It’s the Scarcity Index update we’ve all been waiting for, as the FIRST EVER King Charles III 50p finally makes an appearance!
4.9 million of these coins entered circulation in December 2022 and collectors have since been finding them in their change, adding them to their collections and swapping with other collectors.
But it’s time to reveal just how sought-after this new release really is…
Continue reading to find out and to discover the UK’s most sought after circulation 10p, 50p and £2s and see where the coins in your collection rank against the others you can find in your change.
This information has been compiled using data from the Change Checker Swap Centre and presented in the easy to use indexes below, with arrows to signify how many places up or down a coin has moved since the last Scarcity Index update.
50p Scarcity Index
The 50p index has seen quite a bit of movement since our last update, with a few coins shooting up the ranks, and a few gradually moving down. However, perhaps the most exciting update is the addition of the FIRST EVER King Charles III 50p!
The 2022 Queen Elizabeth II Memorial 50p (marked above with a star) appears on the scarcity index for the first time since entering circulation late last year. On 8th December 2022, 4.9 million 50ps entered circulation featuring King Charles III for the first time. We tracked the new coin up and down the country with our collector map, and it turned out the place you’re most likely to find a King Charles III 50p was Newcastle!
The Queen Elizabeth II Memorial 50p currently ranks as common on our scarcity index as it may not have made its way into many collections, and those who have found one have probably been reluctant to swap it. Watch this space though, as this new circulating coin could cause quite the shake up in the next Scarcity Index update!
Aside from the Queen Elizabeth II Memorial 50p, the biggest mover is the Ironside 50p, which has fallen 16 places since the last update. It’s unclear what’s caused this 10 year old coin to fall in the ranks, however with a circulating mintage of 7,000,000, you’re fairly likely to come across one in your change.
Another big mover is the Handball Olympic 50p which has climbed an astonishing 14 places, putting it in the top 10 with the other Olympic 50ps and of course the Kew Gardens 50p, which remains in the top spot.
If you’re new to collecting and want to find out more about circulation coins, you can check out our fact files here >>
Otherwise, keep reading to find out which 10ps and £2 coins you should be looking out for.
10p Scarcity Index
Whilst the top and bottom of our latest 10p Scarcity Index has remained stable, there has been a bit of a shake up among the coins in the middle.
This comes as some surprise, as these were previously considered some of the most popular of the A-Z 10p coins.
It’s worth remembering that this Index is only ranking the 10ps against each other, when really even the ones at the bottom of the list are still incredibly sought-after and even now (4 years on since they were last released) they are still the coins every collector seems to talk about!
And that’s no surprise, as a maximum of JUST 304,000 of each A-Z 10p design entered circulation across 2018 and 2019 – making them some of the rarest coins out there. So make sure you keep your eyes peeled for them in your change!
£2 Scarcity Index
The top of the £2 index has remained stable, with those Commonwealth Games £2s proving to be the ones to look out for. And, with mintages ranging from just 485,000 to 771,750, you can see why these rare £2s are so sought-after!
We tend to see less movement on the £2 index due to the fact less coins have entered circulation in recent years.
However, it’s worth remembering just how rare and collectable some of these coins are, even after being in circulation for so many years.
But, with less £2s entering circulation, it’s certainly worth holding onto any coins you can find, before they’re snapped up!
How your Scarcity Index works
Generally collectors have relied on 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.
What’s more, some designs are more hoarded than others by people who might not normally collect coins – for example the First World War £2 Coin series.
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. This allows Change Checkers to track the relative performance of the UK’s circulation coins.
How much are my coins worth?
The Scarcity Index doesn’t necessarily equate to value, but it is certainly a good indicator. For example, the Kew Gardens 50p coin commands a premium of up to 200 times face value on eBay and is unsurprisingly top of the 50p Index.
You can use our 6 point guide to help you determine a more realistic value for your coins.
What about £1 Coins?
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The Kew Gardens 50p, Commonwealth Games Northern Ireland £2 and ANY of the A-Z 10ps are likely to be on your collecting wish-list, but have you ever considered that some of the 5p coins in your change might be worth holding on to?
The smallest of our UK coinage – weighing in at just 3.25g, with a diameter of only 18mm – is often overlooked when it comes to collecting. But what if I told you some of them have been known to sell for over £60 on the secondary market?!
What are the rarest 5p coins?
Unlike the Kew Gardens 50p (which has a mintage of just 210,000), 5p coins are often minted in the tens of millions, or even billions! However, the 1977 5p is the rarest with a mintage figure of 24,308,000. Compare this to the 1990 5p which had a circulating mintage of 1,634,976,005 and you’ll see why it’s pretty rare!
