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.
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.
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:
You can also check out our video guide on how to spot a fake Kew Gardens 50p here:
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.
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
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!
The UK’s RAREST 50p coin in circulation will be re-issued by The Royal Mint in 2019 it has been confirmed.
According to the Royal Proclamation, published on 8 November, a total of TEN new 50p coins will be issued in 2019, all of which will be re-issues of previous designs.
The coins to be re-issued comprise:
- Britannia 50p – the figure of Britannia, seated beside a lion, with a shield resting against her right side, holding a trident in her right hand and an olive branch in her left hand; and the figure “50” together with the words “NEW PENCE”;
- D-Day Landings 50p– a design representing the D-Day landings of the Allied invasion force heading for Normandy and filling the sea and sky, with the inscription “50 PENCE”;
- Roger Bannister 50p – the legs of a running athlete with a stylized stopwatch in the background and, with the inscription “50 PENCE”;
- Victoria Cross Medal 50p – a depiction of the obverse and reverse of a Victoria Cross with the date “29. JAN 1856” in the centre of the reverse of the Cross, with the inscription “VC” “FIFTY PENCE”;
- Victoria Cross Soldier 50p – a depiction of a soldier carrying a wounded comrade with an outline of the Victoria Cross surrounded by a sunburst effect in the background with the inscription “FIFTY PENCE” ;
- Boy Scouts 50p – a fleur-de-lis superimposed over a globe and accompanied by the inscription “BE PREPARED” and the dates “∙ 1907 ∙” and “∙ 2007 ∙”, and the denomination “FIFTY PENCE”;
- Kew Gardens 50p – a design showing the pagoda, a building strongly associated with the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, encircled by a vine and accompanied by the dates “1759” and “2009”, with the word “KEW” at the base of the pagoda;
- Battle of Hastings 50p – a design showing the scene from the Bayeux tapestry depicting King Harold with an arrow in his eye accompanied by the inscription “BATTLE OF HASTINGS 1066” and the date “2016”;
- Battle of Britain 50p – a design showing airmen running to their planes with enemy aircraft overhead accompanied by the inscription “THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN 1940”;
- Girl Guides 50p – a design which depicts a repeating pattern of the current identity of Girlguiding UK, accompanied by the inscription “CELEBRATING ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF GIRLGUIDING UK” and the denomination “50 PENCE”.
It’s expected the coins will be issued in 2019 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 50p with commemorative collector’s editions in Cupro-Nickel, Silver and Gold being made available. It is not yet clear whether any of the new 50ps will be issued for circulation.
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