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Can 50 pence in your pocket really give you a fortune?

Paddington at St Pauls 50p coinPhoto copyright
Royal Mint / PA Media

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Two new coins depict Paddington Bear outside St. Patrick's Cathedral Paweł and Tower of London

A modest 50p recently appeared on the headlines, introducing the new Paddington Bear coin and planning to release Brexit later this year.

They publish subsequent editions to celebrate events such as the Olympic Games and Commonwealth, as well as fictional characters like Peter Rabbit.

Many of these loose changes go to eBay – sellers often look for thousands of pounds for coins.

So what are the rarest 50 pence pieces in the UK – and which can get the highest price?

  • New Paddington Bear 50p coins enter circulation

Knowing the true value of collector coins is a difficult matter.

The confusion may be due to mixing the rarest collector coins that are made of gold and silver and do not enter the general circulation, with more popular versions made of cheaper base metals.

The currently rarest 50-cent coin in circulation is the 2009 Kew Gardens coin, according to figures published by the Royal Mint, which is the British currency.

Photo copyright
Royal Mint

Only 210,000 were minted when they were produced in 2009 on the 250th anniversary of the botanical gardens.

Due to their rarity, they can download around £ 100 on eBay.

But it would be good if you found it in your pocket, and most of them are now in private hands, "says Royal Mint.

If you think you found it, it's worth checking the date. The coin was re-issued in 2019. As part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Royal Mint.

Which sport coins are the most worth?

Coins designed to welcome the arrival of major sporting events can also be worth a penny.

These include selected coins issued for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The rarest version is the football version, with 1.25 million ever produced. They are now regularly sold for around £ 20 online.

Photo copyright
Royal Mint

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The reverse of the coin explains the principle of burning

Other coins in this series dominate the list of the most wanted coins met by the specialized Money Checker Change Checker website.

According to the shortage indicator – based on coin scarcity and demand – another 17 of the most valuable coins come from the Olympic series. After football coins, the five most valuable are:

  1. Triathlon (worth around £ 10)
  2. Stocks (7 £)
  3. Judo (7 £)
  4. Tennis (4 £)
  5. Goal ball (3 £)

And the rarest of all coins? This title also belongs to the event that means the sporting event – the collector's version of the 2014 Commonwealth Games coin.

A matching badge and Royal Mail envelope are included. Only 38 produced.

However, unlike the replica of base metal – which was made of 6.5 million – it never came into circulation.

What about Beatrix Potter coins?

One of the largest collections of Royal Mint coin coins marked 150 years after the birth of the author Beatrix Potter.

The rarest from the collection – a coin celebrating the tale of the duckling Jemima – can be downloaded online for 15 pounds.

Photo copyright
Royal Mint

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Jemima Puddle-Duck 50p

However, most of these coins are much less rare and often have low sales value.

The next rarest in the collection, based on the character Grandfather Squirrel, is much rarer, but you can sell it on eBay for GBP 1-3.

What else should you watch out for?

Coins with Sir Isaac Newton (1.8 million) and suffragists (3.1 million) are among the rarest in circulation – and regularly download between £ 2 and £ 3 online.

The rarest 50 pence in circulation

However, how many parts of recently produced coins can be downloaded – for example, the Sherlock Holmes edition – remains a mystery for now.

This is due to the fact that the Royal Mint has not yet released figures showing how much was produced after 2016.

What is the rarest 50p in general circulation?

Perhaps you do not expect 50 pence to tell the story of the UK's relations with Europe – but the reverse was used for that purpose.

The Chancellor is currently planning a commemorative Brexit 50 pence coin that could be produced for the scheduled departure date on October 31.

But in 1992, 50 pence was created on the occasion of the creation of the Single European Market – which will later transform into the European Union – and the UK Presidency of the Council of Ministers.

Only 109,000 coins were issued before the decision to replace the larger 50-pence piece with the smaller and lighter one that is used today.

Photo copyright
Royal Mint

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The rarest 50 pence put into circulation is the single market coin

What should buyers watch out for?

The actual value of coins is all that someone will pay for them.

But media reports of new issues and coins sold for thousands of pounds can also affect demand, says Rachel Hooper of Change Checker.

Despite how common some coins are and the apparent lack of demand for them, some sellers are trying to sell their coins for thousands or even millions of pounds.

"When Kew Gardens was reissued earlier this year, the demand for the original 2009 coin increased when more and more people took up the challenge of raising the most-sought 50 pence in circulation in the UK," says Ms Hooper.

He warns, however, that coins can be listed on eBay for "well above face value," which could arouse media interest and increased collector demand.

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