The £1 Scarcity Index reveals which £1 coins are the rarest

Can’t wait – click here to reveal the UK’s “scarcest” £1 coin

With the Great One Pound Coin Race nearing the finishing line, collectors across the UK are desperate to complete their Round Pound collections.

Historically, change collectors have relied upon mintage figures for their indication as to which coins in circulation are the rarest.  But the story is not that simple.

650 million coins lost from circulation

The £1 coin has been in circulation since 1983.  During that time a total of 2.2 billion £1 have been struck for circulation.  But they are not all still in use.

"British coins. Could be The economy, wages, home finance, savings, etc."

There are 1.5 billion coins in circulation but probably fewer than 800,000 of the rarest design

The last available figures for coins in circulation, published by The Royal Mint for 2014, suggest that 1,553,000,000 £1 coins are in circulation.

In other words, 650 million of the coins struck no longer circulate, presumably withdrawn over the years as worn or damaged.

The majority of those 650 million coins are from the early issuing years, meaning that although some of those years may have high mintages, the actual number of coins available to collect from your change is far lower.  In fact our research suggests that only a little more than half of the early years’ £1 coins are still in circulation.  Far fewer if you’re trying to secure one in good collectable condition.

Scarcity breeds scarcity

But even that is only part of the story.  Of course, scarcity breads scarcity.

Even before the launch of the Great One Pound Coin Race, we noticed a rise in collector interest for £1 coins on the back of the introduction of the new 12-sided £1 coin.  And the demand is always disproportionately high for the more difficult coins.  The result is a continued ratcheting up in demand for the rarer coins.

The Change Checker £1 Scarcity Index

That’s why Change Checker launched the £1 Scarcity Index.  Rather just relying on mintage figures, we have combined them with the two critical points above – the actual numbers of coins in circulation and real collector demand, measured by Change Checker swap data – to create a unique Scarcity Index for the £1 Coin.

Scaled from 100 to 1, the scores represent the relative scarcity of each coin, with 100 being the most scarce.


So will I ever find the Edinburgh City £1 Coin in my change?


With a scarcity rating of 100, the Edinburgh City £1 Coin is the rarest Round £1 in circulation

With the Edinburgh City £1 Coin topping the Scarcity Index, will you ever actually find one in your change?

Well certainly it won’t be easy – but it’s definitely possible.  Our calculations suggest there are probably somewhere between 600,000 – 800,000 Edinburgh City coins still in circulation but as we near the withdrawal date this number is decreasing rapidly.  In other words, it is of similar rarity to the recently issued 2015 First World War Navy £2 but far less scarce than the rarest current circulation coin – Kew Gardens 50p, which had a mintage of just 210,000.

On average, it means that you will have to examine roughly 3,000 mixed £1 coins to find the Edinburgh City £1 Coin.  But with over 6,000 Change Collectors already listing the Edinburgh City £1 Coin in their collection, it is certainly an achievable goal.

Read more tips on how you can find those hard to get coins.

This entry was posted in £1 coins, Blog Home, Mintages, Scarcity Index and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

79 Responses to The £1 Scarcity Index reveals which £1 coins are the rarest

  1. Linzilou says:

    Where have people found the best place to finding coins can you go to a bank and ask for bags of coins or can you ask them to look in the coins they have open to see if they have any.
    When I’ve been in a shop I always make it up to the pound and ask for change in £1 £2 50p this is for my 7 year old daughter every night we empty our change she sorts it in to value saves the rest and then checks the coins she collects she has got a full beatrix potter coin set with 3 or 4 spares of each and has many other £1 swaps but I didn’t know that there was different dates in the coins so am I right in thinking that 1 coin might have a few year issue dates


    I have a 2002 Gibraltar £1 coin and was wondering if anyone knows how rare or scarce it is?

  3. Ian Clarke says:

    I have managed to find all uk pound coins in circulation plus I have bought the 4 uncirculated so I have all 45 £1 coins!

