The first Change Checker Scarcity Index update of 2018 is here. The 50p and £2 Scarcity Indexes have been compiled using data from the first three months of the year.
We’ve added a new feature to help you track the performance of your coins. The arrows signify how many places, up or down, a coin has moved on the Scarcity Index; any coins with a yellow star are making their first appearance after having been released into circulation.
50p Scarcity Index
Kew Gardens remains the most scarce UK 50p coin which is not surprising with a mintage figure of just 210,000. There are a number of coins which have moved up the index quite significantly, such as Shooting, Pentathlon and Hockey, all part of the 2012 Olympic series. Also, Triathlon moves it into the top 3, replacing Judo.
Sailing and Wheelchair Rugby, part of the same series, have not performed as well and both have move down 5 places.
Jeremy Fisher makes its debut in our Scarcity Index with a score of 14, making it the third scarcest Beatrix Potter coin behind Jemima Puddle-Duck and Tom Kitten.
£2 Scarcity Index
There’s not a huge amount of movement in this quarter’s update and also no new coins have been added. The 2017 WW1 Aviation and Jane Austen £2 coins are yet to enter circulation.
The Commonwealth Games Wales coin retains its spot at the top of the £2 Scarcity Index with Scotland moving up to 2nd. Interestingly Northern Ireland drops down to 4th place due to far less swap demand than the other 3 coins in the 2002 Commonwealth Games series. In fact, in this quarter, the Northern Ireland coin was requested to swap almost 50% less than the Wales, Scotland or England.
There’s a particularly strong performance from the Florence Nightingale and Paddington Station coins, each moving up 7 places.
The First World War Centenary (Army) is the worst performing coin, moving down three places.
What about the A to Z 10p coins?
Unfortunately, at present, there is simply not enough data to accurately compile an A to Z 10p Scarcity Index. However, we have a few early indicators to show which 10p coins may become the most scarce in future.
The three A to Z 10p coins that most people have in their collection are B-Bond, A-Angel of the North and H-Houses of Parliament. As people are struggling to find these coins in their change, the majority of coins in people’s collections would have been ‘Early Strike’ coins that they have purchased. Therefore this would indicate that, at this stage, these three designs are amongst the most desirable.
The three A to Z 10p coins that most people are looking to add to their collection are E-English Breakfast, A-Angel of the North and F-Fish and Chips. Interestingly, A-Angel of the North appears on both lists meaning that, at this very early stage, it’s arguably the most popular A to Z 10p coin.
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 Kew Gardens 50p coin commands a premium of up to 160 times face value on eBay.
What about £1 Coins?
It’s just over a month since The Royal Mint announced Britain’s new A to Z of Britain 10p coins to the public.
Thousands of collectors flocked to buy them, crashing the Mint’s website and emptying stocks at the Royal Mint Experience.
At the same time Change Checkers have been asking the question “when will I find an A to Z 10p in my change?”
So let’s take a proper look at the situation.
The Royal Mint does not actually control coins going into circulation.
I know this might sound a little hard to believe but The Royal Mint does not actually have any real control over how and when coins go into circulation. This is essentially managed between HM Treasury and the large cash distribution services run by the Post Office and some banks, as well as private operators. Between them they handle, sort and distribute the billions of coins in circulation, even swapping stocks between themselves.
It’s only when they are short of a particular denomination that they call off stocks from The Royal Mint, who act as the manufacturer of the coin on behalf of the Treasury.
In short, The Royal Mint can only push the new 10p coins into circulation as and when there is demand from these cash distribution centres.
Early release of 2.6 million coins
All circulation designs do eventually make their way into circulation and in time into our pockets. However, it has been the case since commemorative 50p coins started to issue more regularly from the 1990s that, for the reasons explained above, it can be some months until cash centres call off new supplies. Indeed, it is not that unusual that the coins do not enter circulation until the following year.
With this in mind, The Royal Mint worked closely with the cash handling industry to introduce a small quantity of 10ps into circulation which were issued through the Post Office network.
Don’t forget that 2.6 million coins is an initial early release – it is not the total quantity of coins that will ever circulate at face value. The expectation is that more 10p coins will enter circulation when required by the cash centres.
In addition, The Royal Mint also has plans for limited releases of coins at face value in appropriate locations across the UK during the rest of the year. Don’t worry – we’ll keep you up to date with all the news.
Plus don’t forget, you’ll be able to swap one of your old 10p’s for a new A-Z 10p coin in the Change Checker Live Lucky Dip. The first one is on Saturday 21st April at Highcross Shopping Centre, Leicester.
So how can I collect my 10p coins for face value?
Well first off, it’s fair to say you’ll probably need a degree of patience. Don’t forget commemorative coins do not normally enter circulation particularly quickly and there’s no doubt that the first tranche of coins have been snapped up extra fast by keen collectors (and possibly even some Post Office staff).
Royal Mint estimates from 2016 suggest that there are 1.7 billion 10p coins in circulation. The expected annual demand for 10p coins is approximately 60 million per annum.
