Last week a 50p coin that many thousands of people have found in their daily pocket change started to be sold on e-Bay for prices upward of £100.00. Or to put it another way, 200 times its actual value!
It was all because the Royal Mint announced that the Kew Gardens 50p coins is the UK’s most scarce circulation coin, with just 210,000 pieces ever been placed into circulation. The result was a media storm and the inevitable overnight ramping of prices.
Half the circulation of the Kew Gardens 50p
But what few people realise is that there is an even rarer UK 50p piece that was issued in half the number of the Kew Gardens coin – just 109,000 coins.
The coin was issued in 1992 to mark the EC Single Market and the UK presidency of the Council of Ministers – perhaps not the most popular of topics, which maybe was the reason so very few were pushed out into circulation. But of course, its lack of popularity at the time, is the very thing that now makes its Britain’s rarest 50p coin.
Sadly, however hard you search, unlike the Kew Gardens 50p, you will not find this one in your change. That’s because it is one of the old-sized 50p coins that were demonetised in 1998.
The coin itself was designed by Mary Milner Dickens and pictures the UK’s place at the head of the Council of Ministers’ conference table. The stars represent each of the nations’ capital cities placed in their relative geographical position.
But it won’t be the coin’s clever design that will guarantee its numismatic interest for years to come. It is its status as the UK’s most rare circulation 50p is what will intrigue collectors and have them searching and saving up in years to come.
Are you interested in owning the UK’s rarest 50p coin?
Limited stocks of the 1992 EC 50p coin are available from The Westminster Collection for £20.
NOW SOLD OUT
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.