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16 rare and most valuable coins in the UK

Do you think you may have a rare UK coin sitting in your house? Or perhaps you’re wondering if buying and selling coins could be a great way to earn extra cash. Take a look at some of the rarest coins you should be looking out for and how much they are worth.

rare and valuable coins in the uk
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After writing a post on various ways to make extra money, I discovered that buying and selling coins could be a money-spinner.

And today, I will share with you the most valuable coins you need to look out for. I’ll also let you know the rare coins in circulation that are worth little more than face value.

Rare and valuable UK coins wanted by collectors

  • 1937 Edward VIII Gold Sovereign – valued at £1m
  • 1703 Queen Anne VIGO 5 Guineas – valued at £900,000
  • 1344 Edward III Gold “Double Leopard” Florin – valued at £460,000
  • 1933 George V Penny – valued at £72,000
  • 1936 Edward VIII Brass Threepence – valued at £30,000
  • 1917 George V Sovereign – valued at £11,000
  • 1973 EEC Fifty Pence Coin – valued at £3,000
  • 1994 Elizabeth II Bank of England 300th Anniversary Two Pound Coin – valued at £2,500
  • 2012 London Olympics Aquatics Fifty Pence – valued at £1,500
  • 1996 Elizabeth II European Championships Gold Proof Two Pound Coin 1996 – valued at £790
  • 1983 Two Pence “New Pence” Coin – valued at £500
  • 2015 Silver Two Pence Coin – valued at £485
  • 2009 Kew Gardens Fifty Pence Coin – valued at £170
  • 2008 ‘Undated Twenty Pence Coin – valued at £50
  • 2015 Britannia Two Pound Coin – valued at £50+
  • 1992-1993 Single Market Fifty Pence Coin – valued at £45-£55

A brief history of the coin

I love a brief history lesson if only it means I can bore my children at dinner.

Coins were introduced as a payment method around the 6th or 5th century BCE by the Lydians (who were located in Turkey). The first coins were made of an alloy of silver and gold known as electrum. Gold and silver soon replaced electrum as the material of choice and a coin’s value was linked to the value of the metal rather than an arbitrary value as we do now.

In the UK, up until 1920, coins were made up of 92.5% silver. The content was then reduced and in 1947, silver was removed from all coins.

Also worth reading

With so many in circulation, find out which 50 pence coins are worth the most.

So, what makes a coin valuable?

Generally, it comes down to how rare something is. And that doesn’t necessarily mean an old coin that has been taken out of circulation. Many of the coins below are rare because very few were initially minted. 200,000 might seem like a big number, but when you think that around 29 billion coins are circulating in the UK, you soon realise that it’s fairly insignificant.

What is the world’s most valuable coin?

Surprisingly (or maybe not), the highest-valued coins are from the United States. And the most expensive? The Flowing Hair Silver Dollar, which was struck in 1794 and is valued at over $10 million. Remember to check through your loose change to ensure you haven’t been given one the next time you visit the States…

World's most expensive coin

Most valuable UK coins

So, without further ado, let’s look at some of the most valuable coins in the UK. The four coins listed below will not be found in common circulation, but you never know, they may be found in a relative’s money box or if you happen to do a bit of metal detecting.

Edward VIII Gold Sovereign 1937

Edward VIII gold sovereign

This 1937, 22-carat gold coin was created after the death of King George V. However, Edward VIII abdicated before his coronation, so these sovereigns were never mass-produced. There are two of these coins held by private collectors and four in museums and institutes.

One coin was sold privately for £1 million in 2020.

Queen Anne VIGO 5 Guineas 1703 

1703 Queen Anne VIGO Five Guinea

Just a handful of 5 guineas were produced and it’s thought that fewer than 20 survived. The coin is made from gold captured at the Battle of Vigo Bay, during the War of the Spanish Succession.

In 2019, one of these coins sold for around £900,000 at auction.

Edward III Gold “Double Leopard” Florin 1344

1344 Edward III Gold Double Leopard Florin

This is the kind of coin that we like to see. Minted in 1344, this isn’t something you will likely find in common circulation. The Gold Florin was found in the River Tyne in 1857 with two other coins. It was initially worth six shillings – or around 30 pence in today’s money.

This coin was sold privately for £460,000 back in 2006.

