The Royal Mint has announced that the Kew Gardens 50p coin is the scarcest coin in circulation today.
The result has been media hype that has seen prices for this everyday circulation coin sky-rocket. The Guardian first reported prices being paid of £24 for this 50 pence coin but since then the Daily Mirror and other media sources have identified coins selling for as much as £120 – 240 times it face value!
Even more incredibly, a Brilliant Uncirculated version of the coin in its original Royal Mint pack, which would have first sold for less than £10, was showing bids of £310 on e-Bay.
So how rare is this coin?
There are 940,000,000 50 pence coins in circulation and just 210,000 Kew Gardens 50p pieces were ever issued into circulation. That means that they account for 0.02% of the 50p coins in circulation. Or to look at it another way, there is just 1 coin for every 300 people in the UK.
It is a pretty rare coin but despite collector interest, most of the coins released are still in circulation, meaning the sharp-eyed collector can still find one for just 50p. So whilst it may be worth a sensible premium if you’re desperate to own one, prices of £100 are frankly absurd.
If I was you, I’d let the hype die down and look again in a month or two.
For more information on the coins in your pocket and change collecting visit www.changechecker.org.
In the wake of the furore surrounding the brand new First World War commemorative £2 featuring Lord Kitchener, a few ideas have been mooted as to who else should be included in the five-year commemorative coin series from outbreak through to armistice.
Kitchener’s famous finger pointing at the reader and his call ‘Your Country Needs You’ has been branded by critics as jingoistic and a glorification of war rather than a reflection on the sheer loss of life which occurred.
The Royal Mint has confirmed that future designs would include other figures connected with the war, but have remained tight-lipped on who these figures will be.
Edith Cavell is amongst the most popular suggestions, and a petition with over 35,000 in signatures has added considerable weight to the case.
Born as the daughter of a vicar in 1865, Edith Cavell was the wartime nurse who was executed for providing care to wounded soldiers irrespective of their nationality. She, along with Belgian and French colleagues helped over 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium. She was arrested by a German military court, found guilty of ‘assisting men to the enemy’ and despite worldwide condemnation, was shot by a German firing squad on 12 October 1915.
Patriotism is not enough…
Her last words were “I realise that patriotism is not enough, I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.”
Thousands of people lined the streets for her funeral procession before she was buried at Norwich Cathedral.
Sioned-Mair Richards, the Sheffield Labour Councillor who started the petition believes Cavell was ‘simply a nurse trying to do her duty, and should be honoured by her country as a woman who was one of the best’.
Which design would you prefer to appear on this year’s £2 coin? Vote below.
Half of Britons don’t know their own coins –
well that’s what the Royal Mint says…
A recent survey commissioned by the Royal Mint suggests that the British population has very little idea about the coins they use every day.
It seems that 17% of people had no idea that Queen Elizabeth II was featured on the obverse (head side) of British coins, with a slightly concerning 4% suggesting it was Queen Victoria and 3% former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
As for the designs on the coins 68% struggled with what was on the penny and perhaps most remarkably practically half of the adult population (48%) were unable to identify the correct number of denominations currently in circulation.
Growing interest in circulating coin collecting
In fact the Royal Mint’s research flies in the face of growing interest in the UK’s circulating coinage. Fuelled by the incredible interest in the Olympic 50 pence coins, that has seen 70% of the 15,000,000 coins that went into circulation disappear – apparently into individual collections – change collecting has gathered considerable momentum over the last couple of years.
In fact there are currently 93 different £2, £1 and 50p coin designs and with only the very latest releases still to make banks and post offices, nearly all are available to collect in your change.
But with so little knowledge about our own coinage, it’s little wonder that some many collectors have turned to www.changechecker.org to track their collection and swap coins with other collectors. With over 75 swap requests being posted each day, we can be hopeful that Britons are rapidly re-educating themselves about their coinage.