With some truly fantastic releases recently, the UK has fallen head over heels for the 50p, with many collectors focusing on hunting down these seven sided gems for their collection.
But whilst collectors are busy scouring their change to find the latest and greatest 50p releases, the £2 coin, it seems, has taken a bit of a back seat…
So why should you be collecting £2 coins?
In this blog, we’ll take a look at which rare coins should take pride of place in your collection, which potential error coins might be out there and we’ll also share with you our top three £2 coins to look out for.
Rare and Error Coins
With over 37 different UK £2 coin designs in circulation, it’s worth paying attention to the £2 coins in your change, as you never know when you might come across something extra special…
2002 Commonwealth Games NI £2
The 2002 Commonwealth Games England £2 Coin is officially the most scarce £2 coin in the UK, ranking as 100 on our Scarcity Index.
Four coins were released in 2002 to celebrate the Commonwealth Games and at first glance, you might struggle to spot the difference between them. They all feature the same running athlete trailing a banner behind. But each has a different cameo, representing each of the four constituent parts of the United Kingdom.
The fact that this coin is so hard to spot and has such a low mintage of just 485,500 means that the Commonwealth Games NI £2 is the holy grail of £2 coin collections.
2015 Britannia £2
It wasn’t until 2016, when The Mint released the mintage figures for the 2015 coins, that collectors realised just how special the new definitive £2 coin was.
Only 650,000 of the 2015 date Britannia £2 coins had been stuck for circulation, making it one of the most scarce UK £2 coins ever issued! So scarce in fact that there were fewer of this coin than the England and the Scotland coins from the famous 2002 Commonwealth Games series.
This makes the 2015 Britannia £2 joint third scarcest £2 coin in circulation, alongside the Navy £2.
Inverted Effigy Britannia £2
First discovered by a Change Checker, and later confirmed as a genuine error by The Royal Mint, this unusual strike appears on a handful of the 2015 Britannia £2 Coins.
The Royal Mint has accounted for the seemingly impossible misalignment of the Queen’s effigy as “almost certainly the result of one of the dies working loose and rotating during the striking process”.
The result is that the Queen’s head is offset by around 150 degrees compared to the Britannia design on the reverse of the coin.
We analysed 5,000 circulation Britannia £2 coins and our results suggested that the Inverted Effigy may have affected as few as 1 in 200 of the coins struck – in other words around just 3,250 coins.
2015 Navy with Flag
We already know the 2015 Navy is one of the rarest £2 coins with just 650,000 struck for circulation, however Change Checkers have speculated whether there are two different design variations…
The original Navy £2 design (left) shows the coin without any markings on the top right of the mast, but the coin on the right looks like it has a flying flag.
The Royal Mint strike up to 5 billion coins a year and from time to time debris can get caught between the die and the coin whilst striking. It just so happens that this bit of debris has caused the markings on these coins to look like a flying flag on the ship – fuelling speculation that two different variations were struck.
Whilst it doesn’t add any extra value to the coin, it’s certainly one to look out for and makes for interesting collecting.
2005 ‘Pemember, Pemember’ Gunpowder Plot £2
The 2005 Gunpowder Plot £2 commemorates the 400th anniversary of Guy Fawkes’ failed assassination attempt on King James I, but the coin is more familiar to collectors for having a spelling mistake in the edge inscription. The timeless quote “Remember, remember the fifth of November” has been found with various combinations of Pemember, Pemembep, Novemebep and so on. The common factor here is the ‘R’ which appears as a ‘P’.
Sadly for collectors this is apparently not a striking error. The explanation from the Royal Mint is that the down-stroke of the R coincides with the milling around the edge, and as the coin has worn over time, the letter has become less defined. This categorical statement from the Mint means that any mark-up in price for a supposed ‘error’ is completely unjustified, and although it makes the coin more interesting, it is not the mistake which it is often perceived to be.
