Could there be a Mahatma Gandhi coin coming soon?

*2020 Update*

It has been confirmed that the first figure to be considered in a new series of UK coins that will recognise and celebrate BAME figures on UK currency will be Mahatma Gandhi.

This news comes after Chancellor Rishi Sunak stated he was considering proposals from a campaign group. He has since asked the Royal Mint to come up with new designs honouring BAME figures who have served the nation – such as military figures and nurses.

‘Banknotes of Colour’ campaign is currently being led by former Conservative parliamentary candidate, Zehra Zaidi in efforts to see the better representation of non-white peoples on British currency.

Sajid Javid, Chancellor of the Exchequer has “asked the team at the Royal Mint to bring forward proposals for a new, commemorative coin of Gandhi.”

The news was revealed last week at the annual GG2 Leadership Awards event, which fell on the 150th birthday of Gandhi – a very fitting time for the announcement to be made.

Studio photograph of Mahatma Gandhi, London, 1931
Credit: Elliott & Fry , Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Gandhi is most well known for leading the successful campaign for India’s independence, using nonviolent resistance which inspired human rights movements across the world.

However, he also has strong ties with London, having attended the University College of London law school in 1888.

Despite leaving for India after being called to the bar in 1891, he continued to return to London, right up until his final visit in 1931 where he attended a conference on the future of India.

If a coin were to be created to honour Gandhi, perhaps it would be issued in 2021 to celebrate the 90th anniversary of this final visit.

Gandhi in London as a law student
Credit:, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Chancellor Sajid Javid said that “We must always remember the values he [Gandhi] lived his life by… Gandhi taught us that power doesn’t just come from wealth or high office.”

What do you think the design should be if a new coin were to be issued to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi? Let us know in the comments below!

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  1. TONY on October 18, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    Hi Rachel, I know you say keep saying to people who cannot afford higher priced coins or those that are not in circulation coins that they can enter the change checker face value coin ballot, this does not solve the problem as only a 1,000 people out of the many thousands of collectors will only get that chance on only one coin issued this still leaves most collectors missing out, since I joined the ballot I have never had the chance to buy a coin at face value so this must be the same for thousands of others, the fairer way would be to release all produced coins into circulation small or large mintages depending on the demand for a particular coin. at least that way it’s fairer for everyone, if there is a small mintage number those who got them it would be a bonus to them and would make coin collecting more exciting,those who want to buy the dearer coins could also do so.this would create a fair balance and each coin would also have a confirmed mintage figure on which to go on,not just being issued with no known mintage and everyone in the dark, I understand the royal mint and change checker need to earn money to pay staff, production costs, e.t.c. Including a profit, but if the royal mint just keeps going the way they are doing collectors are just chasing the next coin and not having enough time or money to go back to the ones they missed, the same has happened to other brands , top China companies, coloured small bears that were once all the craze to name a few can now be found at boot fairs at a fraction of the price and the companies who sold these barley exist or have gone out of business, a business is only as good as the customers it sells too.

    • Rachel Hooper on October 21, 2019 at 10:42 am

      Hi Tony, I understand the frustration at not being able to secure some of the latest coin releases for face value. With so many wonderful designs being struck it is a shame that they are not all entering circulation. We’ve tried our best to combat this with the Face Value Coin Ballot, however we are unable to give away all the coins at face value, so we decided that a ballot would be the fairest way to give collectors the chance to get hold of them. Change Checker doesn’t have any control over which coins are released and we do share in the frustration felt by collectors when coins don’t enter circulation as there’s nothing better than finding them straight from your change.

  2. Tony M on October 16, 2019 at 11:28 am

    I like the idea of new coins being available, but that’s what they should be…available. Not enough of the new releases are put into circulation. My son got interested in coins with the introduction of the Olympic 50ps but the new release are too expensive to buy new. The 10ps are as scarce as hens teeth in the NW of England. Coin collecting is no longer a a cheap hobby for everyone it’s now a way for the Mint to fleece people.

