Posts Tagged ‘Rare coin’

Why you should be collecting £2 coins

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

2002 Commonwealth Games Ireland - Why you should be collecting £2 coins
The UK’s rarest £2 in circulation

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

Britannia 1 300x300 - Why you should be collecting £2 coins
Antony Dufort’s modern interpretation of Britannia.

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

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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

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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 

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The edge inscription of the Gunpowder Plot £2 appears to be spelt incorrectly

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

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The Maklouf ‘Necklace’ £2 was only issued in 1997

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

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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

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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
  • Frankenstein
  • Armistice
  • RAF Badge
  • RAF Spitfire
  • RAF Vulcan
  • RAF Sea King
  • RAF Lightning
  • Captain Cook
  • Samuel Pepys
  • D-Day Landings
  • Wedgwood

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

Change Checker Web App Banner 2 Amends 1024x233 1 1024x233 - Why you should be collecting £2 coins

Sign up today at: www.changechecker.org/app

Your January 2019 Scarcity Index update!

Welcome to the first Scarcity Index of 2019! We’re delighted to share with you the latest update to the A-Z 10p, 50p and £2 coin indexes, so that you can see where your coins now rank.

This information has been compiled using data from the Change Checker Swap Centre (find out how it works here) and presented in the easy to use indexes below, with arrows to signify how many places up or down a coin has moved on the Scarcity Index to help you track the performance of your coins.

A-Z 10p Scarcity Index

Although the A-Z of Great Britain 10ps are notoriously hard to find, we’ve now started to see more and more of these coins being added to people’s collections on the Change Checker app, and we’re able to use this data to build up an even more accurate picture of how sought-after each design is, using our Scarcity Index.

A Z 10p scarcity index - Your January 2019 Scarcity Index update!

As you can see, now that we have more data to base the index on, there has been a lot of movement from the previous update. Whilst this was to be expected, we have seen some dramatic changes, in particular with ‘S’ for Stonehenge, which has jumped from the bottom to the top spot and is currently the scarcest A-Z 10p!

‘K’ for King Arthur has also jumped up by a massive 23 places and is now the second scarcest A-Z 10p. Finishing off our top 3 is ‘L’ for Loch Ness Monster, which has moved up the index by 9 places.

Down at the bottom of the index, we’ve seen ‘V’ for Villages drop 9 places, ranking it as our most common A-Z 10p. There was a 16 place drop for ‘I’ for Ice Cream, making it the second most common amongst Change Checkers. And finally, sitting in the third to last spot is ‘A’ for Angel of the North, which is actually one of only three coins to remain in the same position as the previous index.

‘F’ for Fish and Chips and ‘P’ for Postbox are other coins to keep your eye out for, as they have both jumped up significantly since the previous index.

Whilst we now have a lot more A-Z 10ps being listed in people’s collections, there are still relatively few swap requests for these coins, so it seems likely that if people are managing to find the coins, they are possibly keeping hold of them and only swapping the duplicates that they may be lucky enough to find.

The Scarcity Index will continue to become more accurate as more data is collected and the coins are swapped more often.

50p Scarcity Index

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It comes as no surprise that the Kew Gardens remains king of the 50p Scarcity Index and the Olympic Football 50p still holds onto its place in second spot.

We’ve seen a bit of a shuffle amongst the Olympic Judo, Wrestling and Triathlon 50p coins, with Judo now retaking its place as the third scarcest 50p in circulation, following its fall 2 places on the previous index.

Towards the bottom of the index, we’ve seen the Team GB 50p move up 9 places, which has caused many of the lower scoring coins to move down 1 or 2 places, although our bottom 3 coins remain unchanged since the previous index.

The Girl Guides 50p has also seen a rise in scarcity, jumping 7 places up the index.

As the 2018 50p coins have now been found in circulation and are being swapped on the Change Checker App, we look forward to adding them to the Scarcity Index once mintage figures are confirmed.

£2 Scarcity Index

2 pound scarcity index - Your January 2019 Scarcity Index update!

We’ve seen minimal changes on the £2 Scarcity Index, possibly due to the fact that the 2017 coins have not yet been released into circulation.

There has been a small shuffle amongst the Commonwealth Games £2 coins, however these coins remain the scarcest of the UK £2 coins in circulation due to their incredibly low mintage figures.

Whilst a few coins have moved 1 or 2 places on the index, the majority of £2 coins seem to have held on to their rating since the last update to the index, but it will be interesting to see what changes occur for the next update.

