Are you wondering if you have a rare 50p coin? There are certainly a lot of 50 pence pieces around, but which are the valuable coins and which are worth, well, 50p? Let’s take a look at the coins you should keep your eye out for.
Not long ago, I wrote a post about some of the most valuable and rare 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 search for the rare designs and see how much they are really worth.
Rarest 50p coins
- 2011 London Olympics Aquatics (first design) – 600 coins minted
- 1992-1993 Single European Market – 109,000
- 2009 Kew Gardens – 210,000
- 2011 London Olympics Wrestling – 1,129,500
- 2011 London Olympics Football – 1,161,500
- 2011 London Olympics Judo – 1,161,500
- 2011 London Olympic Triathlon – 1,163,500
- 2018 Peter Rabbit – 1,400,000
- 2018 Flopsy Bunny – 1,400,000
The numbers after the coin show how many of that issue were released.
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 sometime 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 to a 27.5mm diameter to match the reduction in the size of the 5p and 10p coins.
Why are there so many different 50p coins?
Since its introduction, the 50p coins have often been used to commemorate important and big 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 and there are so many variations of the 50p coin, 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.
Rarest 50p coins in the UK
The below values are based on the coins being in great condition. A coin’s value will decrease if it is damaged.
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 few coins with the initial design, making them far more valuable. In total, mintage numbers are estimated to be around 600.
Estimated value for the Olympics Aquatics 50p: £800.
Single European Market 50p Coin 1992-1993
Only 109,000 of these coins were released to celebrate the UK’s Presidency of the Council of Ministers and the completion of the Single European Market. This is actually an old-style 50 pence and was taken out of circulation five year later.
Estimated value for the Single European Market 50p: £50.
Kew Gardens 2009 50p Coin 2009
210,000 of the Kew Gardens design were released to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the gardens, making it the second rarest 50p coin on the list. Many made their way straight to collectors, which meant that relatively few hit circulation. Because this 50p is so hard to come by, it’s now considered a very collectable coin.
Estimated value for the Kew Gardens 50p: £170.
London Olympics Wrestling 50p coin 2011
Although there are fewer Olympic wrestling design coins compared to the football coins issued in the same year, the value of this 50p hasn’t risen quite so much.
Estimated value for the Olympics Wrestling 50p: £6.50
London Olympics Football 50p Coin 2011
This is the most valuable coin from the 2012 Olympics (excluding the first design Aquatics coin), which goes to show that the number of coins isn’t always the deciding factor when it comes to value. 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 Olympics Football 50p: £13.
London Olympics Judo 50p Coin 2011
The 5th coin on our list pays homage to the popular sport of Judo. Although considered rare, there were still well over 1 million Judo coins minted.
Estimated value for the Olympics Judo 50p: £8
London Olympics Triathlon 50p Coin 2011
Although there were 2,000 more of these coins minted compared to the Judo issue, it hasn’t stopped the Triathlon 50 pence from rising in value quicker.
Estimated value for the Olympics Triathlon 50p: £10
Peter Rabbit 50p Coin 2018
Now, there have been several Peter Rabbit designs released over several years. But this 2018 version is the rarest and most popular. Why not take a look at how much other Beatrix Potter 50p coins are worth?
Estimated value for the Peter Rabbit 50p: £3.50
Flopsy Bunny 50p Coin 2018
Another coin released to celebrate Beatrix Potter’s novels. Although there was exactly the same number issued as the Peter Rabbit 50 pence, the Flopsy Bunny has increased in value more.
Estimated value for the Flopsy Bunny 50p: £5
Best of the rest – other rare 50 pence coins to look out for:
- 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 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.
Here are 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 considered worth around £3,000 if you ever see one.
Estimated value for the European Economic Community 50p: £3
Sherlock Holmes 50p Coin 2019
This coin was released to celebrate what would have been Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s 160th birthday, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. But there were 8,602,000 coins minted, which means that it isn’t rare at all.
Estimated value for the Sherlock Holmes 50p: £2
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 for the Sir Isaac Newton 50p: £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 for the Brexit 50p: £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 for the Battle of Hastings 50p: £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.
Estimated value for the Mrs Tittlemouse 50p: £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 for the Tom Kitten 50p: £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 for the Royal Shield 50p: £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 each time might not 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, this does depend on the condition of the coin, you’ll 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?
It’s worth keeping an eye out for a new 50p coin and adding it to your collection. Although it’s unlikely that one day it will be worth a small fortune, there’s no harm in keeping them.
And many people do collect these coins in the hope that one day, they will be worth far more than their original value.
You can purchase commemorative 50p coins directly from the Royal Mint which aren’t released into general circulation. They’ll usually cost £10 and by the time it reaches you, it will be 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. Keep an eye out on the Royal Mint website as they regularly release new 50p designs.
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. The truth is, 50p coins aren’t generally worth vast amounts of money.
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?
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 coin collectors through an online auction. You’ll find that the Olympic-themed 50ps sell really well here. But unless you set a reserve price on your coin, it could sell for far less than market value. Conversely, 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 and are probably one of the best places to visit if you hold one of the rarest coins.
Also known as a numismatist, there should be a coin dealer 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.
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