1997 Maklouf ‘Queen with a Necklace’ £2
The ‘Queen with a Necklace’ £2 has an enduring legacy in the collecting world. The very first bi-metallic £2 coins were issued in 1997, just prior to the Queen’s portrait change in 1998. This meant that the older portrait by Raphael Maklouf was only used for one year: 1997. His version featured Queen Elizabeth II wearing a necklace, which is how the nickname was derived.
When the portrait change was announced, the new £2 coins were snapped up by collectors believing them to be a future rarity. As it turned out, a mintage of nearly 14 million means the ‘Queen with a Necklace’ £2 is not one of the rarest coins in circulation. Nevertheless, with only one year of issue, it still holds an undeniable interest for collectors.
2007 Abolition of Slavery £2
There is a misconception that there were two types of the Abolition of Slavery £2 coin struck for circulation. It is true that two versions of the coins exist – one has a textured finish whereas the other has a smooth finish and features the artist, David Gentleman’s initials (circled).
The key difference is that only the textured version was struck for circulation, and if you find one of the smoother types in your change, you have actually found a coin which has been taken out of a presentation pack. This makes it considerably rarer than the circulating version, so it is worth keeping rather than spending!
The Top Three £2 Coins to Collect
When it comes to collecting, £2 coins are some of our favourites to look out for, but out of the rare and wonderful coins mentioned above, here are our top three £2 coins to collect.
1) It’s no surprise that the UK’s scarcest £2 coin in circulation should come in first place, but you’ll not only have to be very lucky to come across one, you’ll also have to be eagle eyed to spot the correct flag for the Commonwealth Games Northern Ireland £2 coin.
2) Coming in close second is the third scarcest £2 coin, but can you challenge yourself to see if you can find one with the ‘flag’ variation as mentioned above?
3) And as our third placed coin, the 2015 Britannia actually sits in joint third place as the UK’s scarcest £2 in circulation and our challenge to you is to try and find the inverted effigy of this coin too!
Check out how we got on with our own £2 coin hunt and all the fantastic designs we were able to find in a £500 bank bag:
The £2 coins that haven’t entered circulation…
You may have noticed a lack of 2017 coins in your change, as to date The Royal Mint haven’t confirmed if they will enter circulation.
This all depends on demand for specific denominations at the time as UK Banks and Post Offices may not request every denomination every year if there is already sufficient coin in circulation.
Based on The Royal Mint’s figures, we do know that no 2017 Britannia coins were struck for circulation. But there have been 13 other coins designs issued since 2017 that we are yet to find in our change, including:
- Jane Austen
- WW1 Aviation
- RAF Badge
- RAF Spitfire
- RAF Vulcan
- RAF Sea King
- RAF Lightning
- Captain Cook
- Samuel Pepys
- D-Day Landings
All of these coins are available to purchase in Brilliant Uncirculated quality here, but we will of course be the first to update you as soon as we have more information on their potential release.
A Treasure Hunt
It can be quite a challenge tracking down every single £2 coin for a complete collection. Remember, if you’re struggling to find those last few coins in your change, you can source them online, in auctions, on Facebook coin groups and of course by swapping with like-minded collectors on our web app.
If you’re interested in coin collecting, our Change Checker web app is completely free to use and allows users to:
– Find and identify the coins in their pocket
– Collect and track the coins they have
– Swap their spare coins with other Change Checkers
Sign up today at: www.changechecker.org/app
With the release of the brand new Paddington 50p coin series in 2018, I’ve been thinking back over some of the UK’s top coin releases and of course nothing is quite as exciting as a whole series of brand new coins to add to your collection! But which series has been your favourite, Change Checkers…?
The results are now in and it’s safe to say that we have a clear winner with the coin series that started it all – the Olympic 50ps! That’s right, Change Checkers voted this hugely popular series as their favourite and it’s no wonder, as these coins created a collecting storm back in 2012 when coin collectors and Olympic enthusiasts alike looked to secure these coins for their Olympic collections.