  4. Elizabeth Hawkins says:

    I have 21 of the 24 so for a 82 year old that’s not bad hope to complete before Oct deadline

  5. peter says:

    hi i have a 2015 £1 royal arms , it is not very scarse ,but the one i have has not been stamped properly it is off center on both sided and the is a lump where when it was made it has not pressed flat , would this be worh more than a pound with all its faults

  6. david says:

    i have got the England milliuaim bridge coin 2007 how much is it worth can someone tell me scarcity rating 16

  7. wordyduck says:

    I have 18 of the collection so far, including two of the Edinburgh city coins and two of the thistle and bluebell. Haven’t come across any of the others in those two groups.

    • Mark says:

      well done on getting to 18. I have roughly the same numbers.
      I also have quite a few swaps, be good to see if we have any swaps that could work for us both.
      Any of these of interest…
      Royal Arms 1983, 1993
      Thistle 1984. 1989
      Leek 1985 1990
      Flax 1991
      Oak Tree 1992
      Lion 1994
      Dragon 2000
      Celtic Cross 1996, 2001
      Three Lions 1997, 2002
      Forth Bridge 2004
      Menai Bridge 2005
      Millennium Bridge 2007
      Royal Arms Shield 2008, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15
      Coat of Arms 2015

      i am after these 4:-
      Crowned Shield
      New NI Flax and Shamrock


    • Mark says:

      Hi WordyDuck
      Thanks for the message.
      Happy to do some £1 swaps.
      Due to some other successful swaps I am now needing just 2 more coins….

      I have a whole load of swaps available…
      including the
      rose & oak,
      daffodil & leek.
      Royal Arms 1983, 1993
      Thistle 1984. 1989
      Leek 1985 1990
      Flax 1991
      Oak Tree 1992
      Lion 1994
      Dragon 2000
      Celtic Cross 1996, 2001
      Three Lions 1997, 2002
      Forth Bridge 2004
      Menai Bridge 2005
      Millennium Bridge 2007
      Royal Arms Shield 2008, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15
      Coat of Arms 2015

      • Mark says:

        woops meant to say…

        Hi WordyDuck
        Thanks for the message.
        Happy to do some £1 swaps.
        Due to some other successful swaps I am now needing just 2 more coins….

      • Jody says:


        I’m in need of about 5 £1 coins if anyone can swap with me please


  8. Graeme says:

    Got all 24 coins plus few others how can I get them valued ?

  9. Michael Frost says:

    anything over 65p 2nd class and 75p first class is too much

  10. Michael Frost says:

    I have all the £1 coins inc all the shields and others total 41 coins i think all 50p’s full set of olympics wiith 6 £5 and all 42 mint £2 waiting for the 2 new £2 and 50p people selling on ebay are from split sets and asking too much. Royal mint will release them over this year but didn’t say when.

  11. Pa-Trish says:


  12. thomas mcfarlane says:

    Definitely to dear. There p&p is far to expensive.

  13. Edward leaver says:

    I have purchased an Edinburgh city £1 from eBay today, this completes my £1 collection .
    Does that entitle me to a pound race medal now ?????

  14. June says:

    We have just had another look at the writing on my pound coin and it’ say discovery of Neanderthal skull in Gibraltar in 1848

  15. June says:

    I have a pound coin which looks like it has writing on it discovery of a scull 1848 I think it has a scull on it as well could it be possible to take a photo of it

  16. brian says:

    does anyone have any ideas on the mint values of isle of man coins?

  17. I have just finished the one pound race,I have all of them after finding the rose and oak one yesterday.I also have a full set of 50ps,including Kew and Olympic one’s but will keep on looking it’s great fun at my age.

  18. Hopefully I now have their full set of £1 coins, all except there new £1 . I have 41 in total …can anyone body tell me please if this is correct ?

    • Yasmin Britton says:

      Hi Michelle, if you are collection one of each year issued then you are correct. Thanks, Yasmin

  19. john 55 says:

    I managed to complete the set back in November last year, but i am till trying to obtain some of the rarer ones to keep but am not having a lot of luck, i am now trying to get all of the 2pounds and the 50ps have i gone nuts or will this cash come in handy as i am retired and may need to pay some bills in the next few years.

