Why are the Olympic 50ps so Sought-After?

As we look ahead to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games this year, I can hardly believe it’s been more than 10 years since London 2012!

Not only was this a pivotal moment in Britain’s sporting history, but it also marked a significant moment in the collecting world – inspiring the nation to check their change and join the hunt for the 29 different sporting designs to be found…

The UK Olympic 50p Series

Without doubt, this 29 coin series created a frenzy, and not just among collectors… Millions rose to the challenge of collecting all 29, and for many, this marked the start of their interest in coins.

So popular were these 50ps, that The Royal Mint estimates as many as 75% of them have been removed from circulation by collectors!

But are you lucky enough to have any in your collection and which ones should you really be looking out for?

What is the rarest Olympic 50p?

Olympic 50ps have long been a favourite amongst collectors, not only for their exciting theme, but also the thrill of tracking down these rare coins. Minted in much lower quantities than the standard 50ps you can find in your change, it really has been somewhat of a treasure hunt trying to find these coins!

In fact, as the rarest of them all, only 1,125,500 Football 50ps entered circulation! This is definitely the rare one to look out for. Closely following the Football 50p, you’ll see the Wrestling, Judo, Triathlon and Tennis coins – each with a mintage less than 1.5 million.

However, are there Olympic 50ps out there even rarer than these? To find out we must look beyond The Royal Mint’s official circulation figures

The withdrawn Aquatics ‘error’ Olympic 50p

Did you know that the Aquatics 50p which we are familiar with today is actually a modified version of the coin design?

The original version featured waves passing over the swimmer’s face, but was withdrawn from circulation and the design adapted to make the face more visible. However, there are still a few out there…

ST-Change-Checker-Spot-the-Difference-Olympics-Aquatics-50p-Coin (2)

Although the exact quantity of the original Aquatics design remains a mystery, it has been known for these special coins to exchange hands for close to £1000… not a bad return on a 50p coin!

2009 Athletics Olympic 50p


In 2009, nine-year old Florence Jackson became the youngest person to design a coin for circulation in the UK. Her Athletics Olympic 50p design was the ultimate winner of a Blue Peter competition.

Although you may recognise this coin, you may not know that a rare version of this coin exists. When the competition winner was revealed, only 100,000 special edition Blue Peter coin packs were released with a 2009 dated coin – making it the only Olympic 50p without a 2011 date.

In fact, so few of these packs were issued, that it makes this 2009 Athletics Olympic 50p more than twice as rare as the famous Kew Gardens 50p!

The Gold Olympic 50ps

Did you know that a gold version of the coin was presented to the respective artist of each design?

It is without doubt that the gold versions of each 50p remain the rarest of the entire series. But, unfortunately for collectors, obtaining one of these is nearly impossible as only one gold version of each design was presented to the respective winning designer.

Aside from the precious metal content, their unique status and significance rank them as potentially the most valuable UK 50p coins in existence!

Continuing Your Olympic 50p Collection

To the delight of many Olympic 50p collectors, in 2016 The Royal Mint issued a special 50p to wish Team GB success for the Rio Olympic Games.

Team GB 2016 United Kingdom 50p BU Coin UKU01856.

The coin’s obverse features a swimmer with the Team GB logo, the Olympic rings and the inscription ‘TEAM GB’. Designed by Tim Sharp, the coin was officially endorsed by Team GB and celebrated the spirit of British Olympians – a must have for all Olympic 50p Collectors.

But it doesn’t stop there!

Dual-Dated Team GB 50p

Back in 2020, a new Team GB 50p was released as part of the 2020 Annual Coin Set to celebrate Team GB’s participation in the Tokyo Olympic Games.

However, due to the coronavirus pandemic and the postponement of the Olympic Games to 2021, this 50p was never individually released in 2020…

Excitingly, this meant that there were two versions of the coin – one with the obverse dated 2020 from the 2020 Annual Coin Set and one with the obverse dated 2021 from the coin’s individual release!

