50p coins

UPDATED: Vote for Britain’s top historical coins!

Have you ever noticed how the coins in your pocket display some of the most important moments in Britain’s history? From The Battle of Hastings, The World Wars, Votes for Women and more…

In fact, the coins we find in our change almost act as a guide to map out our nation’s heritage, which in my opinion means these coins play an incredibly important role in preserving these key moments for generations to come.

But with so many historically significant coins out there, which is your favourite? We’ve put together a list of our top ten historical coins – including information about their design and the events they represent and asked Change Checkers to vote for their all time favourite.

Take a look through to familiarise yourself with the coins below and then find out the results of our poll at the bottom of this page.

The Battle of Hastings 50p

2016 Battle of Hastings 50p - UPDATED: Vote for Britain's top historical coins!

For many of us, 1066 represents the start of ‘real’ British history – the year of The Battle of Hastings.

On this day, King Harold II’s English army was defeated by the Norman-French army of William the Conqueror. This led to the Norman conquest of England, with William the Conqueror becoming our first Norman King – a crucial moment in medieval history.

In 2016, The Royal Mint issued a 50p coin to mark the 950th anniversary of this hugely significant event which changed the course of history.

The reverse of this coin was designed by John Bergdahl and is inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry. It depicts the fate of King Harold at the hands of William The Conqueror, along with the famous date 1066 – when the battle took place. The obverse features the fifth portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Jody Clark.

6,100,000 Battle of Hastings 50p coins were struck, but have you found one in your change?

Magna Carta £2

2015 Magna Carta - UPDATED: Vote for Britain's top historical coins!

The Magna Carta or ‘Great Charter’ is known as one of the most famous documents ever written and forms the foundations for modern democracy and the rights of all English citizens today.

Issued in 1215 by King John of England (otherwise known as ‘Bad King John’ due to his autocratic rule), the charter made peace with the rebel barons who had been causing a political crisis and stated that everyone (including the king) was subject to the law.

It is still cited in many legal cases to this day and some of the core values can also be seen in the United States Bill of Rights (1791), despite the document being substantially altered within just 10 years of it being issued.

In 2015, The Royal Mint issued this £2 coin to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. The reverse design of this medieval-style coin features King John holding a quill and flanked by two noblemen.

Only 1,495,000 of this coin were struck, meaning it is slightly harder to find in your change, but have you got one in your collection?

Darwin £2

2009 Darwin - UPDATED: Vote for Britain's top historical coins!

Charles Darwin has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history and was known as the ‘father or evolution’.

Born in 1809, Darwin was a British scientist whose work laid the foundations of the theory of evolution and natural selection, forever transforming the way we think about the natural world.

At the time of publication in 1859, his book ‘On the Origin of the Species’ was extremely controversial as it made it seem possible that humans evolved from apes, contradicting the widely held Orthodox Church theory of creation.

His death on the 19th April 1882 was honoured with a burial at Westminster Abbey and in 2009 The Royal Mint celebrated 200 years since his birth and 150 years since the publication of ‘On the Origin of Species’ with this £2 coin. The reverse design by Suzie Zamit features a profile portrait of Darwin facing a chimpanzee.

3,903,000 Darwin £2 coins were struck, so you might have come across one in your change?

NHS 50p

2000 NHS 50p - UPDATED: Vote for Britain's top historical coins!

On the 5th of July 1948, the National Health Service was born –  providing a health service available to all and financed entirely from taxation.

After a Labour victory in the 1945 general election, Aneurin Bevan became minister of health, responsible for establishing the NHS.

This was the first time that anywhere in the world had completely free healthcare for citizens and brought together hospitals, doctors and nurses as one service, becoming the third largest employer in England.

In 1998, The Royal Mint issued this 50p coin to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the NHS.  The coin’s obverse design features a pair of hands radiating lines to symbolise hope, created by David Cornell who is most famous for his Diana Princess of Wales Memorial £5 coin design.

5,001,000 NHS 50p coins were struck, but do you have one in your collection?

Gunpowder Plot £2

2005 2 Gunpowder gold - UPDATED: Vote for Britain's top historical coins!

In 1605, a failed assassination attempt of King James I by a group of English Catholics went down in history as The Gunpowder Plot.

Whilst the 5th of November is now an an exciting celebration with fireworks and bonfires, the plan made by these rebels back in 1605  was far less lighthearted…

They plotted to blow up the House of Lords during the opening of Parliament on 5th November 1605, but Guy Fawkes was discovered the night before guarding 36 barrels of gunpowder and was subsequently executed along with seven other plotters.

In 2005, The Royal Mint issued this £2 coin to mark the 400th anniversary. The reverse design of this coin features a montage of bishop’s crosiers, swords, and the Parliamentary mace – symbolising the survival of the British establishment.

5,140,500 of this coin were struck and many have found their way into the hands of collectors.