It’s also clear that the demand for coins amongst the cash centres is currently relatively low. It’s believed that many people cashed in additional denominations at the same time as their old £1 coins, helping to increase stocks, as well as the increased use of cashless payments having an impact.
So, it’s practically impossible to say how many 10p coins will enter circulation this year. However, whilst we almost certainly won’t see distribution in the hundreds of millions, Change Checkers should remain hopeful of more opportunities to collect the A to Z of Britain 10p coins straight from their change throughout this year and maybe even into next.
Yes, finding an A to Z 10p in your change is a pretty tough ask at the moment but the situation will improve over time.
Will they be rare? Certainly their level of popularity with collectors has been unprecedented and so it seems likely they’ll always be a tough coin to find and, at 10p each, I’ll definitely be putting any I find aside!
Today, the 8th March, is International Women’s Day.
So what a great opportunity to take a look at some of the women who have featured on UK coins and how they have influenced recent British history.
Don’t forget to vote (at the bottom of the page) for which inspiring woman you’d like to see celebrated on a UK coin in the future!
Her Majesty The Queen (1926 – Present)
It’s a no brainer to start with The Queen’s as her portrait features on all current UK coinage.
The Queen has ruled for longer than any other Monarch in British history, becoming a much loved and respected figure across the globe.
Her extraordinary reign has seen her travel more widely than any other monarch, undertaking many historic overseas visits. Known for her sense of duty and her devotion to a life of service, she has been an important figurehead for the UK and the Commonwealth during times of enormous social change.
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (1900 – 2002)
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother was one of the most extraordinary Royal personalities of the 20th Century.
Born Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon on 4th August 1900, she entered public life in 1923 when she married Prince Albert, the Duke of York and younger son of King George V. When he unwillingly became King, it was her love and indomitable spirit during difficult war times which earned Queen Elizabeth the love and respect of her people.
In 2002 she sadly passed away, and to honour her, the Royal Mint struck a £5 memorial coin with her effigy on the reverse.
Diana, Princess of Wales (1961 – 1997)
Diana Frances Spencer married the Prince of Wales in July 1981. Although the Princess gave birth to two sons, William and Harry, the marriage was unstable and led to a legal separation in 1992 and divorce four years later.
Constantly the subject of a media frenzy, Diana died in a car crash in Paris in August 1997 while she and her friend Dodi Al Fayed were trying to escape the paparazzi. The world was stunned at her tragic death, and her funeral a few days later triggered grief all around the world.
The Royal Mint issued this memorial £5 coin in 1999 featuring Diana’s profile on the reverse.
Beatrix Potter (1866 – 1943)
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter, The Royal Mint released this 50p to celebrate Beatrix herself.
Designed by Emma Noble, the coin includes elements that celebrate Beatrix as the artist behind some of the best-loved characters in children’s literature along with the nostalgic font used for the inscription.
Along with this 50p The Mint have also released a further 7 Beatrix Potter coins, featuring many of our favourite characters from her beloved stories, including Peter Rabbit, Tom Kitten and Jemima Puddle-Duck.
The popularity of both the 2016 and 2017 Beatrix Potter 50p series has been astounding and introduced many thousands more people to the world of change collecting.
Florence Nightingale (1820 – 1910)
Named after the Italian city in which she was born in 1820, Florence Nightingale is famous for her work in the military hospitals during the Crimean War where she tended to wounded soldiers.
In 1860 she laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment of her nursing school at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. Her book ‘Notes on Nursing’ proved to be influential in changing the way hospitals were run and the role of nurses within them.
Released in 2010 to commemorate 150 years of nursing, the reverse design by Gordon Summers features the image of a nurse taking the pulse of a patient.
Jane Austen (1775 – 1817)
Jane Austen is one of the best-loved English novelists from the 19th century. Her novels were revolutionary and from her first novel, ‘Sense and Sensibility’, readers began a love affair with her fiction that has lasted two centuries.
Designed by Dominique Evans, a portrait of Jane Austen features on this £2 coin, released in 2017, to mark 200 years since her death.
Interestingly, with the introduction of both this coin and the new polymer £10 note, Jane Austen became the first person ever, aside from the reigning monarch, to feature on both a UK coin and UK banknote at the same time.
Mary Shelley (1797 – 1851)
This £2 coin was issued by The Royal Mint to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s famous novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.
Whilst on holiday in Geneva Mary Shelley and her poet friends, including Lord Byron and future Husband Percy Shelley, decided to have a competition to see who could write the best horror story. Out of this Mary Shelley created Frankenstein, a story about a scientist’s scary act at playing God and creating life. It went on to become one of the best loved gothic novels.
The reverse of this gothic coin was designed by Thomas Doherty and features the words ‘Frankenstein’ in an electric gothic font.
Which influential women would you like to see feature on coins in the future?
I’ve made a list of some rather amazing women who’d certainly merit a place on a UK coin. You can vote for your favourite below or suggest another worthy candidate as a comment on this blog.