  20. Victoria says:

    I’ve actually got an Edinburgh city £1 coin in protective sleeve 😊
    Happy days, any takers mail me

  21. Edward leaver says:

    Am I the only one that thinks £25 + £3.99 p+p is too. Much for a £1 coin, pound note and a hole for the new £1 coin is too much ?
    £39.99 for olympic 50 p’s come on really !!!!!!!!!! ?

  22. Paula Fisher says:

    Do i have to collect each year of the same coin please? or just one?

  23. thomas mcfarlane says:

    Can anyone tell me if it is better to clean my coins or leave them alone, before I put them into the album.

    • Michael Frost says:

      some like to clean if you do clean them use womens nail polish remover , lemon juice and vinegar soak em for as long as you want and dry off with a nice cotton cloth. Ordinary coke cola is also good

  24. Jo Roberts says:

    Lucky me, I’m down to the 2 scarcest coins 🙁

  25. Mr green says:

    What kind of condition are coins got to be in.

  26. Andy Maxfield says:

    Donna the 2007 is the England Millennium Bridge (16) 2006 is the N.Ireland Egyptian arch railway bridge (12) 2005 is the Wales Menai bridge (3) 2004 Scotland Forth Railway bridge (6) THE HIGHER THE NUMBER IN BRACKETS THE SCARCER IT IS HOPE THIS HELPS

  27. Andy Maxfield says:

    at the Royal Mint at the moment and just made my own new £1 new coin at the R.M.Experience
    having a good day,so very interesting to see it all happening.Thanks to my Daughter
    Now I definately have the full set of £1 coins,do I quilify for your medal

  28. Marc Scott says:

    I have over 1200 of the 1988 shields, I read elsewhere that they’re selling for about £6 each so intrigued what my collection would be worth? or would my releasing that just ruin the market? Not planning on selling any time soon unless I get offered silly money mind.

  29. David Templeton says:

    I am still in need of the Edinburgh 2011, Cardiff 2011, Belfast 2011, Wales (Daffodil & Leek) 2013, Ireland (Flax & Shamrock) 2014, UK Royal Arms Shield 2008-15 also Dates 1986, 1988, 1998, 1999 & 2011, I also have the full collection of the Beatrix Potter 50p

    • Jane Thomas says:

      I have Cardiff, Belfast, Daffodill & Leek, Flax & Shamrock, available for sale – I’m not a collector, I run a one woman bakery and have been checking the cash for last week. Can send a photo if you want. Any profit will go to support my scouts camp next month.

    • Linzilou says:

      I have a few swaps you are looking for

  30. charles brown says:

    i need london ,cardiff ,and the rose and oak branch still looking

    • Jane Thomas says:

      I have Cardiff and Rose & Oak, not a collector, checking the change at my bakery, profits will support our scout camp next month. Can send a photo. A few others from the to 10 list if anyone else interested.

  31. Donna says:

    Hi I have 4 pound coins I have just checked 1 1984 with a thistle on i think, the other 3 have bridges on just not sure which ones, dated 2005 2007 and 2004 would there be a way of someone looking at them and telling me if they’re worth anything and therefore worth keeping or is it only after 15th October they’ll be worth anything?

  32. Andrew says:

    A few of mine have come from BU sets, but I have 45 £1 coins rather than the 41 listed here. Presumably the ’98 Royal Arms and ’99 Lion Rampant weren’t released into circulation (just as the 2016 Last Round Pound hasn’t been)? Then there are two portrait versions of the 2015 Royal Arms Shield – the older Ian Rank Broadley one and the newer Jody Clark one. Is that all the round pound variants from over the years, or am I still missing any others?