Suffragettes 50p

2003 Suffragette Movement Rev - UPDATED: Vote for Britain's top historical coins!

With Emmeline and Christabelle Pankhurst at its forefront, the Suffragette movement finally saw the partial votes for women in 1918, with the franchise being extended to all women over 21 in 1928.

The passionate campaigning for equal voting rights by this pioneering group of women meant that they risked ridicule and even imprisonment in defense of their cause.

However, the foundations they laid shaped society’s idea of women and sparked a new era of feminist history.

The Royal Mint issued the Suffragettes 50p in 2003 to commemorate the centenary of the establishment of the Women’s Social and Political Union. The design by Mary Milner Dickens features the figure of a suffragette chained to railings holding a banner on which appear the letters WSPU and to the right a ballot paper marked with a cross can be seen.

3,124,030 Suffragettes 50ps were struck, meaning it might be harder to come across in your change.

First World War Kitchener £2

2014 UK Kitchener Silver Proof 1 - UPDATED: Vote for Britain's top historical coins!

Horatio Herbert Kitchener, the British Secretary of War became synonymous with the enlistment campaign when war was declared on 4th August 1914.

Intuition told him that the war would last for several years and so he masterminded a recruitment campaign to build the largest volunteer army that Britain had ever seen and oversersaw a significant expansion of materials production to fight on the Western Front.

On 5 June 1916, Kitchener died aboard HMS Hampshire, when it struck a German mine near Scotland and sank.

To mark the centenary of the First World War, the Royal Mint revealed a five-year commemoration of the wartime journey from outbreak to armistice. and this first coin in the series is the £2 coin bearing sculptor John Bergdahl’s depiction of Lord Kitchener’s famous call to arms alongside the words YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU.

5,720,000 coins were struck, meaning you are likely to come across this coin in your change.

Sir Isaac Newton 50p

Sir Isaac Newton 2017 UK 50p Silver Proof Coin rev tone ukp16885 copy - UPDATED: Vote for Britain's top historical coins!

Sir Isaac Newton is widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time and a key figure in the scientific revolution.

According to the Julian calendar in use in England at the time, Newton was born on Christmas Day, 25 December 1642 in the county of Lincolnshire. He became a fellow of Trinity College and the second Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge.

His works changed our understanding of mathematics and physics and redefined the way we see the world.

In 1696 on the recommendation of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Isaac Newton became master of The Royal Mint, where he shaped the security of our currency, ensuring coins were made of the correct weight and fineness, varying as little as possible one from another. 

Designed by Aaron West, this 50p coin was issued by The Royal Mint in 2017 to commemorate the achievements of Sir Isaac Newton and remember the legacy he left.

With a mintage of just 1,801,500 this 50p is the second rarest commemorative 50p in circulation.

Great Fire of London £2

2016 Great Fire of London - UPDATED: Vote for Britain's top historical coins!

The Great Fire is one of the most well-known disasters to hit London, when an accidental spark from a baker’s oven on Pudding Lane led to the destruction of a third of the city.

At the time, London had an estimated half a million inhabitants, many of which lived in wooden houses and makeshift structures which had become bone dry during an exceptional drought.

Over the course of 4 days, flames reaching temperatures of 1,250 °C consumed 13,200 houses, 87 parish churches, St Paul’s Cathedral, and most of the buildings of the City authorities.

This 2016 £2 coin was issued by The Royal Mint to mark the 350th Anniversary of the iconic moment in the city’s history from which modern London emerged. The reverse depicts the city of London burning in flames from a distance and was designed by Aaron West.

The coin has a mintage of 5,135,000.

60th Anniversary of the end of World War Two £2

2005 End of WWII 1 - UPDATED: Vote for Britain's top historical coins!

The 8th May 1945 is known as VE Day – Victory in Europe, which marked the end of World War Two.

This followed Germany’s surrender, about a week after Adolf Hitler had committed suicide during the Battle of Berlin.

Upon Germany’s defeat, an eruption of celebrations swept across the western world and in the UK more than a million people took to the streets to mark the end of war. In London, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth appeared on the balcony of the palace alongside Prime Minister Winston Churchill, to stand before the cheering crowds.

The reverse design of this £2 features a depiction of St Paul’s Cathedral which survived the Blitz to become a great symbol of hope to a war-torn nation. The edge inscription reads – IN VICTORY: MAGNANIMITY, IN PEACE: GOODWILL – part of the famous maxim that prefaces Churchill’s history of the Second World War.

With a mintage of 10,191,000 this coin is the most common £2 coin (excluding the Technology £2). Do you have one in your collection and do you think it should be named the favourite historical coin?

I’m sure you’ll agree that each of these remarkable coins beautifully represents a very special part of British heritage and acts as a window into our past history. Now it’s time to reveal which coin has been named the favourite amongst Change Checkers, based on their historical significance and quality of design.

And the winner is the 2017 Sir Isaac Newton 50p, closely followed by The Great Fire of London £2 and the Magna Carta £2.

Historical coins poll results - UPDATED: Vote for Britain's top historical coins!


