So you think you know the Kew Gardens 50p?

The rarest 50p in circulation, the 2009 Kew Gardens 50p, is at the top of many collectors’ wish lists, but how well do you actually know this elusive coin?

The 2009 Kew Gardens 50p is the rarest 50p in circulation

Extremely low circulating mintage

Most collectors will know that what makes the Kew Gardens 50p so sought-after is its incredibly low mintage figure of just 210,000! That’s nearly 7 times less than the next rarest circulating 50p – the 2018 Peter Rabbit 50p.

With 1.5 billions 50ps in circulation since 1997, that means Kew Gardens 50ps make up just 0.013% of all circulating 50ps!

A question we were asked recently is ‘Why were so few Kew Gardens 50ps put out into circulation?

The answer is simple – demand for the 50p denomination was not high at the time when the Kew Gardens 50p was released into circulation. But why…

Banks, cash centres and the Treasury forecasted demand for coin denominations and had put their order in with The Royal Mint for 2009 coins. The Royal Mint started minting the Kew Gardens 50ps, but as the forecast was reduced, minting had to be stopped after just 210,000 had been produced. So the 210,000 2009 Kew Gardens 50ps we have in circulation today were originally just the start of a much bigger order.

Another factor which could have contributed to the forecast being reduced is the huge amount of 50ps which went into circulation the year before – a whopping 26,247,000!

How to spot a fake

Unfortunately, this level of attention and popularity can cause problems, and some unlucky collectors fell pray to buying fake Kew Gardens 50ps on the secondary market.

Luckily, there are some easy ways to identify an authentic Kew Gardens 50p, here’s what to look out for which could indicate a fake:

  • Frosted finish on the pagoda and years
  • High relief design
  • An extra pointy roof on the pagoda
  • The Queen’s neckline alignment
  • Larger designer initials
  • More rounded features on Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait
  • Lighter than a standard 50p (8 grams)

Design difference

It’s often thought that two extra lines either side of the word ‘Kew’ at the bottom of the design is another sign of a fake Kew Gardens 50p, and whilst this can indicate a dodgy copy, these lines do actually appear on the Brilliant Uncirculated and Proof versions of the coin.

Brilliant Uncirculated 2009 Kew Gardens 50p (left) and Circulation 2009 Kew Gardens 50p (right)
Image credit: The Royal Mint

This is likely due to the level of detail achieved by striking proof and brilliant uncirculated coins making the lines more visible than on the circulating version.

The Kew Gardens 50p was re-issued in 2019 as part of the 50th Anniversary of the 50p celebrations, however this version was not intended for circulation and therefore also features the extra lines.

2009 Circulation Kew Gardens 50p (left) and 2019 Brilliant Uncirculated Kew Gardens 50p (right)

Did you know, coins intended for circulation are struck just once at a rate of up to 750 per minute, whereas Brilliant Uncirculated coins are struck twice with a greater force using hand polished dies at a rate of up to 300 per minute, giving much more definition. Proof coins go the extra step and are struck several times at a rate of between 50 and 100 per hour.

Potential Errors

Minting errors and mis-strikes can make coins more sought after by collectors and even add value. A few eagle eyed collectors have reported finding interesting variations on their Kew Gardens 50ps which could be a result of an error or mis-strike at the time of minting.

Extra ‘leaf’

One collector took to an online coin forum to share their Kew Gardens 50p which had what looked like an additional leaf at the bottom right of the pagoda. After some speculation, it was suggested that the extra ‘leaf’ may have been caused by die wear or maybe a die chip during striking.

The error resembled an extra leaf at the bottom of the pagoda
Image Credit: MrV via

‘Struck thru’

A strike-through, or ‘struck thru’ error is caused by another object coming between a blank and a die at the time of striking. The outline of the object – usually staples, metal shavings, cloth fibres or hairs – is pressed into the blank’s surface.

A handful of collectors reported finding strike-through errors on the obverse of their Kew Gardens 50p, one across the Queen’s cheek, the other at the top left of the obverse. Both of these have been authenticated by the Numismatic Guaranty Company as genuine errors.

A strike through error across the Queen’s cheek on the obverse
Image Credit: JackCoins1975 via eBay
A strike through error on the top left of the obverse
Credit: Mr Jibble on YouTube

Do you have a Kew Gardens 50p?

Are you one of the lucky 210,000 people to own a 2009 Kew Gardens 50p? Or perhaps you got your hands on a 2019 re-issue? Let us know in the comments!

The Gruffalo returns to UK coins

With the recent announcement that a brand new Gruffalo 50p will be released this year, let’s take a closer look at why the previous Gruffalo 50ps were so popular!

2019 Gruffalo 50p and 2019 Gruffalo and Mouse 50p
2019 Gruffalo 50p and 2019 Gruffalo and Mouse 50p

Some of the most popular coins are often those that not only have captivating designs, but those that tell a story, and the 2019 Gruffalo® 50p and the 2019 Gruffalo and Mouse 50p coins are prime examples. These coins gained immense popularity among collectors, and it’s not hard to see why...

