As collectors, we often find ourselves focusing on the commemorative coins that turn up in our change, but how often do we pay attention to the definitive designs?
We wouldn’t normally combine definitive and commemorative mintage figures into one chart, however the comparative figures give us an interesting insight into the change in our pockets and actually go to show why the definitive coin designs deserve your attention…
50p Mintage Figures
Our latest charts featuring the updated commemorative coin mintage figures revealed the 2017 Sir Isaac Newton 50p as the second rarest UK 50p in circulation after the Kew Gardens, with a mintage of just 1,801,500. This knocked Jemima Puddle Duck off the second spot with a whopping 298,500 less coins being struck.
Change Checkers had already shown a great response to the Sir Isaac Newton coin, voting it their favourite coin design of the year in 2017. But now, as we delve deeper into the mintage figures for not only commemorative 50p coins but also the definitive designs, an unlikely rival has pipped the 2017 Isaac Newton to the post to claim the title of the second rarest UK 50p coin in circulation…
You might be surprised by the second rarest 50p in circulation…
The chart above features the mintage figures for every commemorative and definitive UK 50p coin in circulation and whilst the Kew Gardens still remains king, it came as a surprise that the second rarest 50p was actually a definitive rather than a commemorative design.
The 2017 Royal Shield 50p has a mintage of just 1,800,000 which means there are 1,500 less coins than the 2017 Sir Isaac Newton 50p. This is by far the lowest mintage figure for any definitive 50p coin, with the next rarest definitive coin having almost double the amount of coins struck – the 2008 Britannia with a mintage of 3,500,000.
Definitive 50p coin designs
Christopher Ironside’s Britannia design featured on all UK definitive coins from their first appearance in 1969 with the words ‘NEW PENCE’ inscribed above. The inscription was revised in 1982 to say ‘FIFTY PENCE’ and this design remained unchanged until 2008, when Matthew Dent’s Royal Shield design was introduced, featuring the third and fourth quarters of the Royal Arms.
It comes as no surprise that the majority of the definitive designs can be found towards the bottom of the chart, with the most common UK 50p in circulation being the 1997 Britannia. The old larger 50p and this smaller one were both dated 1997, however the larger coin was only struck as year sets, whereas the smaller circulated in very large numbers, with a mintage of 456,364,100.
The fact that the 2017 Benjamin Bunny commemorative 50p features in amongst the definitive designs goes to show just how many of this design were struck and how likely you’ll be to find one in your change.
We haven’t included the Olympic 50p coins in the mintage chart as this was a specially struck series, with low mintages figures for each coin. You can see the Olympic 50p mintage figures here >>
£2 Mintage Figures
When it comes to the £2 coins, the Commonwealth Games are some of the rarest in circulation. In fact, all four coins would be sat at the top of the mintage charts if it wasn’t for two 2015 coins…
The rarest definitive £2 coin revealed…
Many collectors will be aware of the 2015 Navy £2‘s low mintage figure of 650,000, making it the third rarest UK £2 coin in circulation, however many of us may not know that this coin is in fact joint third, as a definitive design from the same year also holds the same low mintage figure.
In 2015, the new definitive £2 coin was introduced, with a design featuring the Britannia, replacing the Technology design which had featured on the coin since 1997. Britannia has featured on a British coin in one way or another for more than 300 years, apart from after 2008 when she was dropped from the 50p coin. She received a welcome return to British coinage for the 2015 definitive £2, but with so few coins being struck, this coin has become the third rarest UK £2 coin in circulation.
The 2016 version of the coin had a higher mintage of 2,925,000, but this is still incredibly low when compared to the 1998 Technology £2, which has a mintage of 91,110,375.
Of course the most common £2 coin you’re likely to come across in your change is the Technology £2, which dominates the bottom of the chart. The rarest of the Technology £2 coins is actually the 2005 issue, with a mintage of 3,837,250, making it the eighteenth rarest UK £2 in circulation.
You may have noticed a lack of 2017 coins on the £2 chart as to date The Royal Mint haven’t confirmed if they will enter circulation. Based on The Royal Mint’s figures, we know that no 2017 Britannia coins were struck for circulation.