Find out more about these coins below and take a look at the results of our poll at the bottom of this page.
Coming in a close second were the brand new 2018 RAF £2 coins, closely followed by the new A-Z 10p coins. It seems that Change Checker’s are really enjoying these new coins releases and whilst the RAF coins haven’t been released into circulation yet and the A-Z 10ps are proving tricky to find, they are clearly holding a lot of appeal for collectors.
Read all about these coins, and the other 50p and £2 coin series below.
The first series to really kick start coin collector’s of the nation was the Olympic 50p series, which has since become so popular that it’s now estimated that 75% of the coins have been removed from circulation by collectors!
So what made this coin series so special? The 2012 Olympics were of course a hugely exciting time for Britain and people were undoubtedly looking for a ‘free’ souvenir to mark this significant event.
Struck at the organisation’s headquarters in South Wales, the coins were designed by members of the public as part of a Royal Mint competition in which nearly 30,000 entries were submitted. They are the first ever UK coins to be designed by the public.
Each of the twenty-nine 50p coins features an Olympic or Paralympic sport on its reverse. These include sailing, cycling and basketball as well as less well-known sports such as handball and the Paralympic sport boccia.
The 50p coins are seen as a perfect souvenir to remember London 2012 due to their intrinsic value and quality which holds an interest and fascination for generations to come and have been officially voted by Change Checkers as their favourite coin series!
2016 Beatrix Potter 50ps
Following the collecting sensation of the Olympic 50ps, the Beatrix Potter 50p coin series quickly became the next big thing to get Change Checkers and coin collectors across the nation excited! There have been three series of these hugely popular 50ps, with each series including much-loved characters from the Beatrix Potter books.
The first series was released by The Royal Mint in 2016 to mark 150 years since the birth of the beloved children’s author and featured 5 coins including Peter Rabbit, Squirrel Nutkin, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, Jemima Puddle Duck and a coin depicting elements that celebrate the life of Beatrix Potter.
The response from collectors was staggering, with The Royal Mint’s website crashing under the sheer weight of the public’s interest in the first morning of the 2016 Peter Rabbit 50p going on sale.
He has since featured in each of the following series, the only character to appear in all three, which just goes to show what a popular little bunny he is!
2017 Beatrix Potter 50ps
In 2017, much to the delight of coin collectors across the nation, The Royal Mint released a brand new series of Beatrix Potter 50ps to carry on the celebrations of some of Beatrix Potter’s most loved animals.
This series included Peter Rabbit (of course), Jeremy Fisher, Tom Kitten and Benjamin Bunny.
The huge popularity of the previous year’s coins meant that collector’s couldn’t wait to get their hands on these coins and build their collection of Beatrix Potter 50ps.
We are now starting to see these coins entering circulation, with Tom Kitten and Jeremy Fisher turning up in people’s change, so make sure to keep your eye out for them!
2018 Beatrix Potter 50ps
This year, we’ve seen another Beatrix Potter series released and collectors seem to be continuing to fall in love with the adorable characters on these coins.
Peter Rabbit returns for a third year running in the 2018 series, alongside his friends Flopsy Bunny, the Tailor of Gloucester and Mrs Tittlemouse.
These coins have not been released into circulation yet and mintage figures remain unknown for now, but all four coins are now available to buy in Brilliant Uncirculated quality and collectors remain eager to snap up these coins for their Beatrix Potter collections.
But that’s not the end of the story for 50p coin series, because in 2018 The Royal Mint also issued a brand new series celebrating the 60th anniversary of Britain’s most loved bear, Paddington™!
Coin collectors were whipped into a frenzy with the excitement of owning these new 50p coins and it has even been suggested that this could be the most sought-after 50p coin series ever!
Two coins have now been released and are available to purchase in Brilliant Uncirculated quality, the first featuring Paddington wearing his iconic mack, sat on his suitcase at the station and the second showing the delightful bear waving a Union Jack flag outside Buckingham Palace.
