Rare 50p coins could be worth hundreds of pounds

Ben Chapman
Royal Mint

Could you could be sitting on coins that are worth hundreds of pounds? The face value of the humble 50p won’t buy you much but the rarest 50p pieces have sold for many times more than that. Here are the most valuable ones to look out for:

WWF 50p

(Royal Mint)

The WWF 50p, released in 2011 and emblazoned with the iconic panda logo, is listed on eBay as having sold for over £200. Recent coins have sold for closer to £20, which still represents a tidy profit.

Kew Gardens

(Royal Mint)

The Royal Mint blog has confirmed that this limited edition coin is the rarest 50p in circulation. It was released in 2009 to mark the 250th anniversary of the famous botanical gardens in west London. Just 210,000 were made and some are listed for sale at £280.

Jemima Puddle-Duck

(Royal Mint)

The Royal Mint released the 2016 Jemima Puddle-Duck coin to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter’s birth. One of the coins is listed on eBay as having sold for £499, although there are over 2 million in circulation, so this may have been a one-off. If they all fetched that price there would be more than £1bn-worth of Jemima Puddle-Duck coins in circulation. Other Beatrix Potter coins like the new Tom Kitten edition could also fetch several times their face value.

2012 London Olympics

(Royal Mint)

This was a series of 29 coins released prior to the London 2012 Olympic Games. Because they were relatively common, their value is lower than some of the others on the list. The football, wrestling and tennis coins are selling for around £3-£4.

One coin could potentially net a lucky owner far more than that, however. Just 600 of the original design of the swimming coin were made before the image was changed. If you have one of the originals with the water flowing over the athlete’s face, you may be in for a windfall, though valuations of the coin vary wildly.

A figure has been quoted in several reports of £3,000, but coin expert Richard Beale at collectibles auctioneers Warwick & Warwick, said that a valuation “in the tens of pounds” would be more achievable.

Offside rule

(Royal Mint)

This coin has apparently sold online for 20 times its face value. On its face is a diagram explaining the age-old question: “What is the offside rule?”

The EC Commemorative 50p

(Royal Mint)

The Royal Mint issued this coin to celebrate the British presidency of the Council of Europe.

Only 109,000 of that coin were minted, making it considerably rarer than the Kew Gardens 50p. It was one of the larger, heavier 50p coins that, following a review of the UK currency in 1994, was withdrawn from circulation in 1997. Coins are listed as having sold on eBay for £175, though a more realistic valuation is probably far lower.

Those in search of the most valuable coins should look to the special collectors’ editions released by the Royal Mint which are made in small numbers and don’t go into circulation, according to Mr Beale.

“Serious coin collectors aren’t looking at loose change,” he said

“There’s all kinds of jiggery pokery going on out there and anyone can put anything on ebay for whatever price they want. It doesn’t mean they’re going to get it.”