A 50p design featuring the Royal Shield of Arms, which was released two years ago, is currently the second rarest 50p coin in circulation behind the 2009 Kew Gardens.
Designs that are produced annually are sometimes overlooked in rankings of rare coins, in favour of ‘commemorative’ pieces – yet less than two million of the Royal Shield of Arms were minted in the year 2017.
The Royal Mint has revealed the rarest 50p coins in circulation, presumably fuelling a desperate rummage down the back of the nation’s sofas. It released the top 10 rankings ahead of the 50th anniversary of decimalisation, which comes on 15 February – the Decimal Day changeover of 1971 inspired many people to become coin collectors over the years. The 2019 World Wide Web, Yeoman Warders and Zebra Crossing 10p coins all have a mintage of JUST 63,000! When you compare that to the rarest 50p in circulation, the Kew Gardens 50p, which has a circulating mintage of 210,000, it puts into perspective just how rare these 10p coins are. When you combine the 2018 and 2019 mintages for these coins. 50p Coin Design. Since its issue, 50p coins have commonly been used to commemorate important events. From as early as 1969, The Royal Mint have regularly issued unique reverse designs on the 50p for events such as the 50 th anniversary of the D-Day landings, 50 th anniversary of the NHS and the 2012 London Olympic Games. A full list of Royal Mint commemorative fifty-pence coins.
Which? reveals the rarest 50p coins and how mintage influences the value of a coin.
What is the rarest 50p coin?
The 2009 Kew Gardens 50p coin remains the rarest of all coins with just 210,000 in circulation.
But if you include definitive coins – meaning those produced annually – then the second rarest 50p design is the 2017 Royal Shield of Arms.
This coin was originally designed by Matthew Dent following a public competition.
According to coin collecting site Change Checker, the Royal Shield of Arms has been issued every year since 2008 apart from 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2016.
The 2017 version is by far and away the rarest, with just 1.8 million minted, in comparison to 10.3 million in 2013, 49 million in 2014 and 39.3 million in 2015.
The third rarest coin in circulation remains the Sir Isaac Newton 50p, which has a release of just 1.8m.
The chart below shows the current rarest 50p designs based on mintage figures from the Royal Mint.
Definitive vs commemorative coins
List Of Rare 50p Coins Dimes
The Royal Mint issues ‘definitive’ coins every year based on demand. The same design is produced annually, with just the year changing.
These types of coins are sometimes ignored by collectors but in cases such as the Royal Shield of Arms 2017, they can also be extremely rare.
By contrast, commemorative coins are released to mark a particular occasions, person or event, so tend to be a one-off design.
Often, these coins are first released as collector’s editions by the Royal Mint, with some versions then entering general circulation.
Special 50p have been released this year celebrating the anniversary of The Gruffalo, the famous kids’ book Peter Rabbit and the deceased British professor Stephen Hawking.
How does mintage affect a coins value?
Mintage figures can have a massive impact on the coin’s value in the market.
Generally, the harder the coin is for collectors to find, the more they are likely to pay for the coin. This can partly be determined by mintage, but also the popularity of the design.
As the 2012 Olympic coins drop out of circulation by getting lost or snatched up in collections, their value has been increasing, with the football and wrestling designs particularly popular.
Which? has looked at the average price on three recent sales on eBay for particularly rare 50p coins – the Kew Gardens 2009, the Royal Shield of Arms 2017 and the Olympic 2012 wrestling design – and the results are below:
You can see that despite the rarity of the Royal Shield of Arms coin, it doesn’t fetch a huge premium – perhaps because the design doesn’t resonate with the public in the same way.
That said, collectors are advised to treat eBay listings with caution.
Some sellers will list coins at an inflated price, or bid on their own product to make it look there’s a bigger demand.
Remember that coins are only worth whatever a buyer is willing to pay for them – even if you’ve found a rare coin, you may not be able to sell it on for a profit.
What else affects the coin’s value?
The value of a coin can also depend on whether a particular design is sought-after or sentimental.
Rare 50p Coins Value
If the coin design is more popular, people are more likely to hang onto the coin and keep it from circulation. Club 3000 kirkcaldy.
Also the condition of a coin and whether it is from scratches or marks can have a significant impact on its value.
However an error on a coin can have the opposite effect and make them much rarer and more sought after than ‘perfect’ versions.
Last year Which? carried out a three-month investigation into the dark side of the coin investment craze – see our video below to find out which types of coins could be worth investing in, and scams to watch out for.
List Of Rare 50p Coins 2021
- Read the full investigation: Revealed: the dark side of the coin investment craze