With just over a month to go until the official 50th anniversary of the 50p coin, celebrations have now hit Jersey and Guernsey as the British Crown Dependencies mark this monumental numismatic milestone.
As the world’s first seven-sided coin, the 50p caused quite a stir when it was first issued in 1969, however it has since become one of the most popular and highly collected coins in circulation, both across Britain and its Crown Dependencies.
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary, a unique pair of Jersey and Guernsey 50p coins have been specially re-issued this year.
This set includes re-issued versions of the 1969 Ducal Cap 50p from the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the 1969 Coat of Arms from the Bailiwick of Jersey. These were the first 50p coins issued in the British Crown Dependencies and the pair have now been re-struck with the 2019 year date in Brilliant Uncirculated quality for collectors.
Whilst Jersey and Guernsey coins aren’t legal tender in the UK, they have a history of becoming highly collectable due to their low mintage figures…
Guernsey 50p Mintage Figures
Two definitive 50p coin designs have been issued in Guernsey since decimalisation – The Ducal Cap and Freesia Flowers.
The 1969 Ducal Cap 50p has been re-issued in the smaller specification for the 50th Anniversary of the 50p.
Anthony Wagner’s design features the Ducal Cap of the Duke of Normandy on the reverse.
Unlike UK coins, the obverse of the Guernsey Freesia Flowers 50p feature the Guernsey Coat of Arms, which includes three lions next to Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait. This makes the 50p particularly distinguishable.
Whilst Guernsey coins aren’t legal tender in the UK, they do turn up in our change from time to time. And if you’re lucky enough to come across one, make sure you check to see if you’ve been able to find Guernsey’s rarest definitive 50p – the 1987 Freesia Flowers.
A tiny 5,000 Freesia Flowers 50ps were released in 1987 – that means there’s only enough for roughly 8% of the population of Guernsey to own one of these coins each!
Jersey 50p Mintage Figures
Two definitive 50p coin designs have also been issued in Jersey since decimalisation – the Shield and Grosnez Castle.
The 1969 Shield 50p has been re-issued in the smaller specification for the 50th Anniversary of the 50p.
George Kruger Gray’s design features three lions on a shield on the reverse. The obverse features Arnold Machin’s portrait of Her Majesty the Queen.
Again, these coins aren’t legal tender in the UK, so if you do find one in your change it would have found its way to you by accident, perhaps due to a holiday maker spending it by mistake.
Whether you find yourself checking your change in Jersey or the UK, you’ll want to keep a watchful eye on any Grosnez Castle 50ps that you might be lucky enough to find, as one year in particular is very rare…
Just 10,000 Grosnez Castle 50ps were issued in 2003 – compare that to the 23,583,000 Britannia 50ps released in the UK in 2003 and you’ll appreciate just how rare this coin really is!
Have you been lucky enough to come across any Jersey or Guernsey 50ps, either in circulation in the UK or when you’ve been on holiday to the British Isles? And will you be securing the special 50th Anniversary pair to mark this milestone moment?
Own the BRAND NEW 50th Anniversary of the 50p Pair
This unique pair of 50p coins includes Jersey and Guernsey’s first year of issue designs 50ps from 1969 – re-issued with the 2019 year date!
Coins from Crown dependencies and overseas British territories can sometimes make an unexpected appearance in our change.
Sure, this can be an annoyance as technically the coins are not legal tender in the UK, but from a collecting point of view, new and interesting designs are always a bonus!
In our latest coin hunt competition, we went head to head with 10 YouTube Coin Hunters for a 50p coin hunt and it was amazing to see how many of the teams stumbled across coins that shouldn’t be in our change…
Here are some of the unexpected coins we came across:
2012 Bailiwick of Jersey 50p
Yasmin and I were lucky enough to come across this 2012 Bailiwick of Jersey 50p in our coin hunt.
The coin features Jersey’s Grosnez Castle on the reverse surrounded by the lettering ‘Bailiwick of Jersey’. The obverse features the Arnold Machin engraving of Queen Elizabeth II.
Interestingly, 2012 dated Bailiwick of Jersey 50p coins were also struck in 2013 and 2014, giving this particular coin a total mintage of 365,000.
Jersey’s coinage is not legal tender in the rest of the UK, but the lower mintage figures of the island’s coins compared to the UK makes them particularly scarce and collectible, so it was a great surprise to find a Jersey coin amongst our 50ps!