This is the first time Paddington has featured on UK coinage and the world of coin collecting has been abuzz with the news of the release ever since The Royal Mint announced the coins would be issued earlier this year.
Have you secured your 2018 Paddington 50p coins yet?
Following a review of the United Kingdom’s coinage in 1996, the decision was made that a general-circulation £2 coin was needed and so the bi-metallic coin we know today was introduced. Whilst these coins are now in circulation and not reserved just for collectors, they have still become increasingly collectable, with a number of £2 coin series being released over the years.
Commonwealth Games £2s
The 2002 Commonwealth Games £2 coins are known as some of the scarcest £2 coins now in circulation, with even the largest mintage (Scotland) set at just 771,750!
But the coin you really need to be looking out for is the Northern Ireland £2. Just 485,000 coins were ever struck making it officially the UK’s rarest £2 coin.
At first glance, you might struggle to spot the difference between them. They all feature the same running athlete trailing a banner behind, but each has a different cameo, representing each of the four constituent parts of the United Kingdom.
Are you lucky enough to have these coins in your collection?
In 2016, three different £2 coins were issued to honour Shakespeare’s tragedies, comedies and historical works and were released into circulation just in time for the 400th anniversary of his death on the 23nd April 2016.
The coins were certainly amongst the favourites of collectors that year with the Skull design in particular receiving a lot of attention, and not just from collectors.
Each coin pays tribute to one of Shakespeare’s major genres and the reverse designs take inspiration from his most famous plays, including Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth.
Which Shakespeare £2 is your favourite?
World War One £2s
To mark the centenary of the First World War, the Royal Mint revealed a five-year commemoration of the wartime journey from outbreak to armistice.
The first coin in the series bears sculptor John Bergdahl’s depiction of Lord Kitchener’s famous call to arms alongside the words YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU. The British Secretary of War became synonymous with the enlistment campaign when war was declared on 4th August 1914.
Following coins in the series have featured renowned military artist David Rowlands design for the reverse of the Navy coin, Tim Sharp’s Army design honouring the ‘Pals Battalions’, the Aviation design by ‘Tangerine’ and Stephen Raw’s interpretation of Armistice which features the words ‘The truth untold, the pity of war’, from the Wilfred Owen poem Strange Meeting.
As this year marks the centenary of the end of World War One, this coin series is particularly poignant.
In this special centenary year, the Royal Air Force has been commemorated with a series of five brand new £2 coins!
The Royal Air Force was formed on April 1st 1918, in the early years of aviation. It was the world’s first independent air force, and is recognised today all over the world for its capability, courage and innovation, which has been represented on these striking coin designs, depicting some of the most iconic RAF aircraft ever flown.
These coins haven’t been released into circulation yet, but are already proving to be hugely popular with collectors and RAF supporters alike.
The first coin in the series features the synonymous RAF Badge, whilst the other four coin designs represent aircraft including the Spitfire, Vulcan, Sea King and F35 Lightning.
This striking series has been voted in second place by Change Checkers which is a fantastic achievement for these brand new coins.
A-Z 10p coins!
26 new UK commemorative 10p coins were released into circulation this year and collectors across the country have joined the nationwide coin hunt to get their hands on these hugely sought-after little coins.
The coins each feature a different letter from A-Z and each letter celebrates a different Great British icon, from Angel of the North to Zebra Crossing and everything in between (my personal favourite is ‘G’ for Greenwich Meantime).
We know that 2.6 million have been released so far overall, but exact mintages for each design are not yet available and so collectors are desperately trying to build up their collection of all 26 coins.
Whilst reports have come in from people starting to find these coins, they are certainly proving tricky to get hold of and it seems that they are quickly being snapped up by eagle eyed collectors!
These little coins have made the top three as voted by Change Checkers, but have you found any in your change and which design is your favourite?
Results of the vote!
