Next year Birmingham is set to host the international multi-sport event, the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The first-ever edition of the Commonwealth Games took place in Canada in 1930. The games consists of 400 athletes from 11 countries who take part in six sports and 59 events.

Since then, the Games have been conducted every four years (except for 1942 and 1946 due to World War II). Team England has competed at every Games – one of only six nations to do so and Team Scotland has hosted the games THREE times!

The Commonwealth Games have been incredibly influential in the sporting world but they’ve also provided the UK with some incredible coin issues!

In our blog, we take a look back at some of the UK coins celebrating the Commonwealth Games…

1986 UK Commonwealth Games £2

The 1986 Commonwealth Games £2 coin changed the face of UK commemorative coins, being the first of its denomination to be struck and the first British coin being issued to commemorate a sporting event.

The thirteenth Commonwealth Games were held in Edinburgh in 1986, and are well remembered for being boycotted by 32 of the 59 eligible countries who did not agree with Britain’s sporting connections to South Africa during the Apartheid era.

These original £2 coins were never commonly found in circulation, as they were mainly struck for collectors. This made them much rarer than their successor, the bi-metallic £2 coin, as their mintage figures were much lower.

The pre-1997 £2 coins are still legal tender but they’re not used in circulation and banks/shops can refuse to accept them. Despite this, they still remain incredibly popular amongst collectors!

The reverse design of this coin features a thistle encircled by a laurel wreath over the cross of St Andrew and it has a mintage of 8,212,184.

This coin is no longer in circulation but Change Checker has strictly limited stock remaining for collectors. To secure yours with FREE p&p today, simply click here >>

2002 Commonwealth Games £2 Series

These four coins were issued in 2002 – again issued to celebrate the Commonwealth Games – this time held in Manchester.

At first glance, you might struggle to spot the difference between them as they all feature the same running athlete trailing a banner behind. 

However, each has a different cameo, representing each of the four constituent parts of the United Kingdom.

They are some of the scarcest £2 coins now in circulation, with the Northern Ireland design having a mintage of JUST 485,500!

The other coin designs have the following mintage figures:

  • 2002 Commonwealth Games Wales £2: 588,500
  • 2002 Commonwealth Games England £2: 650,500
  • 2002 Commonwealth Games Scotland £2: 771,750

Find out more about these coins here >>

2014 Commonwealth Games 50p

To celebrate Glasgow holding the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the Royal Mint issued an official XX Commonwealth Games 50p coin the very same year

Designed by Alex Loudon, the reverse features a cyclist and athlete depicting the power of sport.

The home of the Games are reflected in the choice of Scottish Saltire and lettering inspired by Glasgow-born architect, artist and designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

This coin is the least rare of the Commonwealth Games coins, with a total of 6,500,000 entering circulation.


Vote for your favourite Commonwealth Games coin!

With a total of 6 coins commemorating the Commonwealth Games, we want you to have your say and vote for your favourite!


Secure the 1986 UK Commonwealth Games £2 for your collection!

This coin can no longer be found in circulation, so this could be one of your last chances of securing this coin for your collection!

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Change Checker has released the first-ever scarcity index for £2 circulating coins. Following the recently published indexes for the Round £1 Coin and 50p Coin, the Scarcity Index tracks which £2 coins are the most scarce and collectable, using a unique combination of mintage, collecting and swap data to give the most up-to-date picture of today’s £2 collecting market.

Recent Issues are a hit with collectors

Recent releases have proved a hit with collectors

Whilst all the mintage information is still not available for these issues, intense swap demand and limited numbers of collectors who list the coins in their collections, suggest they may number amongst some of the more sought after issues for years to come– surely a reflection of the UK public’s ever increasing interest in new coin issues.

Commonwealth Games tops the charts

The four Commonwealth Games £2 coins top the Scarcity index

However, it’s the 2002 Commonwealth Games £2 Coin that tops the new Scarcity Index. Whilst almost 2,500,000 £2 coins were issued for the Games, it is only the most eagle-eyed collectors who fully understand the reason for their scarcity.

That’s because there is not just one Commonwealth Games £2 coin but in fact four different designs – only identified by a hardly distinguishable cameo design represented each of the UK’s constituent nations, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England.

The result is that rather than 2,500,000 coins being issued, the mintages range between 485,500 and 771,500, helping to cement the coins’ position at the top of £2 Scarcity Index.

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 Commonwealth Games Northern Ireland £2 coin commands a premium of 15 to 20 times face value of eBay.

As for the more recent issues that have made the top 10, it is perhaps too early to tell. But what is clear, is that more and more of the British public are checking their change in the hope of finding interesting or rare coins in their pocket – perhaps even the Commonwealth Games Northern Ireland £2 coin – you just have to be sharp-eyed.

What about £1 and 50p Coins?

The £1 Scarcity Index has already been published for the Round £1 coins and, because they are no longer being issued, this is now set in stone.  You can also visit the Change Checker 50p Scarcity Index, which will continue to be updated quarterly.

