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.
Start your Guernsey coin collection!
You can now order your very own coins from Guernsey to kick start your collection!
Today is Chinese New Year, the world’s most celebrated festival, which marks the new year on the Chinese calendar.
Many traditions and customs have been adopted over the years, with popular themes surrounding good luck and fortune for the year ahead.
Chinese Lucky Cash Coin
This coin has been issued in China since 221 BCE and is thought to bring good luck.
The unusual shaped Lucky Chinese Cash Coin features a square hole at its centre to represent Earth, while the circle symbolises heaven. This combination of heaven and earth make the coin a symbol of harmony and prosperity.
Chinese fortune-tellers would use cash coins, a tortoise shell, and their skill at numerology to tell the future. Because of their association with mystical prediction, these coins from China are thought to bring good luck.
Traditionally, these coins were cast in copper, brass or iron and in the mid-19th century they were made of 3 parts copper to 2 parts lead. Rarer silver coins were also produced and gold coins are also known to exist but are even rarer.
Early manufacture methods of these coins included carving the individual coin directly onto a soapstone or clay mould. This rough and ready approach means that early Chinese coins are very diverse, as each was cast from a different mould bearing the same inscription.
Master bronze moulds were later introduced to gain consistency.
It was in the mid 19th century that the first machine-struck cash coins were produced following the introduction of a machine operated mint in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.
These coins tended to be made from brass rather than pure copper and as the copper content decreased and cheaper metals like lead and tin became more dominant, the coins took on a yellowish tint.
Originally the hole in the centre of the coin was used to string them together, creating higher denominations, however in the modern era the coins are strung together and placed round the necks of children, or over the beds of sick people for luck.
Some Chinese businesses also hang Chinese cash coins as store signs for good luck and they can even be seen featuring on the logos of the Bank of China and the China Construction Bank.
The cash coin is also used in Feng shui, where they represent an abundance of resources, personal wealth, money, and prosperity.
It’s always fascinating to learn about world coins and the stories behind their origins.
Will you be celebrating Chinese New Year today? Keep your eyes out for any Chinese cash coins and see if your luck could be in this year!
Own the Lucky Chinese Cash Coin
Celebrate the Chinese New Year with a coin that many believe will bring good luck and prosperity for the year ahead.
Each coin comes housed in a wallet with informative Certificate of Authenticity detailing the history of the coin.
In this incredibly poignant year, 100 years since the end of World War One, a number of stunning coins have been issued across the world to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the fight for freedom.
Over the year, we’ve been researching coins from all over the world, and the theme that brings us all together in 2018, is the Armistice Centenary. A number of truly stunning coins have been released to mark the anniversary and below are some of our favourites, chosen from world renowned Mints around the world marking this important Armistice centenary anniversary.
Change Checkers have been voting for which coin shown below is their favourite, and the results can be found at the bottom of this blog.
United Kingdom £2
This £2 is the final coin issued as part of the First World War £2 series first issued by The Royal Mint in 2014. Issued earlier in 2018, the design by Stephen Raw features the words ‘The truth untold, the pity of war’, from the Wilfred Owen poem Strange Meeting. The words stand out of a mud-like background in the centre of this striking £2 coin, which was actually modelled in the clay taken by the artist from the Sambre-Oise Canal where Wilfred Owen died in 1918.
United Kingdom £5
To honour the sacrifices of all those who have risked and continue to risk their lives to protect our freedom, a UK £5 coin was issued by The Royal Mint. The coin features a design by Laura Clancy on the reverse symbolic of the resilient and determined poppies that grew amidst the chaos in the valley of the Somme and colour printing has been used to highlight the vibrant red in the poppy design. This coin stands as a poignant reminder of the brave men and women who have lost their lives or have been injured in conflicts past and present.
Isle of Man 50p
This 50p was chosen by the Isle of Man Government to commemorate the First World War Armistice Centenary. As a special acknowledgement to the sacrifices made by the 1,165 Manx men who lost their lives in the war, a specially minted coin featuring distinctive red poppies was presented to each child in full time education on the Isle of Man. Cupro-Nickel versions of the coin without the red poppies went into general circulation. The new coin features ‘The Manxman’ from the top of the Douglas War Memorial and the words ‘Their name liveth for evermore’.
In October this year, The Royal Canadian Mint unveiled these finely crafted $2 coins issued to remember the sacrifices of Canadians who fought for freedom during WWI. Just 3 million coins have been minted – two million of a stunning coloured version and one million of the non-coloured coin, both of which have been released into circulation in Canada. The reverse image by artist Laurie McGaw features a soldier’s helmet in the centre to represent the many lives lost during WWI and the large poppy beneath it is inspired by the Canadian poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ by John McCrae, who died in combat in January, 1918.
US 1 Dollar
More than 4 million men and women from the United States served in the First World War and so to commemorate the centenary of World War I and honor the American soldiers, this Proof Silver Dollar has been issued. The obverse design is titled “Soldier’s Charge” and depicts a soldier gripping his rifle, with the words, “LIBERTY,” “1918,” and “IN GOD WE TRUST.” The reverse design is titled “Poppies in the Wire,” featuring poppies mixed amongst brutal barbed wiring.
New Zealand 50-cent
The 2018 Armistice 50 cent coin follows the Anzac coin which was minted in 2015 to mark the centenary of New Zealand’s efforts in WW1. Designed by Dave Burke, the reverse of this 50 Cent features a coloured red poppy flower surrounded by a wreath and the three silver ferns on the wreath represent the three services of the New Zealand Defence Force: Army, Navy and Air Force. The 50-cent coins were released into circulation in New Zealand but were actually struck by The Royal Canadian Mint, where all 10, 20 and 50 cent coins are currently minted for New Zealand.
Released by The Royal Australian Mint, the new $2 Armistice coin serves as a tangible and visible reminder to all Australians of the fight for freedom 100 years ago. Designed by T Dean and developed with the assistance of the Australian War Memorial, the coin features the number 100 to signify the important Armistice Centenary Anniversary, and the centre zero features a red coloured poppy. The coin features a ‘C’ mintmark, meaning the coin has been struck at the Canberra Mint and is a stunning keepsake in this centenary year.
Issued by La Monnaie de Paris (The Paris Mint), this €2 coin features a cornflower, a symbol of remembrance in France. This dates back to WWI as soldier’s uniforms were blue and these flowers, as well as poppies, continued to grow in land devastated by war. The flower also symbolizes delicacy and innocence.
Hungary HUF 2,000
The Magyar Nemzeti Bank in Hungary paid homage to the heroic efforts and the sacrifice made by Hungarian soldiers by issuing a 2,000 HUF collector coin. The dominant design featured on the obverse shows a section of a world map with Europe as the centre and starred settlement names in boxes where the most significant battles took place involving Hungarian soldiers. The reverse depicts a scene from the trenches, showing trench warfare and the tragedy of war, as well as the heroism and comradery of the soldiers.
Solomon Islands $1
The Solomon Islands have issued this limited edition 1 dollar coin featuring a cluster of vivid red Remembrance poppies against the Union Flag background. The reverse design has the important centenary dates and the words ‘LEST WE FORGET’. As a commonwealth country, the reverse of this coin features the Queen’s portrait.
Each coin pays its own historic tribute to this significant anniversary marked by millions of people around the world. Change Checker’s voted for their favourite of the stunning coins above, and the results are now in, with the UK Remembrance Day £5 coming in first place, followed by the Solomon Islands $1 and the Isle of Man First World War Centenary 50p.
Mark the historic Armistice Centenary anniversary!
This year marks the centenary of Armistice, arguably the most important military anniversary to be celebrated in British history.