This makes the 2021 UK Team GB 50p one of only a small handful of UK 50ps to feature a dual-date – only adding to its collectability!

The Latest Olympic 50p

This year, as we look ahead to the Paris Olympic Games, The Royal Mint has issued a new 50p to celebrate our British Olympians and Paralympians.

On the reverse are 2 geometric athletes in action set against the Union flag. If you look closely, you’ll also see the Eiffel Tower at the bottom, a nod to the city where the games will take place.

This coin has been issued in the 2024 Annual Coin Set and is the first of the UK’s sporting 50ps to feature King Charles III on the obverse.

You can bet that Olympic 50p collectors will eagerly be awaiting the individual release of this new coin, but will you be adding it to your collection? Let us know in the comments below!

Secure the 2024 50p in this year’s Annual Set!

If you can’t wait to get your hands on the 2024 British Olympians and Paralympians 50p, you can add all FIVE new coins to your collection for JUST £42 (+postage), simply click here >>

Each coin has been struck to a superior Brilliant Uncirculated quality and is protectively encapsulated in official Change Checker packaging, housed in a display page ready to slot into your Change Checker Album.


  1. Toby. Smith on April 12, 2024 at 12:38 pm

    I have 20 olypoc coins out of the whole collection I only need 9 to go

    Does anyone have a flobsy bunny



    • Kate on April 17, 2024 at 9:23 am

      Hi Toby, you can use our Web App or our Facebook Community group to swap your coins to complete your collection.
      Kind regards, Kate

  2. Keith Mac on April 10, 2024 at 8:26 pm

    Hi, can you let me know if the change checker scratch cards have now been discontinued please. I buy coins from Westminster very regularly but haven’t received any cards for a long time.
    Thank you and kind regards Keith.

    • Kate on April 11, 2024 at 11:44 am

      Hi Keith, the Change Checker Trading Cards haven’t been discontinued, however we have moved onto £2 Trading Cards and are no longer sending out the 50p cards.
      I hope that helps!

  3. Eric hope on April 3, 2024 at 3:15 pm

    I have a 2015 world war 50p coin which has no 50pence showing on the coin . According to the royal mint there was only 53,096 of these on the first run then they produced the coin with 50 pence showing on the coin. There is also 2019 world war coin.

  4. Adrian Charlton on April 3, 2024 at 11:26 am

    The Olympic 50p coins led to 31 different 50p’s being issued in 2011, which dwarfs the issues in other years. The only year which comes close is 2019 with 21 issues, that year being the 50th anniversary of the 50p itself. In 2021 and 2022 there were 14 each year, but I wonder if 2024 will be another with a high number. We are just 4 months into the year, with already 9 issues issued or announced. Extrapolate that for the whole year and could we be looking at around 24 this year? I rather hope not, with so few issues being released into circulation, coin collecting has become quite expensive, having to buy at 12 times face value to keep a collection up to date. That said, I would rather 50p’s be issued rather than the current glut of crowns which are even more expensive, most with themes better suited to the 50p. There is no doubt in my mind that the Olympic 50p’s started many collectors off, I have 2 friends who now collect 50p’s as a result.

  5. Steve Arscott on April 3, 2024 at 10:52 am

    Wil the 2024 Paris Olympics 50p be sold individually, or only in the Annual Set?

    • Kate on April 8, 2024 at 2:19 pm

      Hi Steve, the 2024 British Olympians and Paralympians 50p will be individually released, but we don’t yet know when. We’ll keep you updated with all news about new coin releases!

      • Toby. Smith on April 12, 2024 at 12:37 pm

        Will these coins go into circulation

        T Smith

      • Kate on April 17, 2024 at 9:25 am

        Hi Toby, all 29 Olympic 50ps are in circulation, as is the 2016 Team GB 50p, however the 2020/2021 Team GB 50p and the 2024 Paralympians and Olympians 50p are not in circulation.
        I hope that helps! Kate