Wondering if you have a rare 50p coin? Well, there are certainly a lot of 50 pence pieces around, but which are valuable and which are worth, well, 50p?
Not long ago, I wrote a post about some of the most valuable coins in the UK and I was quite surprised by how much a single coin can be worth. But another thing that shocked me was the sheer number of 50 pence coins that were in circulation, so I thought I would take a look to find the rarest and see how much they were really worth.
Which 50p coins are rare?
- 2011 London Olympics Aquatics (first design) – 600
- 2009 Kew Gardens – 210,000
- 2011 London Olympics Football – 1,125,500
- 2017 Royal Shield – 1,800,000
- 2017 Sir Isaac Newton – 1,801,500
- 2016 Jemima Puddle-Duck – 2,100,000
- 2003 Suffragettes – 3,124,030
- 2011 WWF – 3,400,000
- 2008 Britannia – 3,500,000
- 2016 Squirrel Nutkin – 5,000,000
- 1998 NHS – 5,001,000
- 1998 EU – 5,043,000
The numbers after the coin show the amount released. Please note that these do not include the individual 2012 Olympic coins.
A brief history of the 50p coin
The coin was introduced into the UK back in 1969 in preparation for Decimal Day which took place on 15 February 1971. The 5p and 10p coins had already been issued the previous year, with the halfpenny, penny and two pence coins being released on Decimal Day itself. The idea behind a staggered release of coins was so the public could gradually get used to them, without six coins all being introduced at once.
Many items were priced up in both currencies some time before and after Decimal Day so that people could get used to the change.
The government had planned for the coins to be called “new pence”, but the public decided to shorten it to “pee”, which is what many of us still use today.
The size and the shape of the coin didn’t change until 1997 when it was reduced in diameter to match the reduction in the size of the 5p and 10p.
Why are there so many different 50p coins?
Since its introduction, the 50p coins have often been used to commemorate important events, such as the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings, the 50th anniversary of the NHS and the 2012 London Olympic Games. In total, it is thought that 75 commemorative 50p coins have been released since 1971. Because these coins are issued in limited numbers, it gives them far more potential to become valuable collector’s items.
How many 50p coins are there?
Royal mintage figures in 2014 estimated that there were around 948 million 50p coins in circulation, which means there could be close to 1 billion now.
Since the new 50p was introduced in 1997, there have been 87 designs released and 70 are still in circulation and could end up in your pocket.
Where to sell rare 50p coins?
If you think you have a rare or valuable 50p coin, there are several places you can try to sell.
By far the biggest marketplace out there, you have the potential to reach millions of buyers. But unless you set a reserve price on your coin, it could sell for far less than market value. Conversely though, there are some examples of coins below that have sold for far more than their worth through eBay.
You need to bear in mind that eBay does charge a 10% fee and you have to rely on honesty with both parties. Both buyers and sellers have been dishonest with each other in the past. Although eBay provides some cover, you can’t rue out fraud.
This probably doesn’t have the reach of eBay, but you don’t have to pay any fees. The majority of transactions are made in person, but you don’t have to rule out sending by post.
Dealing in person is always preferable as you can examine the goods and money before you exchange. If you decide to complete a sale by post, remember that there will be very little protection.
Here, you will find plenty of experts who can give you a more accurate valuation of your 50p coin if you’re not sure. They take place all over the UK on different dates.
Also known as a numismatist, there should be one or two coin dealers close to you. They will be able to give you a figure of how much your coin is worth and may even buy it from you or put you in touch with somebody who is looking. A quick search on Google should bring up a list.
Most rare and valuable 50p coins in the UK
London Olympics Aquatics 50p Coin 2011 (First Design)
There were a total of twenty-nine differently designed 50 pence coins released between 2009 – 2011 to celebrate the return of the Olympics to the UK. With designs including, Archery, Badmington, Football and Tennis, they are all sought after by collectors. But there is one coin, in particular, that is more valuable than the rest.
When the Aquatics coin above was initially released, it was decided that the waves hid the swimmer’s face too much. A new coin was issued, this time with the waves above the face. The change meant that you can find very coins with the initial design, making them far more valuable. In total, it estimated that there are around 600 of these coins.
Estimated value: £800.
Kew Gardens 2009
210,000 of these coins were released to celebrate the 250th anniversary of London’s Kew Gardens. Many made their way straight to collectors, which meant that relatively few hit circulation.
Estimated value: £170.
London Olympics Football 50p Coin 2011
This is the most valuable coin from the 2012 Olympics (excluding the first design Aquatics coin). 1,125,500 of these were minted and the design explains the offside rule. Because of the lower numbers and the unique talking point, it considerably increases the value.
Estimated value: £13.
