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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You might remember our blog from last year reviewing 2016 coin mintages, but we’ve also updated our Change Checker Guide to UK coin mintages which includes all the details we have so far on the coins issued in 2017.
Have you managed to find any yet?
Not surprisingly, Kew Gardens remains king of the 50p coins, with Jemima Puddle Duck also sitting in top three, however a new contender has knocked this sought-after Beatrix Potter 50p off second spot, as the 2017 Sir Isaac Newton 50p takes 2nd place just below Kew Gardens.
The 2017 Sir Isaac Newton 50p was issued to commemorate the achievements of one of the most influential scientists of all time and a key figure in the scientific revolution, as well as being master at The Royal Mint for three decades. Although this coin comes nowhere near to the Kew Gardens’ scarce mintage of 210,000 and is closer to Jemima Puddle Duck’s mintage of 2,100,000, still only 1,800,000 of these coins were minted, meaning our top three each have at least 1 million less coins in circulation than any other 50p.
Other newcomers to our updated UK mintage guide include the 2017 Beatrix Potter coins – Jeremy Fisher, Tom Kitten, Benjamin Bunny and Peter Rabbit. These four coins have fairly high mintage figures, with Peter Rabbit in fact having the highest mintage figure of all circulation 50ps at 19,300,000. This is thought to be due to the staggering popularity of the 2016 Beatrix Potter coins and high demand for the Peter Rabbit coin in particular. It will be incredibly interesting to see what the mintage figures for the 2018 Beatrix Potter characters will be.
But what about the 2017 £2 coins?
We haven’t been able to include the 2017 Jane Austen £2 or the WW1 Aviation £2 coins in our charts yet as the mintage figures are yet to be released, however you can view our previous £2 mintage figures here. There hasn’t been any feedback from Change Checkers finding these coins in circulation but we’re hoping they’ll turn up soon. We will of course be the first to update you as soon as we have more information on these coins.
So far in 2018, seven new 50ps have been released, including the Representation of the People Act, Peter Rabbit, Flopsy Bunny, Tailor of Gloucester, Mrs Tittlemouse, Paddington at the Station and Paddington at the Palace. As far as we’re aware the coins have not entered circulation and therefore we don’t expect the mintage figures to be released for quite a while.
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Summer is right around the corner and as we start thinking about jetting off on holiday for some fun in the sun, it’s time to organise that all important foreign currency.
But have you ever thought about checking your holiday money for hidden treasures and rare coins?
Having recently returned from a two week holiday in Japan, I’ve got foreign currency on my mind and a few leftover Yen in my pocket!
Despite the growing use of credit and debit cards in Japan, the country still relies largely on cash for daily spending, making coins an indispensable aspect of living – although it did take me some time to feel comfortable handling their 500, 100 and 50 Yen coins! Other denominations of Japanese currency include 20, 10, 5 and 1 Yen coins and 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 Yen notes, with 10,000 Yen converting to roughly 65 Pounds.
Since returning to England, I’ve begun to wonder what some of these coins might be worth…
The 5 Yen coin is said to be the luckiest of all because of the way the Japanese pronunciation of the coin sounds – “Go-en” –which is the same as the word for destiny in Japanese and the expression for good luck.
When visiting the many Shinto shrines around the country, I noticed people giving 5 Yen coins as donations, and souvenirs of the coin were available to buy, decorated with ribbons and chains through the handy hole in the middle, which can be used to string many coins together.
Roughly converting to a mere 3 Pence, these coins have sold online for much higher than their face value. If dated before 1959 they could be worth about £7 if in uncirculated condition. Coins dated 1957 are scarce and could be worth around £20 in uncirculated condition.
Japan might not be everyone’s typical holiday location, but you too could discover a hidden treasure when you return from your next holiday, with many European, US and Australian coins proving to be very collectable.
Lucy Mackenzie, our Head of Numismatics says, “I would recommend they do their research before they travel to their destination and pay close attention to their change as they could find a rare coin or mis-strike.
“The minting process is never completely exempt from human error and mistakes happen, when it comes to coins these mistakes can often be worth a lot money to sharp-eyed collectors.”
So which holiday destinations do we deem to be the ‘hot spots’ for rare coin hunting?
Europe is certainly a popular and convenient location for us Brits abroad, but before you think about getting rid of those Euros when you return, keep your eyes peeled for the special edition 2 Euros which have been sold for up to fourteen times face value!
Most sought after editions include the 2011 2 Euro Europa from Greece, the 2008 2 Euro Human Rights coin from Finland, 2005 Austrian state contract coin and the 2007 Monaco 2 Euro featuring Grace Kelly which has become one of the rarest commemorative coins, selling for roughly £1,100.
You might also be lucky enough to discover old tender in Europe on your next holiday. These coins were replaced by the Euro in 1999 but could now achieve an easy profit.
Look out for Irish coins from the 1980s and 90s which have been valued for thousands of pounds at auction. The 1985 copper-coloured 20p and the 1992 10p are also ones to hunt out and have both been sold at $5-$10,0000!
For a hop across the pond to America, you could get your hands on rare quarters such as the 2004 Wisconsin extra leaf high quarter, which eBay says is the most sought after of all due to an extra cornstalk leaf on the design being struck by mistake. This small error means that these coins are being sold online for up to £125!
Also look out for the 2005 Minnesote Doubled-die Extra Tree Quarter and the 2000 South Carolina off-centre error quarter to add to your rare coins collection when on your trip stateside.
If you’re travelling farther afield, the Australian mule could make you a tasty profit of $1,000 and has been sold for thousands online, with one selling for $2,742 at auction in 2016.
The production error occurred in 2000, resulting in a coin that was thicker than usual, with a double rim on the Queen’s side. If this treasure turns up in your foreign change, it’s definitely worth keeping hold of!
I’ve certainly admired the beauty of the coins I’ve found on my travels and always keep hold of a few as mementos, but it’s also worth being extra vigilant and checking your foreign currency to see if you can find any hidden gems!
Have you found any rare coins on your trips abroad? Let us know in the comments below.