Secure your History of Britain in Coins Collector Pack

ImageGen - UPDATED: Vote for Britain's top historical coins!

Collect and preserve these fantastic coins for yourself with the History of Britain in Coins Collector Pack, including 10 expertly illustrated fact cards and introductory cover page, housed within protective pages in a Change Checker album.

What’s more, when you order today, you’ll receive the Great Fire of London £2 for FREE to get your collection started!

This pack makes for the ideal gift and is a great way to encourage junior Change Checkers to build their collections, whilst also helping them to learn about British history at the same time.

Click here to order yours >>

UPDATED: Commemorative 50p Coin Mintages

Earlier in the year, we updated our Change Checker Guide to UK Commemorative Coin Mintages which included details of all the coins issued into circulation in 2017.

But The Royal Mint has just updated its mintage figures for 2017-dated 50p coins.

Change Checker Graph 50p 2017 Figures 02 02 1 518x1024 - UPDATED: Commemorative 50p Coin Mintages

It won’t be a surprise that the 2009 Kew Gardens remains king of the 50p coins, but owners of the 2017 Sir Isaac Newton 50p will be glad to hear that the coin has managed to keep its sought-after 2nd place position on the chart.  However, the final mintage has crept up by 1,500 bringing the total to 1,801,500

Whilst all four Beatrix Potter 50ps already had fairly high mintages when the figures were first revealed, the final mintages have since increased, the obvious change being the 2017 Benjamin Bunny 50p which has more than doubled.  It has been confirmed that further Benjamin Bunny 50ps went into circulation during 2018,  bringing the total mintage to 25,000,000.


Want to add the 2017 Jane Austen £2 to your collection?

jane austen - UPDATED: Commemorative 50p Coin Mintages

Own it today in Brilliant Uncirculated quality. Secure yours here >>

How rare is my 50p and how much is it worth?

There are now over 35 different 50p coin designs in circulation and, as an avid coin collector, there’s nothing better than finding a sought-after 50p in your change!

But with so many in circulation, how can you tell which are the ones to look for?

Luckily for you, we’ve done the leg work and compiled a number of resources to help you determine how rare your 50p is and how much it might be worth.

Mintages

A sure fire way to know if you’ve found a keeper is to check the mintage figures for your 50p. Generally speaking, the lower the mintage, the rarer the coin and the harder it will be to find in circulation.

Here are the most up to date mintage charts for UK 50p coins in circulation, with the UK’s rarest circulation 50p, Kew Gardens sat in top spot with the lowest mintage figures – just 210,000 of this coin were struck! Sir Isaac Newton is a newcomer to the mintage charts, but has knocked Jemima Puddle Duck off second spot with a mintage of just 1,800,000. Have you found one in your change?

Click here to read more about the 50p mintage figures >> 

 

Change Checker Graph 50p 2017 Figures amends 518x1024 518x1024 - How rare is my 50p and how much is it worth?

eBay Tracker

Mintage figures are a great way to find out how many of your coin were released into circulation and therefore how difficult it might be to find, but this doesn’t necessarily give you a value for your coin. One way in which you can determine what your coin might be worth is to look at the prices it has sold for on eBay.

Again, we’ve made things easy for you by taking the last 9 sold prices achieved on eBay and giving you the median price achieved (rounded to the nearest 50p). By taking the median, rather than an average, we avoid skewing created by one or two excessive prices achieved.

Here’s the top 5 highest selling UK circulation 50p coins from our eBay Tracker, with Kew Gardens not surprisingly having the highest selling price, followed by the Olympic 50ps (the coin series that gave Britain the collecting bug back in 2012) and the 2017 Tom Kitten from the ever popular Beatrix Potter 50p series. This coin has recently been spotted in circulation by Change Checkers, but have you found one in your change?

Click here to see our full eBay Tracker >>

 

Ebay Tracker Price Info 01 50p 1 - How rare is my 50p and how much is it worth?

*Accurate as of June 2018

 

Scarcity Index

To give you a complete picture of how your coin compares to other 50ps in circulation, we have combined the mintage information with two other key pieces of information to provide the Change Checker Scarcity Index:

  • How many of each design are listed as “collected” by Change Checkers, indicating the relative ease of finding a particular coin.
  • The number of times a design has been requested as a swap over the previous 3 months, showing the current level of collector demand.

Here’s our most recent Scarcity Index for 50p coins, with yet again Kew Gardens coming in on top as the most scarce 50p. Where does your 50p rank on the Scarcity Index?

See the full Index here >> 

50p and OLY 50p Scarcity Index 967x1024 - How rare is my 50p and how much is it worth?

 

So now you have access to a range of tools to help indicate how rare your 50p is and what it might be worth. Of course, these figures will change in time as the latest 50ps are released into circulation, so you never know, we could see the elusive Kew Gardens kicked off top spot one day!

Have you found any rare coins in your change recently? 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 - How rare is my 50p and how much is it worth?

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