Other valuable Olympic coins to look out for:
- Judo: 1,161,500, estimated value: £8
- Triathlon: 1,163,500, estimated value: £10
- Wrestling: 1,129,500, estimated value: £8
The not so rare or valuable 50 pence coins…
There are some coins out there that are rumoured to be worth a lot of money due to the fact they are so rare when in reality, they are quite common. Even the 50p pieces with a lower mintage, aren’t even worth much.
Some examples to look out for.
European Economic Community 50p Coin 1973
This 50 pence coin was introduced in 1973 to help celebrate our entry into the EU. There were 89,775,000 coins minted in total. The coin was also produced in silver (estimated to be around 5000) with the majority being given to senior officials. This is thought to be worth around £3,000 if you ever see one.
Estimated value: £3
Sir Isaac Newton 50p Coin 2017
This is actually the 3rd rarest 50p coin in circulation, with just over 1.8 million coins issued. Created to mark the 375th anniversary of his birth, the rear represents one of Newton’s theories – showing the Sun at the centre and three ellipses as the orbits of different planets.
And although it’s one of the rarer modern 50p coins, it isn’t worth much.
Estimated value: £3
Brexit 50p Coin
As the UK decides to go it alone, the Mint chose to release a coin saying “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations.” With 3 million of these coins released in 2020, they aren’t very rare. However, the historical relevance could prove significant and they may increase in value with time.
Estimated value: £3
Battle of Hastings 50p Coin 2016
This coin was released to mark 750 years since the Battle of Hastings, with around 6.7 million coins minted. As you can see, that means the coin isn’t particularly rare. However, in June 2020, one of these coins sold for £63,100 on eBay. This goes to show that coins are worth as much as anybody is willing to pay – even if they aren’t rare!
Estimated value: £2.
Mrs Tittlemouse 50p Coin 2018
Another coin that has fetched a hefty price at auction. Mrs. Tittlemouse was released in 2018, inspired by Beatrix Potter’s own watercolour illustrations. However, 1.7 million of them were released, so they weren’t actually that rare. It’s quite puzzling why one coin sold on eBay for £430. Take a look at my post to see how much the other Beatrix Potter coins are worth.
Estimated value: £4.
Tom Kitten 50p Coin 2017
This is one of the most searched coins on the internet when people are looking for coin values, which tells you one thing… it’s very common. There were 9.5 million of these minted, which means there are plenty about.
Estimated value: £1.30
Royal Shield 50p Coin 2017
Between 2008 and 2017, The Royal Shield 50p was issued 7 times. At its peak, 49 million were issued in 2014. But 2017 saw just 1.8 million, making them the 2nd rarest 50 pence coin in circulation after Kew Gardens
So, you would think this would make it pretty valuable? Not at all. In fact, it’s the least valuable on this list.
Estimated value: £1
Can you make money selling 50p coins?
If you have access to plenty of 50 pence coins and you have the time, it’s certainly possible to make money by selling them on. Making £1 or £2 doesn’t sound like much, but just think, there are 3 million Brexit coins. If you could sell all of them for £3 each, £1.5 million worth of coins is suddenly worth £9 million.
Of course, you need to find buyers and there could be fees involved. But making a profit from selling coins is certainly possible.
Should you invest in 50p coins?
If selling sounds like too much hassle, how about investing? Many of us consider collecting these coins in the hope that one day, they will be worth a lot more. But the general advice is to only buy these coins because you want them. As you can see from above, there are plenty of commemorative coins released and the majority aren’t worth a great deal more than face value.
You can purchase commemorative 50p coins directly from the Royal Mint, usually for £10. Once they arrive to you, they’re worth around £5. It could take 20+ years before some of these reach their initial sale price and that’s not taking into consideration inflation.
The best value is to be found with coins that have a minting error or those with very few released. Although the chances of finding these are very slim.
If you like the idea of making money from coins, why not take a look at my post on rare and valuable stamps in the UK?
How many 50p coins are in the Beatrix Potter collection?
In total, there are 13 coins. These are:
- 2016 Peter Rabbit
- 2016 Beatrix Potter
- 2016 Jemima Puddle-Duck
- 2016 Mrs Tiggy Winkle
- 2016 Squirrel Nutkin
- 2017 Peter Rabbit
- 2017 Mr Jeremy Fisher
- 2017 Tom Kitten
- 2017 Benjamin Bunny
- 2018 Peter Rabbit
- 2018 Tailor of Gloucester
- 2018 Flopsy Bunny
- 2018 Mrs Tittlemouse
Are 50p coins made of silver?
No, they are made up of Cupro-nickel, which is 75% copper and 25% nickel.
Which 29 coins make up the Olympic 50p set?
- Modern Pentathlon
- Table Tennis
- Wheelchair Rugby