In 2012, 29 50p coins were released to commemorate the London Olympics and millions rose to the challenge of collecting them all. For many, this marked the start of their interest in coins.
The Royal Mint now estimates that as many as 75% of the Olympic 50p coins have been removed from circulation by collectors, which is a testament to their popularity.
Do you own the rarest Olympic 50p?
Olympic 50ps have long been a favourite amongst collectors, but did you know that only 1,125,500 Football fifty pence pieces entered circulation? It’s definitely the rarest one to look out for and tops our chart as having the smallest mintage figures, which means it is even harder to find than the others.
Although the Football 50p narrowly holds the title of the rarest sport in the series, there were still over one million of those struck for circulation. To hold the honourable title as “rare”, we must look beyond the official Royal Mint circulation figures…
The withdrawn Aquatics ‘minting error’ Olympic 50p
The Aquatics 50p which we are familiar with today is actually a modified version which removed the waves passing over the swimmer’s face.
Despite the original coin being withdrawn from circulation and the design adapted – there are still a few out there.
Although the exact quantity of the original Aquatics design remains a mystery, we know it’s not unusual 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.
That makes this 2009 Athletics Olympic 50p more than twice as rare as the famous Kew Gardens 50p.
The rarest of the series
It is without doubt that the gold versions of each 50p remain the rarest of the collection.
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.
Is this the 30th Olympic 50p?
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 Games.
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 has been officially endorsed by Team GB and celebrates the spirit of British Olympians – a must have for all Olympic 50p Collectors.
Complete your 50p collection
Do you still have coins missing from your Olympic 50p collection?
Following the launch of the Change Checker “Scarcity Index” early last year, the final 2017 Quarter 4 Index has now been published.
50p Scarcity Index
It’s of little surprise that Kew Gardens maintains its top spot as the UK’s most sought after circulation coin with a perfect score of 100.
The mintage figures for the 2017 50p coins were released just before Christmas and have had an effect on the Scarcity Index scores. Interestingly, the Sir Isaac Newton 50p only scores a 3/100 which is lower than we anticipated. This is mainly due to the large number of Change Checkers who list having the coin in their collection. However, we are expecting this score to increase during the next quarter due to the low mintage figure, of just 1.8 million, driving demand.
Jemima Puddle-Duck remains the most scarce Beatrix Potter 50p, with Tom Kitten and Benjamin also scoring quite highly with a score of 13 and 7 respectively. Tom Kitten and Benjamin Bunny were only released into circulation in December so requests for swaps are high. Mintage figures for these coins are also relatively high so as more people find these coins in their change it is possible these scores will decrease slightly.
Interestingly, the mintage figure for the Jeremy Fisher 50p coin has been released, however the coin is not yet in circulation.
£2 Scarcity Index
There’s not a lot of movement in our Quarter 4 £2 “Scarcity Index” update.
The Commonwealth Games Wales £2 coin takes top spot from the Commonwealth Games Northern Ireland. This is down to the very large number of swap requests for this coin in the last quarter. At 99/100 the Northern Ireland coin is still very scarce (as are the other two coins in the Commonwealth Games series) and it’s very possible it will retake the number 1 spot next quarter.
We are still waiting for the Jane Austen and WWI Aviation £2 coins to be released into circulation, hence why they do not feature on our Index. We await the release of these and their mintage figures with great interest, could they be low like the Sir Isaac Newton 50p? It is possible.
How the Scarcity Index works
Generally collectors have had to rely upon mintage figures to identify the scarcest coins. But they only tell part of the story. Trying to find a good quality coin from 15 – 20 years ago, even for a higher mintage issue, is much more challenging than a more recent issue, as coins become damaged over time and are ultimately removed from circulation.
Additionally, some designs are more hoarded than others by people who might not normally collect coins – the recent poignant First World War £2 Coin series being an example. Finally, it can be up to a couple of years before the Royal Mint eventually confirms the actual mintage for an issue.
That’s why we have combined the mintage information with two other key pieces of information.
- 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.
Importantly, as new coins are released and popularity rises and falls across different designs the Scarcity Index will be updated quarterly allowing Change Checkers to track the relative performance of the UK’s circulation coins.
How much are my coins worth?
The Scarcity Index does not necessarily equate to value but it is certainly an effective indicator. For example, the Kew Gardens 50p coin commands a premium of up to 160 times face value on eBay.
What about £1 Coins?
Today marks 20 years since the small 50p was first released into circulation.
To celebrate this anniversary we’ve taken a look back at the history of the 50p over the last 48 years…
You can download our infographic in a handy PDF format: A History of the 50p coin