2008 First 5p with the shield design
In 2008, 40 years after the first decimal coins appeared in circulation, our UK definitive coins had a face lift, with brand new designs being released.
A competition was held, with people submitting their designs for the six key coin denominations, leaving out the £2 coin. Over 4,000 designs were submitted, but graphic designer Matthew Dent won the competition with his heraldic design of six coins, with the 1p-50p coins aligning to form the Royal Shield – shown as a complete design on the £1 coin.
As the first year definitive coins were issued with the shield design, 2008 dated 5ps are somewhat coveted by collectors. Although you’re unlikely to see the 2008 or 1977 5p coins fetch above face value, they are certainly interesting ones to collect.
But the real interest comes if you’re lucky enough to find the error 5p coins…
Spot These 5p Error Coins
Inverted effigy 2008 5p
Another reason to keep an eye out for a 2008 dated 5p coins is that an unknown number were released into circulation featuring the Queen’s head on the obverse upside down. These error coins are extremely rare and some have been listed on the secondary market for more than £60!
‘Struck twice’ 1979 5p ‘Error’
On this larger specification ‘New Five Pence’ which is no longer in circulation, but a suspected error was found, where it appeared to have been struck twice on the same side in error. This would mean both the Queen’s head from the obverse and the design on the obverse would be merged together on the same side of the coin.
This ‘error’ hasn’t been confirmed as genuine by The Royal Mint and with closer inspection, it looks as though the reverse design is from a 2p coin – suggesting it might have been tampered with after it was struck.
However one collector sold theirs for £73 on eBay, meaning it always worth looking out for any unusual coins you might have lying around! Just remember, you should always get your error coins confirmed by the mint to prove they are genuine.
The 5p Coins Not Intended for Circulation
From time to time, coins that were never intended for circulation find their way into our change.
They might have been issued in collector sets, broken open and accidentally spent before finding their way into your pocket!
There are two dates to look out for when it comes to 5p coin that shouldn’t be in your change – 1993 and 2018.
Prior to 1990, the 5p coins were issued in the larger specification and so these ones should also no longer be found in your change.
Have you come across any rare or error 5p coins in your change? Let us know in the comments below!
Complete the shield with the Royal Arms Shield Collector Card!
Designed to fit neatly into your Change Checker Album, this Collector’s card allows you to assemble the Royal Arms Shield by simply using your loose change.
As the Pride 50p marks the last UK coin to enter circulation with QEII’s portrait on the obverse, we asked you to vote for your top circulating QEII 50p!
King Charles III’s new coinage will begin circulating from December – starting with the brand new Queen Elizabeth II Memorial 50p. So, it’s the perfect time to look back at an astonishing 70 years of top QEII 50p issues.
From the UK’s rarest 50p (Kew Gardens), to the biggest range of sporting coins (Olympic 50ps), it’s understandably a hard task to pick a favourite.
Your top circulating QEII 50p!
The results are in! Your top circulating QEII 50p is…
2017 Sir Isaac Newton 50p
Issued in 2017, this coin has a mintage of just 1,801,500, ranking it as less common on our Scarcity Index.
The reverse of this striking coin is based on elements of Proposition 11, in Book One of Newton’s Principia Mathematica.
P.S. did you know Newton is one of the most famous figures to ever hold the role of Master of the Mint?
2011 WWF 50p
Coming in very close second, is the WWF 50p.
The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) is the largest conservation organisation in the world.
They focus their work on saving endangered species and conserving the world’s most precious natural places.
In 2011, to mark their 50th anniversary, The Royal Mint issued this 50p coin.
It features 50 different icons to represent the variety of work they’re involved with.
2009 Kew Gardens 50p
In third spot, is the UK’s rarest 50p coin, the Kew Gardens.
Just 210,000 of these 50ps entered circulation, and over 13 years later, it’s still one of the most sought-after coins EVER.
It repeatedly takes top spot on our Scarcity Index, with collectors keen to add it to their collection.
However, it’s important to know the difference between a real, fake, or re-issued Kew Gardens.
Get the First King Charles III Effigy Collecting Pack
9.6 million King Charles 50ps are set to enter circulation. So, collectors stand a very good chance of getting their hands on this new release.
Once you’ve found this coin in your change you can add it to the pack, creating the perfect pair of KCIII first effigy coins!
Secure your Change Checker King Charles III First Effigy Collecting Pack here >>
So, get ready to start your hunt for the new 50p in your change!