  3. Mark Shearing on October 15, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    Hi Rachel, it is about time the myth that the HM Treasury decide which coins enter circulation, is put to bed. HM Treasury do dictate how many coins are needed each year for circulation, for each denomination, but it is the Royal Mint who decides how many of each design is to be released. It is just plain ridiculous to suggest that the HM Treasury requested 25,000,000 Benjamin Bunny coin in 2017, whist requesting just 1,801,500 Isaac Newton and 1,800,000 Shield Design 50p coins in the same year. The HM Treasury may approve designs, but it doesn’t benefit them in any way which designs are released. The only beneficiaries are the Royal Mint and it is them who decide on the numbers for each design. The HM Treasury probably don’t have any view on how many of each design are released for circulation, providing the total numbers of each denomination circulated tally with the numbers requested. If you stop for a moment and ask yourself, who benefits from the minting of the 2019 Peter Rabbit 50p coin? There really is only one answer and it’s not the HM Treasury. I believe the 2019 Peter Rabbit 50p coin is a perfect example of the Royal Mints attitude to coin collectors, (by releasing 13 Beatrix Potter 50p coins into circulation and now we find that that only one Beatrix Potter coin minted this year, but not for circulation). There are roughly thirty five 50p and £2 coins which have been minted, but not circulated in the last three years. It looks like they are profiteering from the upturn in coin collecting, which started with the Olympic 50p coins and increased further with the Beatrix Potter coins. The fact that the Beatrix Potter coins are collected by many children ,who can’t afford to purchase in BU condition, makes their decision not to release the 2019 Peter Rabbit 50p coin even worse.

  4. P halford on October 14, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    I thought only british subjects could be on british coins?

    • Rachel Hooper on October 15, 2019 at 8:12 am

      This would potentially be marking Gandhi’s last visit to London, but his campaigning also had strong ties with Britain, using nonviolent resistance for India’s independence from British rule.

      • P Halford on October 15, 2019 at 5:33 pm

        Have there been any non British persons put on UK coins? I think this would be a strange choice to make…

      • Rachel Hooper on October 16, 2019 at 8:17 am

        I don’t believe there have…

      • Nicholas Bradbury on October 21, 2019 at 6:14 pm

        With reference to Mahatma Gandhi being on a coin.
        Technically he was a British subject.
        However, he was not a friend of the United Kingdom.
        Therefore, I see no reason to add him to our coins.
        Partly because of Mahatma Gandhi we lost part of the Empire, the jewel in the crown.
        Also, we lost India because of Roosevelt.
        It is my understanding that British coins should depict UK residents who were born on this scepterd isle.
        I know we have plenty of people left to choose from.
        Surely, we need not use those of a foreign field?
        How about a ballot to chose one of those not already depicted on a coin?
        I nominate Beatrice Shilling, a gifted engineer.

    • Liam oufc on October 15, 2019 at 8:25 pm

      I agree could you see any other country having an English face or our flag on NO so it’s a totally stupid idea we will be calling it a 50 ru p next

  5. Ian Harrison on October 14, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    Agree 100% with comments on amount of coins produced for collecting, it appears royal mint making coins for sale rather than in change is an obvious sales plan. As for the price of £4:50+postage for a 50p is a scandalous amount from change checker, didn’t think change checker was set as a sales platform. Maybe I was wrong!

    • Rachel Hooper on October 15, 2019 at 8:16 am

      Hi Ian, unfortunately The Royal Mint have no control over whether coins are issued fro circulation or not as this is based on demand from HM Treasury and cash distribution centres. Whilst £4.50 is above face value for a 50p, Change Checker is selling the Brilliant Uncirculated versions of these coins. If you do want the chance to own them for face value, you can sign up to the Change Checker Face Value Coin Ballot:

    • NumisNath on October 15, 2019 at 12:36 pm

      Looks like every collector is feeling the same way. I want circulated versions to put with the coins I have collected. Putting bunc coins in with them looks ridiculous, plus I have a separate folder for them. That is also in a change checker folder because it looks nice, although I do sometimes wonder why I didn’t get a 99p folder from a supermarket. When coins are released, they are flooded. Why would you release 25,000,000 of some Beatrix coins and then decide not to circulate others, nonsensical!!!
      I would stop buying but when you have all the £2 & 50p this far, it is impossible not to continue.
      All together very unfair.

      p.s Sorry you happen to be the unlucky spokesperson Rachel, having to deal with us moaning collectors

  6. Nicholas Bradbury on October 14, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    I agree with Robert Walpole and Geoff, the mint are striking too many coins.
    This puts pressure on hobbyist`s as the low numbers will be taken up by dealers.
    You can see it with the new ten pence, 2.1 million is not a lot, no one I know has seen one.
    I this this proves the point.