Jersey’s coin mintages are significantly lower because of their smaller population of only 100,000.
2012 Guernsey Freesia Flowers 50p
During his coin hunt, Christopher Collects managed to find a 2012 Freesia Flowers coin from Guernsey.
This beautiful 50p features two crossed freesia flowers on the reverse design, however it is the obverse design which is particularly special.
The obverse features Raphael Maklouf’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II with the lettering ‘Bailiwick of Guernsey’ above, and also a small Guernsey Coat of Arms to the left.
This addition on the obverse makes the Guernsey 50p stand out when compared to UK 50p coins.
We don’t know the mintage figures for this coin, however it will likely be fairly low when compared to UK figures, due to Guernsey’s smaller population.
2018 Isle of Man Imperial State Crown 50p
Coin Cupboard was very lucky and also found a Bailiwick of Jersey 50p, as well as an Imperial State Crown 50p from the Isle of Man.
The Imperial State Crown 50p was issued in 2018 as part of a five coin set celebrating the Sapphire Coronation Anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
A limited number of each coin entered circulation on the Isle of Man, although we don’t know the exact mintage figure for this coin.
The reverse design shows the Coronation Crown and the obverse features Jody Clark’s most recent portrait of the Queen which, unlike UK coins, includes her shoulders.
1999 East Caribbean States 1 Dollar
Whilst you might expect a few British Isles coins to turn up every now and again, we certainly weren’t expecting to find this coin in our 50p bank bag!
In fact, both team Change Checker and Dom Collects came across one of these unusual coins in our change.
This 1 dollar was issued from 1989 to 2000 in the Eastern Caribbean States, but how did it find its way into our UK change?
As a British Overseas Territory, the East Caribbean States currency features the portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse.
This, along with the coin’s size which is very close to the UK 50p, means it has managed to get mixed up with UK change and passed off as a 50p.
However, there is one very significant difference between this coin and a 50p, and that’s the shape. The East Caribbean States dollar is actually decagonal (10 sided) and features milling along every other edge of the coin.
You can imagine just how surprising it was to come across this coin in the middle of our 50p hunt, and how unusual still that we weren’t the only team to find one!
It just goes to show how many fascinating coins find their way into our change and why it’s always worthing checking to see if you’ve found a coin which was intended for circulation in the UK.
Secure your Guernsey Freesia Flowers 50p coin today!
You can now secure the Guernsey Freesia Flowers 50p for your British Isles collection.
Coins from Crown dependencies and overseas British territories can sometimes make an unexpected appearance in our change.
They are identical in size, shape and weight to UK denominations (bar the new 12 sided £1) which means they often find their way into tills and vending machines undetected.
Finding one in your change can be an annoyance on one hand as technically the coins are not legal tender in the UK. On the other hand, from a collecting point of view, new and interesting designs are always a bonus!
Mintage figures for British Isles coins are very hard to track down, but we’ve managed to get hold of the definitive mintage figures for Guernsey to show you which are the rarest coins you should be looking out for.
Guernsey Definitive 50p Coin Mintage Figures
Guernsey’s Definitive 50p Coins
Two different definitive 50p designs have been issued on Guernsey coinage between 1969 and 2012 – the Ducal Cap and Freesia 50p coins.
The first 50p design released in Guernsey, the Ducal Cap, was issued six times between 1969 and 1984, with each coin having a mintage of 200,000.
The coin features an image of the Ducal Cap of the Duke of Normandy on the reverse and the Guernsey Coat of Arms on the obverse, which includes three lions instead of Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait. This makes the 50p particularly distinguishable.
Whilst the Ducal Cap 50ps have a fairly high mintage figure considering the size of Guernsey’s population (just 62,307 as of 2018), the most common Guernsey 50p is actually the 1997 Freesia design with a mintage of 1,044,000.
The Freesia 50p features the Guernsey Freesia Flowers on the reverse and the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse. There is also a small Guernsey Coat of Arms on the obverse of the coin, which acts like a Guernsey mint mark and makes the Guernsey 50p stand out when compared to typical UK 50p coins.
