Striking designs – A look at football themed UK coins

EURO 2024 kicks off today (14th June 2024), so we’ve taken a look back at some of the UK coins that have been issued to celebrate the beautiful game.

1996 Football Single Metal £2

The single metal Football £2 was issued in 1996 to celebrate England hosting the 10th European football championships.

Before 1997, £2 coins were struck from a single-coloured, nickel-brass and were mainly produced for collectors and reserved for very special occasions.

The reverse design resembles a football, and is accentuated by an unusual concave surface of the coin. The year of 1996 is prominent, and the sixteen small rings represent the teams who competed in the tournament. Only 5,141,350 1996 Football £2 coins were ever minted.

2011 Olympic Football 50p

In 2011, a year before London hosted the Olympic Games, 29 new 50p coins were issued, each representing a different Olympic sport.

The football 50p was possibly the most publicised of them all, as it features the hotly debated offside rule in the form of a simple diagram. Designer Neil Wolfson, a sports journalist by trade, chose an image which he felt would encapsulate the sport whilst also provoking discussion.

The Olympic Football 50p is also the rarest of the Olympic 50ps with a mintage figure of just 1,125,500.

2022 150th Anniversary of the FA Cup £2

To mark 150 years of the FA Cup, The Royal Mint issued this £2 coin in 2022. Designers Matt Dent and Christian Davies created a design featuring the famed FA Cup Trophy in the centre.

Ribbons on each side of the trophy represent the first staging of the Football Association Challenge Cup (1871-72) and the 141st season which marked the 150th anniversary (2021-22).

2023 Pride of England £5

In 2022, England won the Woman’s EURO 2022 after beating Germany 2-1. The following year in 2023, the team embarked on their biggest competition to date – the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

To celebrate the Lionesses and their successes, The Royal Mint struck this £5 coin in 2023. The reverse of the coin features the iconic ‘three lions’ emblem in a design by Norman Sillman.

The England team made it to the final of the 2023 World Cup, but unfortunately Spain took home the cup.

An honourable mention…

Although not technically a football coin, the 1997 Three Lions £1 does feature the heraldic three lions design which has become synonymous with English football, so we thought it was worth a mention!

The three lions date back to Richard the Lionheart (1189-1199) who used three golden lions on a scarlet background as a powerful symbol of the English throne.

The design of the 1997 £1, by Norman Sillman, was actually the original design that inspired the 2023 Pride of England £5.


Vote for your favourite football coin

We want to know which of these football themed UK coins is your favourite, so cast your vote below and come back on 14th July (the EURO 2024 final) for the results!


Kick off your football collection

If you’re missing either the 1996 Football £2 or the 2022 FA Cup £2 from your collection, you can secure the pair for just £25 (+p&p) here >>

Just how rare are your coins? Your latest Scarcity Index Update!

It’s time for your latest Scarcity Index update – your chance to discover the UK’s most sought-after circulation 10p, 50p, and £2 coins of the last three months!

Our Scarcity Index uses data from the Change Checker Swap Centre to determine just how scarce and sought-after your coins are. The information is presented in the easy-to-use indexes below, with arrows to signify how many places up or down a coin has moved since the last Scarcity Index update.

50p Scarcity Index

50p Scarcity Index
50p Scarcity Index

The top and bottom of the 50p index has remained fairly stable, with the Kew Gardens 50p remaining in the top spot, but despite this, there have been some big changes in this latest update…

Moving up the ranks are some of the Olympic 50ps, including Shooting, Cycling and Boccia which have all climbed significantly. These big jumps up mean that others have to shuffle down the index, and we can see that a fair few 50ps have moved down just 1 or 2 places.

Also making their way down the index are the 50 Years of Pride 50p, the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 50p and the Battle of Britain 50p.
Interestingly, we came across all 3 of these coins in our latest 50p coin hunt, watch it here >>

If you’re new to collecting and want to find out more about circulation coins, you can check out our fact files here >>

Otherwise, keep reading to find out which 10ps and £2 coins you should be looking out for.

10p Scarcity Index

A-Z 10p Scarcity Index
A-Z 10p Scarcity Index

The A-Z 10ps seem to be some of the hardest commemorative coins to find in circulation, not surprising when you consider a maximum of JUST 304,000 of each A-Z 10p design entered circulation across 2018 and 2019.

It’s thought that a large percentage of these 10ps have been snapped up by collectors, leaving a limited amount still in circulation, but it is still possible to find them!

One to keep your eye on is the NHS 10p which has shot up 20 places to 5th place, and the Houses of Parliament 10p which has climbed 12 places.

A few less fortunate coins are the King Arthur 10p which has fallen 10 places and the Ice Cream 10p which has dropped 8 places. The X Marks the Spot 10p remains at the bottom of the index, but it’s worth remembering that this Index only ranks the 10ps against each other, so even the ones at the bottom of the list are still incredibly sought-after.

£2 Scarcity Index

We usually see less movement on the £2 index due to the fact that less coins have entered circulation in recent years, however this time, there have been some big movers.

The £2 index usually remains fairly stable as we’ve not had a £2 coin enter circulation since 2016, however this time we have seen a fair bit of movement!

Of course, remaining at the top of the Index is the 2002 Commonwealth Games Northern Ireland £2. With a mintage figure of just 458,000, it’s one of the rarest and clearly still one of the most popular £2 coin designs, even 22 years after entering circulation!

The Guinea £2 climbed an impressive 19 places and the Brunel Portrait £2 moved up 9 places.

Some other big movers are the Wireless Transmission £2 and the Florence Nightingale £2 which have both fallen by 10 places and the Steam Locomotive £2 which has dropped 14 places.


How your Scarcity Index works

Generally, collectors have relied on 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.

What’s more, some designs are more hoarded than others by people who might not normally collect coins – for example the First World War £2 Coin series.

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. This allows Change Checkers to track the relative performance of the UK’s circulation coins.


How much are my coins worth?

The Scarcity Index doesn’t necessarily equate to value, but it is certainly a good indicator. For example, the Kew Gardens 50p coin commands a premium of up to 200 times face value on eBay and is unsurprisingly top of the 50p Index.

You can use our 6 point guide to help you determine a more realistic value for your coins.


What about £1 Coins?

The £1 Scarcity Index has already been published for the Round £1 coins. Because they are no longer being issued, this is now set in stone.


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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

ST-London-Olympics-Blue-Peter-50p-Pack

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.