How your 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 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.

You can use the 6 point guide to help you determine a more realistic value for your coins.

What about £1 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.


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

Change Checker Web App Banner 2 Amends 1024x233 1 1024x233 - Your January 2019 Scarcity Index update!

Sign up today at: www.changechecker.org/app

Real, Fake and Re-issued… The inside story on the Kew Gardens 50p!

In the world of coin collecting, there’s one 50p in particular which is prized above all others. The one coin collectors strive to add to their collections… The Kew Gardens 50p.

We’ve taken a look at the inside story of this famed 50p to give you all the details you need to know about the coin – real, fake and re-issued…

Celebrating the 250th anniversary of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew

 

 

Released by The Royal Mint in 2009 to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, the striking design by Christopher Le Brun RA features the famous Chinese Pagoda at Kew entwined by a decorative leafy climber. It’s an image I’m sure many Change Checkers are familiar with, but not every Change Checker has been lucky enough to find one, and that’s because the mintage figures for this coin are so low…

The scarcest UK coin in circulation

In 2014, The Royal Mint revealed that only 210,000 Kew Gardens 50p coins had been struck, making it the scarcest UK coin in circulation.

Until this point, the coin had been somewhat overlooked, but once collectors realised just how rare this coin really was, the race was on to find one in their change – a challenge which to this day has coin collectors hunting far and wide for the chance to find one.

It’s estimated that just 1 in 300 people are likely to come across the Kew Gardens. When you compare its scarcity to the average 5 million coins per design usually issued into circulation, you start to really understand just how rare this coin is.

 

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Whilst we don’t know for sure why so few coins were struck, we do know that The Royal Mint strikes new coins to meet the demand from cash centres, banks, Post Offices and distribution centres and perhaps demand was low that year. This might also have been in preparation for the 29 50p designs that would be released a few years later for the London Olympics. 

It’s important to mention that there were also 128,364 Brilliant Uncirculated Kew Gardens 50p coins minted, meaning the rarity of the Kew Gardens design lies in its circulating form, rather than with the uncirculated coins.

Selling for almost 200 times face value

Those that have come across the Kew Gardens 50p have the opportunity to make a tasty profit on the 50p, with our eBay Tracker figures showing the average sold price for the coin at £97, with some in good condition still selling for over £100!

Bidders have driven phenomenal prices for the Kew Gardens 50p on eBay, which continues to sell at almost 200 times face value. However, there are chancers out there that have been seen to list the coin for eye watering amounts in the thousands! As our blog debunking eBay coin prices explains, whilst a coin might be listed for a high price, it is actually unlikely to have sold for this price. However, high priced coins on eBay often draw attention from press articles, which further feeds into the hype surrounding the coin.

 

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Kew Gardens selling for £1,000. Credit: eBay

 

Beware of fakers

Unfortunately for collectors, fake Kew Gardens 50p coins are out there and to the untrained eye they can be tricky to spot… Take a look at the infographic below to find out what you should be looking for to spot a fake Kew Gardens 50p:

 

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Re-issued Kew Gardens 50p

Towards the end of 2018, The Royal Mint announced that the coin would be re-issued in 2019 as part of the 50th anniversary of the 50p coin set and unsurprisingly when these coins became available yesterday they were snapped up by collectors in a matter of mere hours!

The set has been made available in base Proof, Silver Proof and Gold Proof specifications, at a very limited number. In fact, the full range of 3,500 base Proof sets, 1,969 of the Silver and just 75 Gold sets have completely SOLD OUT!

Will the 2009 Kew Gardens 50p become less valuable?

Some collectors have been nervous that re-issuing the Kew Gardens 50p will cause the value of the original 2009 coin to drop. We can confidently say that due to the fact the new coin will be dated 2019, the scarcity of the original 2009 dated coin will not be affected and this will continue to be the UK’s scarcest coin currently in circulation.

 

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50 years of the 50p Base Proof set

 

Have you been lucky enough to find a Kew Gardens 50p in your change? Let us know in the comments below.

 


 

Own the Masterpiece 50p Collection

 

296v amend - Real, Fake and Re-issued... The inside story on the Kew Gardens 50p!

 

The Masterpiece 50p collection is a superb example of the variety in British numismatic craftsmanship over the last 20 years, with themes ranging from the UK’s entry to the EEC to marking the 950th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. Our stock is very limited – so please be quick to reserve your set!

Click here to secure your collection >>