I was certainly surprised by the rarity of some of the definitive designs shown on the charts above and will be checking the dates of the coins in my change very carefully to see if I can find any rarer ones for myself, but will you be doing the same?
Your chance to own the 2017 Britannia £2
This coin wasn’t struck for circulation, however you can own this coin as part of the 2017 Royal Mint Annual set.
But you’ll have to be quick, as this set is no longer on sale at The Royal Mint.
Yesterday the Treasury announced that the UK’s 12 sided £1 coin would be going global, as overseas territories and Crown Dependencies will soon be able to create their own bespoke versions of the coin to replace the older £1 currently in circulation.
In 2017, the new Nations of the Crown 12 sided £1 made its UK debut, described by the Government as “the most secure of its kind in the world” due to the new design, featuring intermittent milled edges and micro-engraved denomination and year date which protects against criminals producing counterfeits copies. Before this, around 1 in every 30 round pound coins were in fact fakes.
As many territories and dependencies currently circulate their own version of the older pound coin, they will now be able to protect their currency with this secure cutting edge technology. These coins will be produced by The Royal Mint to the same security standards as our UK coinage to thwart counterfeit activity.
The Nations of the Crown £1 was designed by 15-year-old David Pearce following a public competition in 2015. The design is made up of the English rose, the Welsh leek, the Scottish thistle and the Northern Irish shamrock emerging from one stem within a royal coronet to represent the four constituent countries of the United Kingdom.
The Treasury expects the new versions struck for overseas territories and Crown Dependencies to feature images celebrating their heritage, history and culture to symbolise the close links with the UK.
Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man all represent Crown Dependencies of the UK, whilst the UK overseas territories include Akrotiri and Dhekelia; Anguilla; British Antarctic Territory; Bermuda; British Indian Ocean Territory; British Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands; Falkland Islands; Gibraltar; Montserrat; St Helena and Dependencies (Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha); Turk and Caicos Islands; Pitcairn Island; and South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands.
Robert Jenrick, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said:“These new designs will reflect the rich and varying British communities across the world.”
Lord Ahmad, the overseas territories minister, said: “As well as helping to boost their identity, these new coins will also bring increased security to each of these economies.”
So Change Checkers from overseas territories and Crown Dependencies can look forward to the new coins being released soon, but what design do you think should be featured for each? Let us know in the comments below.
Is this the last Isle of Man Round Pound?
In 2017 the Isle of Man released this Raven and Falcon Uncirculated £1 Coin and following the Treasury’s update, this could now be the very last Isle of Man Round Pound!
It’s been more than 10 years since Matthew Dent redesigned the UK’s definitive coins to create the Royal Shield of Arms design, but there are still some people who don’t actually realise that these coins can be pieced together to complete the shield.
Dent’s design was chosen by The Royal Mint Advisory Committee following a public competition which saw over 4,000 designs submitted. “I felt that the solution to The Royal Mint’s brief lay in a united design,” he explained. “United in terms of theme, execution and coverage over the surface of the coins.”
Using all the coins from the 1p to the 50p and fitting them together like a jig-saw, the complete shield is revealed, as seen on the £1 coin design issued from 2008 until 2015.
Of course, the old round pound has now been replaced by the 12 sided £1, featuring the Nation’s of the Crown design. But, the definitive 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p and 50p shield coins can still be found in your change, meaning the Royal Shield can still be collected and completed.
In fact, I bet if you were to check the change in your pocket right now, you’d be surprised by how much of the shield you’ll already be able to piece together!
So why not try collecting the shield, and if you’d like to give yourself even more of a challenge, how about collecting the whole shield for each year, starting with the coins issued in 2008.
As we’ve now come to the 10th anniversary of these coins, perhaps there will be a re-design on the horizon? If the reverse of our definitive coins were redesigned, what design would you like to see on the new coins?
Complete the shield with the Royal Arms Shield Collector Card!
Designed to fit neatly into your Change Checker Album, this Collector’s card allows you to assemble the Royal Arms Shield by simply using your loose change.