It’s always worth taking time to appreciate the fantastic designs we see on UK coinage and I must say that each of these series is truly unique and impressive in its own way.
So now you’ve been brought up to speed with the top UK coin series, take a look at which series Change Checkers have voted as their favourite.
See the results of the vote here:
Which UK coins are missing from your collection?
The first Change Checker Scarcity Index update of 2018 is here. The 50p and £2 Scarcity Indexes have been compiled using data from the first three months of the year.
We’ve added a new feature to help you track the performance of your coins. The arrows signify how many places, up or down, a coin has moved on the Scarcity Index; any coins with a yellow star are making their first appearance after having been released into circulation.
50p Scarcity Index
Kew Gardens remains the most scarce UK 50p coin which is not surprising with a mintage figure of just 210,000. There are a number of coins which have moved up the index quite significantly, such as Shooting, Pentathlon and Hockey, all part of the 2012 Olympic series. Also, Triathlon moves it into the top 3, replacing Judo.
Sailing and Wheelchair Rugby, part of the same series, have not performed as well and both have move down 5 places.
Jeremy Fisher makes its debut in our Scarcity Index with a score of 14, making it the third scarcest Beatrix Potter coin behind Jemima Puddle-Duck and Tom Kitten.
£2 Scarcity Index
There’s not a huge amount of movement in this quarter’s update and also no new coins have been added. The 2017 WW1 Aviation and Jane Austen £2 coins are yet to enter circulation.
The Commonwealth Games Wales coin retains its spot at the top of the £2 Scarcity Index with Scotland moving up to 2nd. Interestingly Northern Ireland drops down to 4th place due to far less swap demand than the other 3 coins in the 2002 Commonwealth Games series. In fact, in this quarter, the Northern Ireland coin was requested to swap almost 50% less than the Wales, Scotland or England.
There’s a particularly strong performance from the Florence Nightingale and Paddington Station coins, each moving up 7 places.
The First World War Centenary (Army) is the worst performing coin, moving down three places.
What about the A to Z 10p coins?
Unfortunately, at present, there is simply not enough data to accurately compile an A to Z 10p Scarcity Index. However, we have a few early indicators to show which 10p coins may become the most scarce in future.
The three A to Z 10p coins that most people have in their collection are B-Bond, A-Angel of the North and H-Houses of Parliament. As people are struggling to find these coins in their change, the majority of coins in people’s collections would have been ‘Early Strike’ coins that they have purchased. Therefore this would indicate that, at this stage, these three designs are amongst the most desirable.
The three A to Z 10p coins that most people are looking to add to their collection are E-English Breakfast, A-Angel of the North and F-Fish and Chips. Interestingly, A-Angel of the North appears on both lists meaning that, at this very early stage, it’s arguably the most popular A to Z 10p coin.
How the Scarcity Index works
Generally collectors have had to rely upon mintage figures to identify the scarcest coins. But they only tell part of the story. Trying to find a good quality coin from 15 – 20 years ago, even for a higher mintage issue, is much more challenging than a more recent issue, as coins become damaged over time and are ultimately removed from circulation.
Additionally, some designs are more hoarded than others by people who might not normally collect coins – the recent poignant First World War £2 Coin series being an example. Finally, it can be up to a couple of years before the Royal Mint eventually confirms the actual mintage for an issue.
That’s why we have combined the mintage information with two other key pieces of information.
- How many of each design are listed as “collected” by Change Checkers, indicating the relative ease of finding a particular coin.
- The number of times a design has been requested as a swap over the previous 3 months, showing the current level of collector demand.
Importantly, as new coins are released and popularity rises and falls across different designs the Scarcity Index will be updated quarterly allowing Change Checkers to track the relative performance of the UK’s circulation coins.
How much are my coins worth?
The Scarcity Index does not necessarily equate to value but it is certainly an effective indicator. For example, the Kew Gardens 50p coin commands a premium of up to 160 times face value on eBay.