Posts Tagged ‘Kew Gardens 50p’

Ultimate Guide: The Top 10 Rarest Coins in Circulation

Have I just found a rare coin? It’s a question which collectors ask daily, and to help answer it, we’ve put together these charts showing the TOP 10 rarest coins for each of the four denominations on the Change Checker App.

How does your coin stack up against the others?

The Northern Ireland 2002 Commonwealth Games is the rarest £2 coin currently in circulation – in fact the four designs in the 2002 Commonwealth Games series occupy the four top spots. Others to look out for include both 2008 and 2012 Olympic Handover Two Pound Coin designs.

c2a32 coins top 10 - Ultimate Guide: The Top 10 Rarest Coins in Circulation

The rarest One Pound coin currently in circulation is the Edinburgh £1 – have you ever spotted one in your change? The Royal Arms is a common design which is sometimes ignored, but remember to look out for one with a 2008 date – that’s actually the fourth rarest.

c2a31 coins updated - Ultimate Guide: The Top 10 Rarest Coins in Circulation

The Olympic Fifty Pence series is very popular with Change Checkers, but in terms of rarity, there really isn’t much separating the top 10 designs. The Football ‘Offside Rule’ 50p was certainly one of the most talked about designs, and it also narrowly ranks as the scarcest.

olympic 50p top 10 - Ultimate Guide: The Top 10 Rarest Coins in Circulation

As mentioned in our previous blog the rarest coin, of any denomination, is the Kew Gardens 50p. Its status as the most scarce coin has been well publicised, and as a result, many are hoarded by collectors. The chart below illustrates just how rare it is compared with other Fifty Pence designs.

50p coins updated - Ultimate Guide: The Top 10 Rarest Coins in Circulation


Hopefully our charts will help you identify which coins you should be looking for in your loose change, and remember you can Find, Collect and Swap all your coins for FREE with the Change Checker App: www.changechecker.org

How rare is the Royal Navy £2?

You may have read in the news recently about a small number of Royal Navy £2 coins which were issued to HMS Belfast and its visitor facilities – 100 of them to be precise. The story was widely covered, with the BBC amongst others confirming this new £2 coin as the rarest in circulation. Naturally plenty of excitement ensued amongst collectors, many of whom flocked to HMS Belfast in the hope of finding one.

2015 navy - How rare is the Royal Navy £2?

The 100 Royal Navy £2 coins distributed at HMS Belfast all carry the Ian Rank-Broaldey FRBS portrait of the Queen

The distinguishing feature of these 100 coins is that they all carry the current portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank Broadley FRBS whereas those issued for general circulation later in the year will feature the Queen’s new portrait (announced 2nd March).

A typical mintage of several million later this year will put these 100 Royal Navy £2 coins in an extraordinarily exclusive category of circulation coins.

But unfortunately it is not quite that simple.

The Brilliant Uncirculated Royal Navy £2 packs which have been available since last year also feature Ian Rank-Broadley’s current effigy of the Queen, and there is nothing fundamentally different between these and the 100 issued to HMS Belfast.

Inevitably, scammers have already capitalised on these blurred lines and an increasing number of coins purporting to be from HMS Belfast have started cropping up on eBay for extortionate amounts. Whilst we can’t prove or disprove the legitimacy of these listings it is nonsensical to bid on a coin which can in no way be authenticated as one of the 100 rare issues.

ebay listing - How rare is the Royal Navy £2?

A Royal Navy £2 claiming to be from HMS Belfast selling on ebay for over £100

At the time of writing, some Royal Navy £2 coins have received bids running in to the hundreds of pounds. It is very reminiscent of this time last year when the Kew Gardens 50p was being sold for astronomical prices.

Our message is the same as it was then – be aware of sellers trying to make a quick profit and don’t shell out a lot of money for a coin without knowing its real worth.


royal navy pack flash - How rare is the Royal Navy £2?Cheaper than the Royal Mint

If you would like to own a Brilliant Uncirculated Royal Navy £2 Coin Pack, they are now available for just £9 from the Westminster Collection.

Click here to order

A guide to collecting the UK’s rarest circulating coins

After the interest in last week’s charts, I thought I would go into a little more detail about the coins which came out on top – because when it comes to collecting, there is one fact which is always inevitable – the rarest coins are always in highest demand.

So which coins in your pocket are the rare ones? 

  • Fifty Pence coins
kew gardens 50p a - A guide to collecting the UK's rarest circulating coins

The Kew Gardens 50p is the rarest coin in circulation

Where else to start but the Kew Gardens 50p? As any change checker knows, it is the rarest coin currently in circulation, with just 210,000 struck. To put that in perspective – the next scarcest designs are the 2003 Suffragettes and 2011 WWF 50ps respectively with a mintage of just over 3 million apiece. The famous Chinese Pagoda of the gardens features on the reverse of the coin and is definitely worth looking for in your change. It remains the Holy Grail of circulation coins eluding even the keenest of collectors.

  • Olympic Fifty Pence series
olympic 50p small - A guide to collecting the UK's rarest circulating coins

The ‘Offside Rule’ Football design is the rarest in the Olympic 50p series

In celebration of London 2012, the Royal Mint issued a series of 29 different 50p designs – each representing a sport from either the Olympic or Paralympic Games. They have gone on to become some of the most highly sought-after coins and are still frequently hoarded from circulation. The ‘Offside rule’ Football 50p had everyone talking about its innovative design, but it also holds the title of the Olympic 50p with the lowest mintage. Only 1,125,500 were struck, which is marginally more than the Triathlon and Judo designs which are the next rarest in the series.

  • One Pound coins
c2a31 edinbugh proof2 - A guide to collecting the UK's rarest circulating coins

The Edinburgh design is the £1 with the lowest mintage

The £1 coin has not traditionally been a place for one-off commemorative designs, but themes have followed a similar pattern over the years, with the four constituent countries of the United Kingdom being represented in cycles. In recent years, the mintage of commemorative £1 coins has dropped off considerably, and the capital cities series is currently the most scarce. The 2011 Edinburgh design is the only £1 coin with a mintage below 1 million and the Cardiff and London issues follow closely behind. By way of comparison, there were over 443 million Royal Arms Shield £1 coins issued in 1983 alone.

  • Two Pound coins
2002 cwg c2a32 flags - A guide to collecting the UK's rarest circulating coins

The 2002 Commonwealth Games N.Ireland is the rarest £2 in circulation, but it can be tricky to spot!

The 2002 Commonwealth Games £2 designs are notoriously difficult to find. There are four different versions, all similar, but with a different flag to represent each of the four constituent countries of the UK. You’ll need to look very closely at each flag to know which version you’ve got. The Northern Ireland design is the rarest £2 coin in circulation – only 485,500 were struck. The other three in the series are similarly scarce, so finding any Commonwealth Games £2 in your change is an achievement! Other £2 coins worthy of note include the three Olympic-themed designs; 2008 Handover, 2008 Centenary and 2012 Handover which also have mintages of less than one million.

So the next time you’re flicking through your coins, remember – all coins are not created equal!  There are some you should count yourself lucky to have, and if you come across any of the rare coins mentioned in this post – it might just be worth hanging on to them!


Collect your coins with Change Checkerapp shot - A guide to collecting the UK's rarest circulating coins

Interested in the designs mentioned in this blog?

You can find, collect and even swap every commemorative coin in circulation with the FREE Change Checker App.

Click here to try it out!