    • Rachel Hooper on October 15, 2019 at 8:24 am

      Hi Nicholas, unfortunately The Royal Mint don’t decide how many coins are issued for circulation, as this is determined based on demand from HM Treasury and cash distribution centres. There have been some important anniversaries to commemorate, so The Royal Mint have struck new coins, but unfortunately the demand hasn’t been there for these coins to be released into circulation. To try to help collects and give them the chance to own these new coins for face value, Change Checker has launched the Face Value Coin Ballot, which you can find out about here:

  7. Kenneth North on October 14, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    hi Rachel I agree with the Geoff and Robert there are to many new coins released I and not enough is circulated and with them going up this year they have become to expensive for me to buy since retiring, I would love to swap more but some that I have there no longer in circulation so I can not post them, so please help us that want to swap and release less coins and put more into circulation please

  8. Barry Evans on October 14, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    British themes for British coins ! let india put him on a coin. put the Queens albert on a coin, he did more for us.

  9. ken north on October 14, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    hi Rachel I would like to agree with Geoff and Robert there are to many new coins I have said before but I do not use the media platforms so when I send email in I never see a rely I have been saving coins now for a few years but since I have retired and coins have gone up now in price I just can not afford any more, because I want the 2018 – 19 Britannia and I sent email to you guys if I could obtain one other than ebay I still waiting for reply. so I do agree to many new release coins but not enough in circulation. and could we have some thing changed on swap centre some coins I have I know others need but because there not in circulation I can not put them up for swap.

    • Rachel Hooper on October 15, 2019 at 8:31 am

      Hi Ken, you might find it helpful to join the Change Checker Community group on Facebook as there are like minded collectors who you could swap with to own the latest coins which have not necessarily entered circulation. Unfortunately on the swap centre you can currently only swap circulation coins so that swaps remain ‘like for like’, but on the community you can have a discussion with other collectors and agree what you are happy to swap with each other.

      • Kenneth North on October 15, 2019 at 6:57 pm

        hi Rachel and thankyou for the reply but I have never join face book and always said I never will I little is there any other way
        regards ken
        ps are you guys ever coming to derby with Change checker

  10. Robert Walpole on October 14, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    I agree with Geoff. The Royal Mint is producing too many coins, and, for people who wish to collect coins from their change, they are issued in insufficient numbers. As an example, here in Hastings, where I have many people looking out for “Alphabetic” 10p pieces, including a friend who works in a bank, only a handful of people have even seen one of these, and it has been impossible to collect more than a couple from your change.
    Many 50p pieces and £2 coins never appear in one’s change and therefore the thrill of collecting is lost, and completeness is a forlorn hope. NO – we definitely do not want more and more and more coins being released.
    The Royal Mint just want to sell coins to collectors at inflated prices. It is all about making money (literally).

    • Jim on October 15, 2019 at 8:20 am

      I totally agree. I wonder if the Royal Mint ever read this blog. They should do – collectors who want to see and collect interesting coins that are actually circulating are being increasingly disappointed. The mintage figures for 2018 have just been released on their web site confirming that of 9 designs of £2 for 2018 not one was issued for circulation (and yes, there were some wonderful designs, which people in the street will never see). As for this year, I know it’s a big year for the 50p, but 18 types so far and counting, of which only 4 for circulation. Of course the Royal Mint is run as a business and required to make a profit, but let’s have some balance.

  11. Geoff on October 14, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    There are TOO many coins being made. THIS IS JUST BECOMING A WAY FOR THE MINT TO MAKE MONEY. can I have one made for my 77 th birthday next year.

    • Rachel Hooper on October 14, 2019 at 4:32 pm

      We don’t know yet if The Royal Mint will approve Sajid Javid’s proposal, or when this coin would be released. If it were to be issued to mark the 90th anniversary since his last visit to London, then it wouldn’t be released until 2021.