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.
On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month this year, we will mark exactly 100 years since the guns fell silent – the war in Europe was over.
To mark this historic centenary year, many of the allied nations have joined forces again to issue special commemorative coins in a poignant move to mark the anniversary, and so we’ve taken a look at some of the coins released from around the world, including Canada, New Zealand, Australia, France and of course the UK.
2018 UK Armistice £2
This £2 is the final coin issued as part of the First World War £2 series first issued by The Royal Mint in 2014. Issued earlier in 2018, the design by Stephen Raw features the words ‘The truth untold, the pity of war’, from the Wilfred Owen poem Strange Meeting. The words stand out of a mud-like background in the centre of this striking £2 coin, which was actually modelled in the clay taken by the artist from the Sambre-Oise Canal where Wilfred Owen died in 1918.
2018 Canada Armistice $2
In October this year, The Royal Canadian Mint unveiled these finely crafted $2 coins issued to remember the sacrifices of Canadians who fought for freedom during WWI.
Just 3 million coins have been minted – two million of a stunning coloured version and one million of the non-coloured coin, both of which have been released into circulation in Canada. The reverse image by artist Laurie McGaw features a soldier’s helmet in the centre to represent the many lives lost during WWI and the large poppy beneath it is inspired by the Canadian poem In Flanders Fields by John McCrae, who died in combat in January, 1918.
2018 New Zealand Armistice 50-cent
The 2018 Armistice 50 cent coin follows the Anzac coin which was minted in 2015 to mark the centenary of New Zealand’s efforts in WW1. Designed by Dave Burke, the reverse of this 50 Cent features a coloured red poppy flower surrounded by a wreath and the three silver ferns on the wreath represent the three services of the New Zealand Defence Force: Army, Navy and Air Force. The 50-cent coins were released into circulation in New Zealand last month but were actually struck by The Royal Canadian Mint, where all 10, 20 and 50 cent coins are currently minted for New Zealand.
2018 Australia Armistice $2
Just released by The Royal Australian Mint today, the new $2 Armistice coin serves as a tangible and visible reminder to all Australians of the fight for freedom 100 years ago. Designed by T Dean and developed with the assistance of the Australian War Memorial, the coin features the number 100 to signify the important Armistice Centenary Anniversary, and the centre zero features a red coloured poppy. The coin features a ‘C’ mintmark, meaning the coin has been struck at the Canberra Mint and is a stunning keepsake in this centenary year.
2018 France Armistice €2
Issued by La Monnaie de Paris (The Paris Mint), this €2 coin features a cornflower, a symbol of remembrance in France. This dates back to WWI as soldier’s uniforms were blue and these flowers, as well as poppies, continued to grow in land devastated by war. The flower also symbolizes delicacy and innocence.
Each coin pays its own historic tributes to this significant anniversary marked by millions of people around the world. And as a Change Checker, you’ll appreciate how hard it has been to track down each of these coins. Indeed it’s taken us the best part of a year to secure each of the coins mentioned above to create the Allied Nations Armistice Centenary Coin Pack – drawn together from five of the world’s most renowned Mints.
Secure the 2018 Armistice Centenary Coin Pack to mark this important historical anniversary
Without a doubt, these coins would make a great addition to your collection. And in this centenary year, it’s a particularly meaningful purchase which I hope will find a cherished place in your collection.
Because of the difficulty in sourcing these coins, we only have a limited number of collections available, so please click below now to be one of the first to own them all.
The Prince of Wales is the world’s longest serving heir apparent, supporting Her Majesty the Queen as her representative while also playing an important role in founding and supporting numerous charitable causes. And on the 14th November this year, HRH The Prince of Wales will celebrate a landmark birthday.
To celebrate the 70th birthday of our future King, The Royal Mint has just announced the release of a brand new UK coin.The release of this coin is sure to be exciting for Change Checkers in the knowledge that the last UK £5 coin that featured Prince Charles turned out to be extremely rare.