  33. Danny Williams says:

    I have every £1 pound coin in proof condition except the 2016 one the last round £1 which I have in mint condition I also have all the shield £1 pound coins in proof plus the new 12 sided £1 in proof . I have all the £2 coins most in proof condition A few in mint and also all the dates one . I also have all the British 50p in mint going all the way back to all the bigger 50p most are mint and I have most of the Isle of Man 50p and most of the Gibraltar 50p most in mint or proof condition . Has any one got a better collection ?

    • Ray lambert says:

      How many different Gibraltar round pounds are there?

    • snowybell1611 says:

      I have 4 of the 5 large 50p’s ,2 full Olympic 50p set’s , (with a few spare’s or swap’s ) 5 full 50p sets all including Kew gardens, ( lot’s of spare’s or swap’s ) 2 betrix Potter set’s , full set of £1 to date and half way through collecting £2 . Just bought a very rare isle of Man Christmas 50p collecter’s ablum, (£69!!!!!) so this is my next collection to start……..This one may take a while to complete .

  34. Stuardo says:

    In theory by May time the Edinburgh will be rarer than Kew Gardens

    • Andrew says:

      I have a theory that the old, large-sized 1981 Ten Pence might be pretty rare for the same reason: it was the last large 10p released into circulation (later ones were only available in sets) and was quite a low mintage of 3.5 million compared to anything between 59 and 336 million for previous issues. Then when all the old 10ps were removed from circulation with the introduction of the smaller one in 1992, the bulk of that 3.5 million must have disappeared. I’d love to know just how many escaped being melted down and how rare that makes them now.

  35. Brendon feetham says:

    I have 6 of the £1 Edinburgh coin s

  36. Ange says:

    I am still trying to find the Cardiff coin! That’s all I need to finish my collection!

  37. joseph spencer says:


  38. Andy Maxfield says:

    I am 79 now and dont get about much but have just completed the £1 set,could do with a nicer looking 2008 one tho, good huntin all Andy

  39. Wayne Coleman (Mr) says:

    Woo-hoo ! I have now got all the complete set of £1 coins, just need some kind benevolent person at ‘Change Checker’ to supply me with a gold collector’s medal ppplllleeaassee!!!!! (grovel, grovel) !
    Collecting Pound coins is Sterling work !!!

  40. mick dunnett says:

    i`ve got all 24 1pound coins , just got the full set of beatrix potter 50 ps the great fire of london 2 pound .

  41. Muriel Mutch says:

    What will happen to £1 coins that collectors collect once they go out of circulation

  42. Peter Reynolds says:


  43. James says:

    Bit confused that you would club all the Royal arms as 1 ! There were less than 4million of the 2008 one issued so is hard to find

    • David Crane says:

      completely agree with you on that, the 2008 Royal Arms is very scarce – I did find one this week
      Having kept every one I’ve seen since they were issued, I still have only 10 of them, yet some of the ones marked as scarce – such as the 1988 crowned shield £1, I have 30 of those, and those have a rating of 51 !

      I think this list needs some separation of the Royal Arms ones, as lumping them all together is giving a false result

      I believe I also have a 1998 dated one of these, retrieved from change – it had been in circulation for quite some time before I found it – I believe the rest with this date are in sets, so this one must’ve escaped?

  44. Mr William Montgomery says:

    I have almost completed three £1 sets and a friend sent me three Edinburgh and one Belfast as well as a Crown Shield last week.

  45. Jody page says:

    Hi all

    I have a St. John’s chapel pound coin but it’s not on the picture of the different coins to collect, does anyone know why xx

    • Yasmin Britton says:

      Hi Jody, the coin you have is from the Isle of Man, we only list coins from the UK as coins from British Territories aren’t actually legal tender in the UK. I hope this helps. Thanks, Yasmin

  46. James Farrow says:

    Such a great idea to calculate scarcity! Might this me possible with 50ps or £2s? I honestly managed to find find two Edinburgh £1s in one day the other day, alongside a Belfast and a 2008 Royal Arms, meaning I finally completed the One Pound Coin Race! So, anyway, I doubt I’ll find anything amazing for quite a while now due to that success.

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