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The Royal Mint's list of Britain’s rarest 50p pieces in circulation includes a 2009 Kew Garden 50p and London 2012 Olympics coins





Coin collectors are expected to scramble to get their hands on one of the last ever 50 pence pieces to be made using the Queen's effigy.

The release of the commemorative coin this week - to mark the BBC's centenary - has become unexpectedly even more important because, while all new coins should now carry the profile of the new King, this 50p was made before the late monarch died in September and won't be re-struck to 'minimise waste or unnecessary environmental impact'.

The new 50p commemorative coin to mark 100 years of the BBC includes the Queen's profile as it was made before she died. Picture: The Royal Mint.
The new 50p commemorative coin to mark 100 years of the BBC includes the Queen's profile as it was made before she died. Picture: The Royal Mint.

"Coins are miniature pieces of art which tell the stories of our nation” said Rebecca Morgan, the Royal Mint’s director of collector services.

"With the obverse side of the coin featuring the effigy of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth, we do anticipate a high demand for these coins from collectors."

While the Royal Mint expects this extra-special coin - costing £11 - to be a big hit with those keen for their own little piece of unique Royal memorabilia, there are a number of 50 pence pieces still in circulation that collectors are also often keen to add to collections.

The Royal Mint's list of of 10 coins, that are the most unusual 50p pieces you could still find in purses, piggy banks or down the side of your sofa, could all potentially be valued at more than their 50p denomination, with mintage figures - the number of copies issued of each particular coin - serving as a helpful guide to the rarest coins. Scroll down for the full list

The 50p coin celebrating 100 years of the BBC features the Queen's effigy on the other side having been made before she died. Image: The Royal Mint.
The 50p coin celebrating 100 years of the BBC features the Queen's effigy on the other side having been made before she died. Image: The Royal Mint.

A 50 pence piece is Britain's most collectable coin, says the Royal Mint, and provides 'the ideal canvas' for a commemorative design.

More than 50 different designs, to commemorate special occasions, anniversaries or moments in history, have been released into circulation since 1969. But the numbers of each coin issued and subsequently still being used today, varies considerably - making some coins more exclusive than others, which are more widely available.

A 2009 Kew Gardens 50p remains the most coveted coin in circulation, with a mintage of 210,000. It makes for a popular find with collectors, with some Kew Gardens coins listed on auction sites such as ebay for anything between £80 and £200.

Among the most rare is a series of coins released to mark the Olympics
Among the most rare is a series of coins released to mark the Olympics

Other rare designs also likely to be worth more than their 50p denomination include coins released in 2011 as part of the Olympic collection, which marked the upcoming London 2012 games, with designs featuring wrestling, judo and the triathlon among the most special of the pieces.

Entire collections of the Olympic coins can often find themselves caught in bidding wars on ebay, with offers between £60 and £150 on the auction site depending on the condition of the coins, while an individual triathlon coin in perfect condition is being sold for £14.

Have you an Olympic coin among your change?
Have you an Olympic coin among your change?

Other individual London 2012 coins, depending on their appearance, can be bought for anything between £1.50 and £10 on selling sites.

The highly collectable Peter Rabbit series also makes the top 10 of rare 50p pieces with designs that feature Flopsy Bunny and Peter himself. These 50p coins are also popular selling items, with some available on the internet for between £10 and £30, again depending on their condition.

A Flopsy Bunny 50p coin from the Peter Rabbit collection
A Flopsy Bunny 50p coin from the Peter Rabbit collection

Brexit even made its way onto a coin in January 2020 when a 50p entered circulation to mark the UK's departure from the European Union. The coin featured the inscription “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations”.

In October 2020 a 50 pence was designed and issued to celebrate ‘Diversity Built Britain’ as part of Black History Month. To accompany this release The Royal Mint issued a coin and education pack to every primary school in England and Wales.

The 50p Brexit piece bears the inscription "peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations"
The 50p Brexit piece bears the inscription "peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations"

And in February this year a new coin entered circulation through the Post Office to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.

There were 1.3 million of the shiny new 50p coins released, which had been personally approved by the Queen at the start of this year.

A new 50p coin entered circulation in February
A new 50p coin entered circulation in February

A spokesman for The Royal Mint said coin collecting remains a very popular pastime.

He said: "Coin collecting remains a popular hobby in the UK, and finding a special design in your change adds to the excitement.

If you are lucky enough to find a commemorative 50 pence you can find more information about its history, design and mintage on our website."

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As well as the unique coins found among your change, The Royal Mint regularly issues commemorative coins, like this week's BBC centenary 50p, to celebrate landmark events, anniversaries and individuals who have shaped the nation.

In more recent times this has included collectable coins celebrating the life of Her Majesty the Queen, Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics and the 50th anniversary of the Mr Men and Little Miss characters.

An entire series of 50p coins to celebrate national treasure Winnie the Pooh was also released over a number of months in 2021 much to the delight of avid fans of the character and collectors.



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