

    • Rachel Hooper on August 22, 2019 at 12:26 pm

      Hi Molly the 5th portrait is the obverse design by Jody Clark. You’ll see a small ‘JC’ for the designer’s initials on the Queen’s neckline.

  10. Frederick Gallick. on August 22, 2019 at 9:55 am

    The only coin currently eluding me is the Kew Gardens 50p. But I live in hope of finding one.

    • Barry Lucas on August 22, 2019 at 3:53 pm

      I’ve got all 10 😁

    • James Mccabe on August 22, 2019 at 9:40 pm

      How many do you want

    • Anthony Mansell on August 23, 2019 at 8:04 am

      I have one

  11. ChristopherJohn CHAMBERS on August 22, 2019 at 9:51 am

    I have 34 of the ‘pre-1997’ £2 coins, which I had saved back in the day, of which 11 are dated 1989. I was quite excited – until I checked and found that all 11 are inscribed ‘TERCENTENARY OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS’, as distinct from your featured ‘TERCENTENARY OF THE CLAIM OF RIGHT’. Mine seem identical to ‘Claim Of Right’ in all other aspects. Nowhere near so rare, I suppose ? Of the others, there’s 11 from 1986 (Commonwealth Games Scotland), 6 from 1995 (Peace Goodwill, Dove), 5 from 1994 (Bank Of England) and 1 from 1996 (Football). Is any of these a rarity ?

    • Rachel Hooper on August 22, 2019 at 11:15 am

      Hi Christopher, the pre-1997 £2 coins are no longer in circulation, but are lovely collector’s pieces. The Bill of Rights £2 has a mintage of 4,392,825 compared to just 381,400 for the Claim of Right £2, so it is less rare. You can find out all about the pre-1997 £2 coins in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8igZerD7Lk

    • Malcolm Rosenberg on August 22, 2019 at 12:09 pm

      The only gaps I have in the top 10 are as expected a Kew 50 p, although I have one a 2019 restrike.
      Also NI £2.

  12. Kellie on August 22, 2019 at 9:37 am

    How much is the Britannia £2 coin worth please, as i have one in really good condition and looking to sell it on. Many thanks.

  13. Ian Domala on August 22, 2019 at 9:13 am

    I’m lucky enough to have all the coins you’ve mentioned above other than the 1992/93 UK EC Presidency 50p, but I will get my hands on one in the near future.

  14. Julie Webb on August 22, 2019 at 9:03 am

    Have got a 1981 new pence 2px coin
    Also have 2px coin 1978 new pence
    Also 2px coin 1975 new pence
    Also 2px coin 1971 new pence have 5 of these
    Are any of these worth anything thankyou.

    • Rachel Hooper on August 22, 2019 at 11:18 am

      Hi Julie, whilst these coins might occasionally sell for over face value on the secondary market, the one you need to look out for is the 1983 New Pence 2p as this is an error coin which is sought-after by collectors.

  15. BARRIE BURBRIDGE on August 22, 2019 at 9:01 am

    I have a 2015 Royal Navy old head and new head, how many with the old head were there ??

    • Rachel Hooper on August 22, 2019 at 11:21 am

      Hi Barrie, two versions of the First World War Navy £2 were struck – one with the 4th and one with the 5th portrait on the obverse. Whilst 650,000 5th portrait coins entered circulation, just 100 4th portrait coins were released into circulation from the tills of the HMS Belfast gift shop. You are really lucky if you own one of these coins.

  16. Mike on August 22, 2019 at 8:41 am

    Hi,
    Sorry to say but you have the wrong picture on the 1992/3 50 pence coin.

    • Rachel Hooper on August 22, 2019 at 10:56 am

      Thanks Mike, we’ve updated that now!

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