A new commemorative coin has just entered circulation which could well become the most collected 50p since the Olympic series in 2012. Collectors all over the country are checking their change right now in an attempt to find the new 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games 50p.
Struck by The Royal Mint, this legal tender UK coin has been designed by Alex Loudon in the ‘arts and crafts’ style. Two athletes are intersected by the Scottish Saltire, and the words XX Commonwealth Games Glasgow fill the top right section of the surprisingly distinctive 50p.
But this coin has been attracting attention from collectors for another reason…
In 2011 The Royal Mint issued a series of 29 different Olympic themed 50ps – one to represent each sport. With London 2012 around the corner, these coins suddenly became THE must-have collectables to commemorate the Games. Collectors still can’t resist flicking through their change to find the elusive last two or three coins they are missing.
Now, 2 years on, the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games 50p looks set to become the next collecting sensation – as the race to find the first sports-themed British coin since the Olympics begins in earnest.
With the mintage figures as yet unconfirmed by The Royal Mint, this coin could well be the rarest of the lot, but only time will tell. Have you found yours yet?
Heads or tails? Well, in reality for Change Checkers, the answer is usually tails.
The reverse, or ‘tails’ side of the coin has always been the place to commemorate important anniversaries or make design changes, whilst the Queen retains her same recognisable profile on the obverse – the ‘heads’ side.
Except her profile hasn’t always been the same.
Something which often goes un-noticed on our circulating coinage is the changing face of our Queen over the years. In fact, since decimalisation, three different portraits of Queen Elizabeth II have adorned the coins in our change.
1969-1984: Arnold Machin
With decimalisation approaching, it was decided to refresh the Queen’s portrait with Arnold Machin’s new sculpture of her wearing a tiara. It was commissioned in 1964 and first appeared in 1969 on the new 5p and 10p coins. The portrait may seem very familiar – as it was introduced on stamps in 1967 and remains to this day.
1985 – 1997: Raphael Maklouf
Raphael Maklouf’s effigy replaced Machin’s in 1985 and depicts the Queen wearing the Royal Diadem which she wears to and from the State Opening of Parliament. Some critics accused him of sculpting the Queen as ‘flatteringly young’, but his response was that he aimed to create a symbol “Regal and ageless”.
1998 – Current: Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS
The current Queen’s head on our coinage was designed in 1997 by Ian Rank-Broadley. Created to fill the full circle of the coin, its larger size was a deliberate response to the smaller 5p and 10p coins in circulation. A noticeably more mature portrayal of Her Majesty, Rank-Broadley aimed to show the Queen with “poise and bearing”.
You can now collect all 3 of these portraits for both 1p and 2p denominations in a brand new Change Checker Collector’s Card.
Included with the card is a FREE coin you can’t find in your change – a pre-decimal penny featuring Mary Gillick’s portrayal of an uncrowned young Queen.
Click here to find out more
Half of Britons don’t know their own coins –
well that’s what the Royal Mint says…
A recent survey commissioned by the Royal Mint suggests that the British population has very little idea about the coins they use every day.
It seems that 17% of people had no idea that Queen Elizabeth II was featured on the obverse (head side) of British coins, with a slightly concerning 4% suggesting it was Queen Victoria and 3% former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
As for the designs on the coins 68% struggled with what was on the penny and perhaps most remarkably practically half of the adult population (48%) were unable to identify the correct number of denominations currently in circulation.
Growing interest in circulating coin collecting
In fact the Royal Mint’s research flies in the face of growing interest in the UK’s circulating coinage. Fuelled by the incredible interest in the Olympic 50 pence coins, that has seen 70% of the 15,000,000 coins that went into circulation disappear – apparently into individual collections – change collecting has gathered considerable momentum over the last couple of years.
In fact there are currently 93 different £2, £1 and 50p coin designs and with only the very latest releases still to make banks and post offices, nearly all are available to collect in your change.
But with so little knowledge about our own coinage, it’s little wonder that some many collectors have turned to www.changechecker.org to track their collection and swap coins with other collectors. With over 75 swap requests being posted each day, we can be hopeful that Britons are rapidly re-educating themselves about their coinage.