The 2024 Annual Coin Set celebrates some of the most significant anniversaries and events taking place this year, one of which being 150 years since the birth of Sir Winston Churchill.
The 2024 Winston Churchill £2 depicts him as a young man during his time in the Cavalry army, with the years of his life 1874-1965 either side of his portrait.
However, rather unusually, the Winston Churchill £2 will be the only coin from the 2024 Annual Set NOT to be released individually.
A collecting ‘first’
At the beginning of each year, collectors eagerly anticipate the release of The Royal Mint’s Annual Coin Set, which includes 5 of the best commemorative coins from the year to come. Securing the Annual Set is usually the only way for collectors to get their hands on the coins until they’re individually released later in the year.
However, this year is a bit different as the Winston Churchill £2 WON’T be issued individually – meaning that currently, the only way to own it is in the 2024 Annual Set. This is extremely unusual, but we have seen similar situations a handful of times before.
Serious collectors know why it’s important to own both the Annual Set and individual release versions of coins, but in case you didn’t know, here are a few examples of previous design differences…
2022 Platinum Jubilee 50p
The most recent example is the 2022 Platinum Jubilee 50p, issued to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s incredible 70 year reign.
At the beginning of 2022, the Annual Coin Set included the Platinum Jubilee 50p which featured the number 70 and the Queen’s cypher on the reverse and the Jody Clark portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse. However, when the coin was individually released later in the year, it featured a special obverse design of Her Majesty on horseback – a nod to the design on the 1952 Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Crown.
Team GB 50p
Back in 2020, the Team GB 50p was released as part of the 2020 Annual Coin Set, to celebrate Team GB’s participation in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. The reverse design featured a depiction of various Olympic sports, the official Team GB logo and the year 2020, whilst the obverse featured Jody Clark’s Queen Elizabeth II portrait and the date 2020.
However, due to the coronavirus pandemic and the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games to 2021, this 50p was never individually released in 2020.
The Team GB 50p was eventually individually issued in 2021, however due to the delayed release, it featured two different dates – 2020 on the reverse design and 2021 on the obverse. This made it one of just a few UK coins to feature a dual-date.
2021 Decimal Day 50p
The Decimal Day 50p was issued as part of the 2021 Annual Set to mark the 50th anniversary of Decimalisation.
The Decimal Day 50p in the 2021 Annual Set featured overlapping pre-decimal coins and the date ‘1971’ on the reverse and the original Arnold Machin portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse – which featured on the very first 50p back in 1969. However, when it was individually released later in 2021, the Decimal Day 50p featured the standard Jody Clark portrait of Her Majesty on the obverse.
The above three examples show how some UK coins are individually released with slightly different variations to their Annual Set counterpart, however the 2024 Winston Churchill £2 is highly unusual in that it won’t be individually released at all! As collectors will know, an unusual story like this is sure to add to the collectability of this coin and the 2024 Annual Set.
The return of Winston Churchill on UK currency
Winston Churchill is one of the most memorable figures in British politics, and the 2024 Winston Churchill £2 isn’t the first time we’ve seen him feature on our UK currency.
The 1965 Churchill Crown was issued to mark the death of Sir Winston Churchill, making him the first non-royal to be portrayed on a British coin.
The reverse design features a sombre-looking head and shoulders portrait of Churchill wearing a ‘siren suit’ – overalls designed to be worn in wartime air-raid shelters, invented and popularised by Churchill.
In the lead up to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games being held in London, the Royal Mint issued the 2010 London Olympic Games Sir Winston Churchill £5.
The design was inspired by a statue of wartime Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill accompanied by a quote: ‘Be daring, be first, be different, be just’.
Half a century after his death, the 2015 Churchill £5 was issued.
Engraver Mark Richards FRBS, who designed the reverse of this coin, said he wanted to convey Churchill as larger than life by creating an image larger than the coin itself.
In 2016, Sir Winston Churchill replaced Elizabeth Fry on the UK £5 bank note.
The design features the famous portrait of Churchill in 1941 known as the ‘Roaring Lion’ as well as his famous quote “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat” which he made on the day he became Prime Minister.
So, considering the rarity of a scenario like this, will you be adding the 2024 Annual Set to your collection to guarantee the 2024 Winston Churchill £2? Perhaps you have all the previous Churchill coins in your collection and don’t want to miss the latest issue, let us know in the comments!
The Polymer banknotes are still catching the headlines this week after a £5 note was found with a mysterious secret message.
Two different people, who thought they had found the rare Jane Austen £5 note worth more than £20,000, have come forward so far.
The message on the banknote stated ‘Look for serial number AL22171910’ instead of a classic quote from Pride and Prejudice, Emma or Mansfield Park.
However, artist Graham Short’s gallery have denied the stunt is anything to do with them.
Four special £5 notes, engraved with a tiny portrait of author Jane Austen, were put into circulation by Mr Graham Short late last year and could fetch more than £20,000 at auction.
So could it be another Willy Wonka style golden ticket hunt?
Both findings have sparked theories of a copycat engraver offering clues to find other valuable notes – but it could just be someone creating a bit of mischief.