 

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As it’s St Andrew’s Day today I thought I’d have a look back at the UK coins with designs that have been inspired by Scotland.  How many have you got in your collection?

Here are my top 10, with details taken from the Change Checker App

Commonwealth Games 50p50p: Glasgow Commonwealth Games
Year of issue: 2014
This 50p commemorates the 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.  The reverse design by Alex Goudon features a depiction of a sprinter and a cyclist alongside the St Andrew’s Cross.  Athletics and cycling are two of the 17 different sports that featured in the Games over its 11 days.

Scottish Thistle £1

 

 

£1 Coin: Scottish Thistle
Years of Issue: 1984 & 1989
The first reverse design series of £1 coins took floral emblems as its theme to represent the United Kingdom and its four constituent countries.  They were designed by Lesley Durbin – one of the most highly-regarded silversmiths of the 20th Century.  The Thistle is used on this coin to represent Scotland.

Lion Rampant £1

 

 

£1 Coin: Lion Rampant
Year of issue: 1994 & 1999
The second series of £1 coin designs used heraldic emblems to represent the United Kingdom and its four constituent countries.  This coin features a Lion Rampant which is used to represent Scotland.  The term ‘rampant’ refers to the position of the lion standing upright with forelegs raised and claws unsheathed, and this symbol was first used to represent the Scottish kingdom by King Alexander in the 13th Century.

Floral Emblems of Scotland £1

£1 Coin: Floral Emblem of Scotland
Year of Issue: 2014
The fifth series of £1 coin designs uses pairs of floral emblems designed by Timothy Noad to represent the United Kingdom and its four constituent countries.  This coin features a thistle alongside a bluebell to represent Scotland.

1989 Claim of Right £2

 

 

 

£2 Coin: Claim of Right
Year of issue: 1989
In 1689, Prince William and Mary accepted the Declaration of Rights prior to being offered the throne, which effectively shifted the balance of power from Crown to Parliament and changed the course of British political history.  This £2 coin was issued in 1989 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of this landmark act.  There were 2 versions of the coin issued – English and Scottish.

1986 Commonwealth Games £2

 

 

£2 Coin: Edinburgh Commonwealth Games
Year of issue: 1986
The thirteenth Commonwealth Games were held in Edinburgh in 1986, and are well remember for being boycotted by 32 of the 59 eligible countries who did  not agree with Britain’s sporting connections to South Africa during the Apartheid era.  The reverse design features a thistle encircled by a laurel wreath over the cross of St. Andrew.  This £2 was the first British coin issued to commemorate a sporting event.

Commonwealth Games Scotland £2

£2 Coin: 2002 Commonwealth Games – Scotland
Year of issue: 2002
The 2002 Commonwealth Games were held in Manchester, and prior to the Olympic Games in London in 2012, it was the largest multi-sport event ever to be held in the UK.  There are four different designs of the £2 commemorative coin – all are similar except that the central cameo features a different flag for the four constituent countries of the UK.  This coin represents Scotland.

Act of Union £2

 

£2 Coin: Act of Union
Year of issue: 2007
The political unification of Scotland and England was sealed in 1707 with the creation of one parliament for both countries – based at Westminster.  Despite centuries of conflict and opposition, Scotland and England unified through this parliament, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain.  The reverse design by Yvonne Holton features two jigsaw pieces representing both countries alongside a portcullis representing Parliament.

Robert Burns £2

£2 Coin: 250th Anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns
Year of issue: 2009
Robert Burns was a Scottish poet and lyricist who is widely regarded as one of the greatest literary figures in British history.  Burns night is celebrated each year with a traditional Haggis supper on his birthday, 25th January, and is more widely observed in Scotland than the official national day, St Andrew’s Day.  The reverse design of this £2 coin features an extract from Auld Lang Syne, Burns’ most famous work.

Queen Anne £5

£5 Coin: 300th Anniversary of the Death of Queen Anne
Year of issue: 2014
Queen Anne was the second daughter of James II and supported the overthrow of her father by her sister Mark and brother-in-law WIlliam of Orange in 1688.  Following William’s death in 1702, Anne took the throne as the very first Queen of Great Britain.  She also oversaw the War of Spanish Succesion (1702-1714), an era which lay the foundation for Britain’s colonial power in the 18th century.  This coin commemorates 300 years since her death in 1714 and features an elegant portrait of Anne as an 18th century miniature on the reverse.


2014 UK Commonwealth Games circulation 50p

To celebrate Glasgow holding the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the Royal Mint issued an official XX Commonwealth Games 50p coin. 

Designed by Alex Loudon, the reverse features a cyclist and athlete depicting the power of sport.

The home of the Games are reflected in the choice of Scottish Saltire and lettering inspired by Glasgow-born architect, artist and designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. 

The obverse features the fourth portrait of Her Majesty the Queen by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS.

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