The story behind the coins

The Gruffalo, a beloved children’s book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, first hit the shelves in 1999 and has since sold a whopping 13.5 million copies! The story has enchanted both children and adults, with its whimsical tale of a clever mouse who outsmarts a host of woodland creatures, including the fearsome Gruffalo.

The Gruffalo
Image Credit:

The Gruffalo has also become somewhat of a festive favourite, as it was adapted into a short film for BBC One in December 2009 by production company Magic Light Pictures.

2019 Gruffalo 50p

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of this iconic story, The Royal Mint released two commemorative 50ps in 2019, the first featuring the Gruffalo himself.

The reverse design, created by Magic Light Pictures, features the Gruffalo smirking mischievously with all his distinctive features.

The 2019 Gruffalo 50p sparked huge excitement across the UK

When it was first released in February 2019, the Gruffalo 50p sparked huge excitement across the UK, inspiring a whole new generation of collectors.

It became one of the most sought-after 50ps of recent years, with more than 239,000 Brilliant Uncirculated 50ps sold and all 25,500 Silver Proof Gruffalo 50ps selling out.

2019 Gruffalo and Mouse 50p

Following the success of the first release, The Royal Mint delighted collectors once again by issuing a second Gruffalo 50p in October 2019. This time, the design featured the Gruffalo alongside the cunning little mouse, capturing a key moment from the story.

The intricate detailing highlights the contrast between the imposing Gruffalo and the small but brave mouse.

The 2019 Gruffalo and Mouse 50p was the eagerly awaited second UK Gruffalo coin

Collectors had been eagerly awaiting the release of this coin since The Royal Mint teased a second Gruffalo coin a few months earlier. There was speculation about what might feature on the second coin, from the charming fox to the sly snake, but the clever little mouse was a welcome addition to the design.

Similarly to the first Gruffalo 50p, the Gruffalo and Mouse 50p was incredibly popular with collectors, and just shy of 100,000 Brilliant Uncirculated 50ps were sold!

What’s next for the Gruffalo?

Eagle eyed collectors will have seen in the latest Royal Proclamation that we can expect a brand new Gruffalo 50p in 2024!

Details are still top secret, but we do know that the coin will celebrate 20 years since the release of the Gruffalo sequel, The Gruffalo’s Child and will feature depiction of the Gruffalo’s Child and a mouse, accompanied by the inscription “THE GRUFFALO’S CHILD”.

Considering the popularity of previous Gruffalo coins, this release really will be one to watch out for!

Want to be the first to know when the Gruffalo’s Child 50p will be available? Sign up to get all the latest updates.

Sign up

* indicates required

By signing up, you are agreeing to receive emails about the 2024 Gruffalo’s Child 50p. You can read our privacy policy here.

UK 50p issued to wish Team GB and ParalympicsGB luck in the 2024 Paris Olympics!

As excitement for the upcoming Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games builds, The Royal Mint have issued a new UK 50p to celebrate Team GB and ParalympicsGB. The 2024 UK Team GB & ParalympicsGB 50p not only commemorates our athletes’ dedication and achievements, but also represents the unity and pride of the United Kingdom as the teams prepare to complete on the world stage.

2024 UK Team GB & ParalympicsGB 50p
2024 UK Team GB & ParalympicsGB 50p

Return to Paris

The Olympic Games will return to Paris in 2024, exactly 100 years since the city last hosted the games. The Paralympics will also be held in Paris for the first time this year, making the games the biggest sporting event ever held in France.

1924 Paris Olympics Opening Ceremony
Credit: Agence Rol, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Did you know? The Ancient Olympic Games have been dated as far back as 776 BC, however the first modern international Summer Olympics were held in Athens in 1896, where 14 nations competed in 9 sports.

A tribute to excellence

You may recognise this coin as it actually featured in the 2024 Annual Coin set at the beginning of the year, however its now been individually issued.

In the centre of the design are two geometric athletes in action – one representing Team GB, the other representing ParalympicsGB – set against the iconic Union Jack. If you look closely, you’ll even see the Eiffel Tower at the bottom of the design, a nod to the hosting city.

This powerful imagery highlights Team GB and ParalympicsGB’s strength and resilience, along with the nation’s unwavering support.

A history of Olympic coins

The 2024 UK Team GB & ParalympicsGB 50p isn’t the first UK coin to be issued celebrating the Olympics, but it is the first UK sporting 50p to feature King Charles III on the obverse.

2011 Olympic 50ps

Perhaps the most well-known commemorative 50p series was issued in 2011 when 29 new coins were released, each representing a different Olympic sport.

The Olympic 50p 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!

2016 Team GB 50p

To the delight of many Olympic 50p collectors, The Royal Mint issued a special 50p in 2016 to wish Team GB success for the Rio Olympic 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 was officially endorsed by Team GB and celebrated the spirit of British Olympians.

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 2020 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, making it one of only a small handful of UK 50ps to feature a dual-date.

Secure the 2024 UK Team GB & ParalympicsGB 50p

Click here to add the 2024 Team GB & ParalympicsGB 50p to your collection for just £5.99 (+p&p) >>