It’s time for your latest Scarcity Index update, where we reveal the UK’s most sought-after circulation coins of the last three months! As we’ve been able to go out and spend more cash in recent months, how has this impacted our Scarcity Index?

Well there’s been lots of movement across all of our indexes, as new trends have been exposed and one particular coin has moved an impressive 16 spaces!

You can use the updated A-Z 10p, 50p and £2 indexes below to discover how sought-after the coins in your collection really are.

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.

A-Z 10p Scarcity Index

It’s English Breakfast time this quarter as this 10p has climbed a huge 16 places on our A-Z 10p Index! This is definitely the one to watch

Whilst the top 8 spots have stayed the same, there have been some really big movers towards the middle and lower half of the table. The Ice Cream and X Marks The Spot 10ps have both dropped 10 and 13 places respectfully, with other big movers including the Union Jack 10p (dropping nine places) and the Fish and Chips 10p (climbing eight places).

All of the lower mintage A-Z 10ps have remained strong at the top of the index; the Y, Z, and W 10ps all have a 2019 mintage of JUST 63,000 so it would take some doing to beat them to the top…

Regardless of where they feature in the above index, if you have any of the A-Z 10ps in your collection you should consider yourself very lucky. A maximum of only 304,000 of each design entered circulation!

Find out which A-Z 10p coins have the lowest mintages here >>

50p Scarcity Index

We’ve had a shake up at the top of our 50p Index this quarter, with the Judo 50p being bumped down two spaces from second to fourth spot.

Last quarter our top six 50ps hadn’t moved but this quarter we’ve seen Football climb back to second spot for the first time in three quarters!

There’s also been a lot of shuffling in the middle and lower parts of the index, with Roger Bannister climbing an impressive 10 spots and Handball dropping seven.

The ones to watch are definitely Pentathlon (having climbed 10 places last quarter and a further six this quarter) and Shooting, which climbed two places last quarter and a further two places this quarter. We’re excited to see how these coins place in our next update…

£2 Scarcity Index

Whilst the Commonwealth Games £2 coins have remained consistent at the top of our Index, we’ve now got our Olympic trio sitting beneath, with the Olympic Centenary climbing 3 places and the London 2012 Handover and Olympic Handover £2 coins coming in behind.

After climbing 8 places last quarter, the Florence Nightingale has dropped back down again to the bottom of the Index.

The First World War (Kitchener) £2 has climbed up a space after also climbing two spaces last quarter, so this could be one to watch over the coming months…

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 200 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.

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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.

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:

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.

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.


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Join the Change Checker UK CERTIFIED BU Subscription Service and receive new UK coins sent to your door without the hassle of placing orders on the day of release!

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