Where are all the coins? US Covid-Driven Coin Shortage!

The United States are facing a nationwide coin shortage in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic – urging members of the public to use cash where possible to help ease the coin crisis.

As more people turn to online shopping and contactless payments and avoid using physical money due to the virus, the normal flow of currency has been severely interrupted.

Last year, third-party coin processors and retailers accounted for around 83% of coins in the US coin supply chain.

However, as many stores have been closed and with the US Mint briefly slowing production to implement safety measures, further interruptions to this supply chain have been caused.

The effects mean that as stores are reopening, retailers are quickly exhausting their cash inventories, with some now advising customers they may not be able to provide change in coins.

Solving the US coin supply problem

The US Mint is now asking people to return any coins they might have lying around and to use exact cash for purchases to help replenish the country’s supply.

The Fed have even convened a US Coin Task Force, working to restore the vital coin supply chain.

And what’s more, one particular bank has even started paying members of the public to return any spare change.

UK Coin Shortage?

With the UK public being urged to use contactless where possible during the pandemic, could we too being facing a similar issue soon?

In recent years demand for cash in the UK has dropped, not simply because card payments have increased, but also due to the introduction of the 12-sided £1 coin in 2017.

As members of the public were tasked with returning their old round pound coins to the bank, other denominations, loose change and unwanted coins were also returned, meaning a surplus of cash was injected into the system.

We’ve certainly felt the effects of this with the lack of new coins entering circulation in the last few years.

Secondary Market Coin Prices

We recently updated the Change Checker eBay Tracker, revealing the average selling prices for the top 10 UK coins and banknotes.

Amazingly, there’s been an 18% increase in the overall value of these issues – the biggest increase we’ve seen since the Tracker began!

With less cash being used in the past few months, it’s likely collectors are heading to the secondary market to get hold of certain coins, rather than waiting to find them in their change.

Additionally, with more time being spent at home and people seeking new hobbies to keep themselves entertained, new collectors are perhaps becoming more aware of rare and collectable coins that might be worth owning and as a result, are heading to the secondary market to get hold of one.

We’ve seen this increased demand on the secondary market driving up the prices, particularly for the more rare and sought-after coins.

Kew Gardens 50p sold for £189.95 on eBay

Now, as more retailers open up shop in the UK and the country starts to head towards the ‘new normal’, will we start to see more cash exchanging hands once again? And will collectors be able to start hunting down coins in their change once more?

Perhaps one of the biggest questions on collector’s lips will be whether we’ll see an increase in demand, leading to new commemorative coins being released into circulation…

At Change Checker HQ we’ve certainly got our fingers crossed!

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

January 2019 eBay Tracker Update

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


  1. Adrian Charlton on July 30, 2020 at 11:19 am

    122 million missing round £1 coins? Well I have 86 of them, who has the other 121,999,914?

    • Alexandra Siddons on July 30, 2020 at 1:24 pm

      Haha wow! 86 is still a lot Adrian! Which designs have you got?

    • Cynwyd on August 1, 2020 at 3:19 pm

      Hi all, I know we like to ask and answer question mainly about coins that jingle in our pockets, but does anyone know when the last Queens Beasts £5 coin will be launched.

      • Alexandra Siddons on August 3, 2020 at 11:43 am

        Hi there,

        We’ll keep you updated as soon as we have any information on the Queens Beasts £5 series!


  2. Adrian Charlton on July 30, 2020 at 11:14 am

    I see the price for the Red Cross Crown at the Royal Mint has gone up by £4. They are really “minting” it now from collectors. Back in 2004 they sold a Crown for £5, and before that you could get a crown from the banks for face value. I really don’t think this can be sustainable in the long term if they believe collectors will be able to stump up to plug the difference if their revenues drops off a cliff due to lack of demand for coinage.

    • Alexandra Siddons on July 30, 2020 at 1:25 pm

      Hi Adrian,
      The price increase is for the donation that is being gifted to the British Red Cross from The Royal Mint.
      Many thanks,

  3. Chris on July 27, 2020 at 1:41 pm

    Hi, coin collecting is not the fun it was. There are hardly any new coins getting into circulation so the joy of finding something new in your change has gone. I think this is very sad. I know we can buy new, mint coins but the fun for our family is finding something new and different in our change. We are talking about stopping trying to collect. None of us have even seen a A-Z ten p coin and they have been around a while. Why more weren’t put into general circulation is annoying to say the least. Chris.

    • Alexandra Siddons on July 28, 2020 at 9:38 am

      Hi Chris,

      I’m really sorry to hear you’re not enjoying the hobby of collecting as much anymore. It is a shame that we’ve seen less commemorate coins entering circulation in recent years. I still find it exciting when I see one in my change, even if it’s one of the slightly older ones.

      We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for some new circulating coins soon. Have you signed-up for Change Checker’s Face Value Coin Ballot? Everytime a new issue UK 50p or £2 is released, you’ll get entered into a ballot where you could be in with the chance of owning the brand new coin for just face value. You can find out more about it here: https://www.westminstercollection.com/landing-pages/change-checker-face-value-coin-ballot.aspx

      If you’re lucky enough to receive a winner’s email, it’s (almost) as exciting as finding a new commemorative coin in your change!



  4. Peter on July 27, 2020 at 10:45 am

    This is already happening and if you look at the mintage figures for two pounds coins, not one has entered circulation since 2017

    The only way of getting two pound coins is to apply and receive an expensive presentation pack. Coin collecting is possible really only via eBay right now. Will it ever return to normal?

    • Alexandra Siddons on July 27, 2020 at 11:15 am

      Hi Peter,

      We have definitely seen a decline in the number of coins being issued each year and like you, I do wonder how the current climate will affect the 2020 mintage figures. Hopefully as we transition to a new sense of normal, people will be exchanging cash a lot more and we will see more coins being circulated.

      I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed!


    • John on July 27, 2020 at 8:45 pm

      What do you mean….. As members of the public were tasked with returning their old round pound coins to the bank, other denominations, loose change and unwanted coins were also returned…….. I get the old pound, but what unwanted coins? I’ve loads of old 25p coins and larger size 10p coins can I return these? What about the old half crowns etc, can I return these and to who?

    • Geoff Taylor on July 28, 2020 at 11:01 pm

      Hi Alex
      Hope you are safe and well
      Just to say l purchase £1000s of pounds worth of coins from Westminster and l am sure l don’t go into any ballots is this because l subscribe for all new 50p £2 & £5 coins so you don’t need to include me in the ballot

      Also, l understand people losing interest as l use to do the rounds with certain banks and they always used to save the coins for me sometimes letting me have up to £500 in change at a time sadly that no longer happens but l still love collecting coins and have recently gone in for silver & gold UK circulation coins
      Wait to hear
      Stay safe

      • Alexandra Siddons on July 29, 2020 at 3:42 pm

        Hi Geoff,

        I’m very well and hope you are too!

        There’s no link between the subscription and the ballot so you will be getting entered. There’s lots of people who enter though so it’s possible you just haven’t had your lucky chance yet! Anyone who originally entered the ballot will still remain in the ballot, so do make sure you have signed up.

        So glad to hear you’re still interested in collecting! There’s something incredibly special about owning a silver or gold coin, but especially a circulation one! Have you got a favourite so far?