Just one fiver worth more than £20K left to find…
There is still one engraved fiver in circulation left to find by specialist micro-engraver Graham Short. Mr Short came up with the idea of engraving a 5mm portrait of Pride and Prejudice author Jane Austen on the transparent part of the new plastic £5 notes, to mark the 200th anniversary of one of the best-loved English novelists this year.
The first of four notes featuring art by specialist micro-engraver Graham Short was found in a cafe in South Wales on 5th December while another was found the same month inside a Christmas card in Scotland. The third £5 note was found by a mystery old lady in Eniskillen in Northern Ireland who has donated it to charity.
So that means there is just one more rare £5 note left to find with the handiwork of Birmingham micro-artist Graham Short. It was spent somewhere in England back in December so for those hunting down the last remaining fiver, the serial number to look out for is AM 32 885554.
In other news… the Bank of England considers the use of Palm Oil
The Bank of England have been considering the use of palm oil as a replacement to animal fat in their polymer banknotes after complaints from vegans and religious groups.
The news that the polymer fiver contained animal fat sparked an online petition last year, calling for the Bank of England to stop using tallow in the production of the notes, which has since attracted more than 136,000 signatures.
However, in February, the Bank of England confirmed that it would stick with animal fat despite the concerns. In a statement, the Bank of England said “it would be appropriate to keep the £5 polymer note in circulation and to issue the £10 polymer note as planned, in September.”
Palm oil is a type of edible vegetable oil that is derived from the palm fruit. However, switching from the animal fat derivative may prove difficult and is likely to spark protests from environmentalists unless the palm oil can be sustainably sourced.
The Bank of England is now undertaking a consultation to seek the views of the public on options for the future composition of polymer notes, namely the next £20 note and future reprints of the £5 and £10.
Who will feature on the new £20 polymer banknote?
The new £20 polymer banknote is due to enter circulation in 2020 and will feature J.M.W. Turner. Click here to find out more about the £20 note.
The £20 note will be the third banknote made from Polymer, following on from the £5 note featuring Winston Churchill and the £10 note featuring Jane Austen. The £50 note will remain in circulation with the same design and there are currently no plans for them to be issued in polymer.
Time and again we hear from people with various serial numbers asking how much their £5 notes are worth, so we thought we would address some of the myths about the £5 polymer banknote.
The rare £5 note with serial number AK47 that ‘sold’ for over £80,000 on eBay!
Notes with the serial number AK47 have been particularly popular thanks to the machine gun connotations. Back in 2016, news emerged that a £5 banknote with the prefix Ak47 had fetched a winning bid of £80,100 on the online market place eBay. The seller must have been overjoyed with the jackpot amount but it turned out the buyer had no intention of paying up.
As much as we love the design of the new fiver, there is no way we would pay anywhere near £80,000 for it, no matter what serial number it had.
Or the fivers with a James Bond theme?
Described as an “AK37 007 James Bond Bank of England Polymer £5 note” in a lovely condition, this banknote sold for £5,000.
Although there must be plenty of James Bond fanatics out there, we can think of so many other items of James Bond memorabilia that fans could spend £5,000 on! And realistically, if you had the choice, which would you prefer to spend £5K on?
What about the AA01 banknotes?
When they were first released, the new polymer banknotes created a collecting storm. In fact I’m almost certain that every single person in the country checked their new note at some point to see if they were lucky enough to find one with the prefix AA01.
Although a banknote with the prefix AA01 might be worth slightly over face value to someone who is genuinely interested, we must remember that 1 million AA01 banknotes were printed. So as much as I wish it could be true, reality check – don’t expect a big payout if you do find one.
And the upside down fiver?
There were countless stories and accounts of plastic banknotes fetching eye-watering sums of money after the launch, but one eBay seller took things a step further when he listed his ‘upside down’ banknote.
Although the seller stated in the description that the listing was a joke, he still received lots of serious questions about the note.
Micro-engraver Graham Short has created special £5 notes, engraved with tiny portraits. The first set features author Jane Austen and more recently notes featuring Harry Kane have been put into circulation and could be worth more than £20,000. In fact, Graham Short’s work has an insurance valuation of £50,000 so these £5 notes will give you an extra £49,995 of value if you find one…
Serious Collectors: What to look for…
Collecting banknotes is a serious hobby that many thousands of people all over the world enjoy.
There are many ways of assembling collections of banknotes, for example banknotes that feature famous people (scientists, writers or politicians) or banknotes with historical context such as those from a certain era.
Generally collecting banknotes is not about the serial number it possesses, instead the chief cashier is of most interest, particularly on UK banknotes. This is where real rarities can be found – in the form of Chief Cashier signatures.
Banknote designs rarely change but on average cashiers change every 5 or 6 years with some in the position for as little as 3 years.
These £5 polymer banknotes will always be considered the ‘first’ polymer banknotes regardless of what serial number they hold and importantly uncirculated notes or those in good condition will also always be more sought after.
So if you are genuinely interested in collecting banknotes, the chief cashier is what you should really be looking for.
If you’re interested in coin collecting, our Change Checker web app is completely free to use and allows users to:
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Sign up today at: www.changechecker.org/app