Mintage figures for the Freesia design vary considerably, with the rarest coin issued in 1987 actually only having a mintage of 5,000. Mintage figures for the UK Britannia 50p were also low in 1987, as this coin had a mintage of 88,659, whereas the definitive 50p is normally issued in the millions. However the Guernsey Freesia Flowers 50p is still over 17 times rarer than it’s UK counterpart for 1987.
The most common Guernsey 50p, the 1997 Freesia Flowers has a mintage of 1,044,000, however this is still lower than the rarest UK definitive 50p (2017 Royal Shield), which has a mintage of 1,800,000.
Guernsey Definitive £2 Coin Mintage Figures
Guernsey’s Definitive £2 Coin
The first definitive Guernsey £2 coin design was actually dated 1997, but was only included in brilliant uncirculated and proof coin sets.
It was in 1998 that the first of the Guernsey £2 coins were issued in to general circulation, featuring the definitive Flag design.
As the first year of issue for the first bi-metallic coin, you’d expect the mintage for this to be high, however only 150,000 of these coins were struck in 1998. This makes the 1998 £2 Guernsey’s most common definitive £2 in circulation, but when compared to the UK’s most common £2 (1998 Technology design) which had a mintage of 91,110,375, you realise just how rare these Guernsey coins really are!
This design has remained the same since its introduction, however the mintages figures for subsequent years were drastically lower, with the rarest coin being released in 2012 with a mintage of just 5,250. Comparatively, the UK’s definitive £2 coin (Technology design) issued in 2012 had a mintage of 3,900,000 – that’s over 700 times more than the definitive coins issued in Guernsey that year!
Although £2 coins were issued in Guernsey in 1991, 1993, 1994 and 1995, these were actually commemorative crown size coins, not issued for circulation and so we do not have these figures. At that time The Royal Mint manufactured Guernsey’s commemorative coins, creating a crown size denomination from the £2 coin.
Guernsey Definitive £1 Coin Mintage Figures
Guernsey’s Definitive £1 Coins
Three different definitive £1 designs have been issued in Guernsey since 1981 – the Lily, HMS Crescent and Finance Motif.
As you can see from the chart above, the Finance Motif design issued from 1985 – 2012 has dramatically lower mintage figures and has been issued more frequently.
The coin features the finance motif on the reverse, but as with most Guernsey coins, it is the unusual obverse that makes it stand out. The obverse features the portrait of Her Majesty the Queen facing right, with a small Guernsey Coat of Arms on the left.
In 1981, Guernsey issued the Lily £1. Similar to the Ducal Cap 50p, the Lily £1 features the Guernsey Coat of Arms on the obverse, which includes three lions instead of Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait. The reverse of the design features a lily flower, the national flower of Guernsey.
200,000 Guernsey Lily £1 coins were issued in 1981, making it the second most common £1 on Guernsey.
In 1983, Guernsey issued the HMS Crescent £1.This coin also features the Guernsey Coat of Arms on the obverse, but the reverse features an engraving of the HMS Crescent by Robert Elderton.
This is the most common Guernsey £1, with a mintage of 267,000. But, compared to the most common UK £1 (2015 Royal Arms) which has a mintage of 129,616,985, mintage figures for the HMS Crescent £1 are incredibly low. Almost 500 times lower than the most common UK £1!
Although the 1981 Lily and 1983 HMS Crescent designs were only issued for one year each, they both have much higher mintage figures than the Finance Motif issued prior to these designs.
In fact, if you were to add up the mintages for every year the Finance Motif was issued (bar an unusually high year in 2001) the figure would still be lower than the 1981 Lily and 1983 HMS Crescent coins.
The rarest Guernsey £1 is the 1990 Finance Motif, with a mintage of just 3,500. We know that British Isles mintage figures are much lower than the UK due to the smaller population, however when you compare this to the rarest UK £1 which is the 2011 Edinburgh £1 with a mintage of 935,000, the difference is staggering! In fact, Guernsey’s rarest £1 is actually more than 250 times rarer than the Edinburgh £1!
Lack of Demand for New Definitive Coins
From 2012 to present there have been no definitive coins released on Guernsey, and we must assume that this is due to the fact that there just isn’t the demand for them. As previously mentioned, the small population of just 62,307 means that there are less coins issued on the British Isles.
Has any Guernsey coinage found its way into your pocket and have you been lucky enough to find any of the rarer coins? Let us know in the comments below.
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