Which Olympic 50p is really the rarest?

The Olympic sports 50p series was a revelation in coin collecting – for many it represents the start of their interest in UK circulation coins and thousands rose to the challenge of finding them all from their change.

But the mintage of each coin in the 29-piece collection is different, and so the likelihood of finding one varies accordingly. Football narrowly holds the title of the rarest sport in the series, but there were still over one million of those struck for circulation. A coin with such a high mintage can hardly be considered as “rare”. For that honourable title, we must look beyond the official Royal Mint circulation figures…

The original Aquatics Olympic 50p

In September last year, we reported on an Aquatics 50p which sold on eBay for £820. As you might suspect, it wasn’t an ordinary Olympic 50p which we would typically pull out of our change – it has a very specific minting ‘error’.

Rare UK Aquatics Olympic 50p

The design was modified to make the swimmer more visible.

The Aquatics 50p which we are familiar with today is actually a modified version which removed the waves passing over the swimmer’s face. However, a small number of the original design were produced before being modified, although this quantity remains a mystery.

What we do know is that it is not unusual for these special coins to exchange hands for close to £1,000 – not a bad return on a 50 pence coin!

The 2009 Athletics Olympic 50p


Only 100,000 Presentation Packs were issued

In 2009, nine-year old Florence Jackson became the youngest person to design a coin for circulation in the UK. Her Athletics Olympic 50p design was the ultimate winner of a Blue Peter competition and her creation featuring an athlete midway through a high-jump can be now be found in our change up and down the country.

You probably recognise the coin, but what you may not know is that a rare version of this coin exists. When the competition winner was revealed, a special edition Blue Peter presentation pack was issued with a 2009 dated coin, making it the only Olympic 50p without a 2011 date. Just 100,000 of these packs were issued, meaning it is more than twice as rare as the famous Kew Gardens 50p.

Gold Olympic Football 50p

A gold version of each design was presented to the respective artist

The winner’s gold editions

But rarest of all are the gold versions of each 50p which were presented to their respective winning designers. Only one of each design exists. You certainly won’t find one of those in your change, and they will be quite literally gold dust for years to come.

Aside from their precious metal content, their unique status and significance rank them as potentially the most valuable UK 50p coins in existence.

Are you interested in owning any of the Olympic 50ps? We have a limited number available in the Change Checker Shop. Click on a sport below to add it to your collection. All available with FREE P&P

Aquatics     Archery     Athletics     Badminton     Basketball     Boccia     Boxing

Canoeing     Football     Goalball     Gymnastics     Handball     Hockey     Pentathlon

Rowing     Sailing     Shooting     Table Tennis     Taekwondo     Tennis     Volleyball

Weightlifting     Wheelchair Rugby     Wrestling

View all


  1. Ian, UK on January 20, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    I like what they did with the gold coin to each winner, it’s like they each got a Olympic gold medal. How much are gold ones worth each? With all 29 together could this be the most valuable collection of coins in the world?

    • Mark Liversidge on January 21, 2015 at 3:52 pm

      Hi Ian, it is difficult to estimate how much the winners’ gold Olympic 50ps are worth as there is not really a precedent for coins like these, and there is no catalogue price as a guideline. They would certainly be extremely valuable all together, but unfortunately I don’t think we’ll ever know just how much they are worth as a set!

  2. roger hayes on January 20, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    what is the gold olympic boxing 50p coin worth , (2011).. thanks

    • Mark Liversidge on January 20, 2015 at 2:37 pm

      Hi Roger, there is no catalogue price for a gold Olympic Boxing 50p as none of the winning artists’ gold coins have been sold in the public domain. Beware of the gold-plated versions that you can find on eBay – these are not official coins and are certainly not valuable.

      • roger hayes on January 20, 2015 at 6:07 pm

        im wary of fakes , so i will message the person selling .. thanks

  3. Carol Hughes on January 19, 2015 at 5:48 pm


    Ive got loads of these coins including the Kew Gardens one. How much is it worth? Its in very good condition as ive kept it in a bag on its own so as not to get scratched.

    • Mark Liversidge on January 19, 2015 at 5:54 pm

      Hi Carol, a Kew Gardens 50p currently sells for around £20 on ebay. It certainly helps that you have kept it in good condition as well.

      • Carol Hughes on January 19, 2015 at 6:06 pm

        Great and thank you for the speedy reply. Ill be keeping it in my collection lol I think its worth keeping.

      • roger hayes on January 20, 2015 at 12:47 pm

        ive just had a look on ebay .. they are selling for around £30 … glad ive saved mine now as well

  4. trevor on January 19, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    hi I have lots of 50pence coins includeing the dark swimming one sold at ebay, where can I go to sell all of my coins inc the 50pences

    • Mark Liversidge on January 19, 2015 at 5:51 pm

      Hi Trevor, a lot of coins on the secondary market are sold on eBay – you may want to try there first and see how you get on.

  5. eamonn dobbins on January 17, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    Have u any off the collection cards for the 50ps

    • Mark Liversidge on January 19, 2015 at 9:12 am

      Hi Eamonn, the Change Checker Album includes ID cards for all the Olympic 50ps in the series as well as the other commemorative coins in circulation. It is available here: http://bit.ly/ChangeCheckerAlbum

  6. Rahell miah on January 17, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Hi I got Olympic 50p coin about 10 of them what is the valuable for each coin. Reply soon as passable

    • Mark Liversidge on January 19, 2015 at 9:07 am

      Hi Rahell, it really depends on which coins you’ve got – some designs are more rare than others, and their condition will also influence their value. It is not unusual for some Olympic 50ps to sell for a few pounds over their face value.

  7. Julie Riley on January 17, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Where is the cheapest website to buy an album to store my collection in please. I have 2 full sets for a christening gift for my nieces twins

    • Mark Liversidge on January 19, 2015 at 9:00 am

      Hi Julie, the Change Checker Album includes space for the 29 Olympic 50ps and all the other commemorative coins in circulation. It is available here: http://bit.ly/ChangeCheckerAlbum