The Prince of Wales has had numerous commemorative coins minted to mark special occasions throughout his lifetime, and to celebrate his 70th birthday we’ve taken a look back at the history of Prince Charles in coins. From his first marriage to Princess Diana, to landmark birthday celebrations and now in 2018 as heir apparent to the throne, he will celebrate his 70th birthday…
Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer 25 pence – 1981
The first ever UK coin issued in the Prince of Wales’ honour, was for his wedding to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. The coin was struck by The Royal Mint and was a crown tariffed at 25 pence (although no denomination was actually inscribed on the coin).
It was the first time that three people were portrayed on a British coin simultaneously, with the reverse featuring the conjoined profiles of the bridal couple and the effigy of Her Majesty the Queen by Arnold Machin RA.
Prince Charles’ 50th birthday – 1998
To mark his 50th birthday, The Royal Mint struck a £5 coin issued in five metal versions, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Prince of Wales’ Trust.
This charitable organisation was established to further the interests of young people and also provides the theme for the reverse, which portrays the Prince alongside a 33 word inscription setting out the aims and ideals of the Trust. This inscription is so long that it actually takes the title as the longest inscription on any British coin!
The Wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles – 2005
This 1 Dollar coin from the Cook Islands was issued to celebrate the wedding of Charles and Camilla, however it actually features the wrong date following a last minute delay to the wedding of 24 hours, so that HRH Prince Charles could attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II as the representative of the Queen. The date was unable to be changed as the coins had already been struck!
The design features a portrait of the couple and the incorrect date ‘08.04.2005’ and has a very low mintage of just 5,000, making it a significantly scarce and collectible coin.
Prince Charles and Prince Charles’ 60th birthday – 2008
This £5 coin was released for Prince Charles’ 60th birthday and in fact has the lowest mintage figure in the history of UK ‘circulated’ £5 coins. Just 14,088 of these coins were struck by The Royal Mint in 2008 and was one of the last £5 coins to be issued at face value.
This coin features the portrait of Charles by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS, whose effigy of the Queen has been used on British coins since 1998. The inscription ICH DIEN means ‘I serve’ and is taken from the Badge of the Prince of Wales.
This coin is extremely sought after by collectors but unfortunately we do not have any stock currently available. Are you lucky enough to have this coin in your collection?
Four Generations of Royalty
At the start of this year, The Royal Mint released this £5 coin which was highly anticipated from the moment HRH Prince George of Cambridge was born on 22nd July 2013 – The Four Generations of Royalty £5 coin.
This is the first time ever that The Royal Mint has issued a coin that celebrates all four generations in line to the throne on a single coin.
The reverse features an original design by much-loved calligrapher Timothy Noad, and ornately shows the initials of the current four generations, E, C, W, G, and represents the heritage of the House of Windsor.
Prince Charles’ 70th birthday – 2018
2018 has been a truly unforgettable year for the Royals, celebrating the Queen’s 65th Jubilee, the birth of Prince Louis, the marriage of Harry and Meghan and on the 14th of November, the 70th birthday of HRH The Prince of Wales.
This brand new £5 coin celebrates Prince Charles’ 70th birthday this year, featuring a brand new portrait of the Prince, created by widely respected designer, Robert Elderston who was once an apprentice engraver at The Royal Mint at its previous home in Tower hill more than 50 years ago.
What makes this coin particularly interesting is that it could be very similar to the portrait of Prince Charles that will feature on all United Kingdom coinage once he becomes King.
The 2018 Prince Charles £5 has now been officially released and is available to order here >>
It’s clear that each coin commemorating a momentus period of Prince Charles’ life has proven to be a rarity in some way, whether it be due to having such a low mintage figure, an unusual design or fascinating story.
As we know, £5 coins are reserved for the most important Royal and Historical anniversaries, and this £5 is the perfect way to celebrate the birthday of our future King.