George V Penny 1933

George V penny 1933

What makes this coin so special? Well, this UK coin is so rare because it is a “pattern coin”. It was a prototype and never went into production. In fact, there are only four in existence. Very few coins were produced in 1933 because so many had been manufactured by the Royal Mint the previous year.

This coin sold for £72,000 in 2016.

Edward VIII Brass Threepence 1936

Edward VIII Brass Threepence

This was an experimental coin created just after the death of King George V. However, like the gold sovereign above, the coins were never mass-produced. It is believed that no more than 10 of these coins were created.

The coin was put up for sale for £30,000 in 2013.

George V Sovereign 1917

1917 George V Sovereign London mint

This coin was minted in London during World War I. It wasn’t a particularly rare coin as nearly 1 million sovereigns were produced for the Bank of England reserves. However, nearly all the coins were exported to the USA to help pay for the war effort. It is thought that they sat in Fort Knox and eventually melted into bars.

A George V Sovereign was sold for £11,000 at auction in 2012.

Also worth reading

Modern rare coins

Ok, so the chances of you finding any of the coins above are pretty slim. However, some modern coins could still be in circulation or just sitting in a drawer somewhere.

European Economic Community Fifty Pence Coin 1973

1973 50 pence piece

This fifty-pence piece made of silver was released to celebrate the UK joining the EEC. However, it is estimated that only 5,000 were made and many were given to finance ministers and senior officials. Keep your eyes out for any Brexit coins…

It is estimated that these coins are worth around £3,000 each. There are plenty of non-silver coins around. But they only sell for around £3 each.

Elizabeth II Bank of England 300th Anniversary Two Pound Coin 1994


This rare coin was minted to celebrate 300 years of the Bank of England. There are 1,000 of these coins and they are 22-carat gold proof. If you were given this as change in the shop, you would certainly know it.

These are valued in the region of £2,500. There are similar coins to these on eBay that sell in the region of £15. However, they are far more common and are not 22-carat.

Elizabeth II London Olympics Aquatics Fifty Pence Coin 2011 (First Design)

50 pence olympics face covered

This rare 50 pence piece was released in 2011 to celebrate the following year’s London Olympic Games. However, it was decided that the swimmer’s face couldn’t be seen clearly, and the coin was redesigned with the waves missing their face.

It’s estimated that this coin could fetch £1,500.

Elizabeth II European Championships Gold Proof Two Pound Coin 1996

1996 football European Championships gold proof two pound

Remember when football came home? Well, the trophy didn’t. But to commemorate this major football tournament being played back on home soil, the Royal Mint made just under 2,100 of these coins. The date and 16 circles to signify the countries participating were on the rear of the coin.

This coin isn’t quite as rare as some of the above, but still difficult to find. You can find it on sale at some websites, but they don’t hang around for long. Prices start at £790.

Elizabeth II Two Pence Coin 1983

1983 2 pence coin

The reason why these coins are so rare and valuable is due to a technical glitch. Until 1982, all coins had “New Pence” written on the rear. After this date, the wording was changed to show the coin’s value. But in 1983, a batch of two pence coins was released with the wrong wording. The Royal Mint is unsure how many of these coins were released.

These coins have sold for over £500 at auction.

Elizabeth II Silver Two Pence Coin 2015

silver 2 pence piece

This is probably one of the rarest coins you can find and is known as a ‘mule’ or ‘error’ coin. A 10p blank found its way onto the minting press and was struck as a 2p instead. This isn’t the first time the error has occurred, with one being sold in 2014 for £1,357.

The 2015 coin sold for £485.

Elizabeth II Kew Gardens Fifty Pence Coin 2009

50 pence kew gardens

This coin was released to celebrate the 250th anniversary of London’s Kew Gardens. 210,000 coins were released and many went straight to collectors.

These coins are currently valued at around £170.

Also worth reading

With so many coins available, which of the Beatrix Potter 50p coins are worth the most?

Elizabeth II Twenty Pence Piece 2008

undated 20 pence - valuable

Between 2008 and 2009, over 136 million new 20p coins were minted, which shows how many coins are actually made. But in November 2008, a minting error meant that just under 250,000 coins were produced without a date. Because of this, it makes them quite a collectable item.

If you find one, they can sell for around £50.

Britannia Two Pound Coin 2015

Britannia £2 coin inverted

The Britannia £2 coin is fairly rare, with only 650,000 coins minted. But it’s still unlikely to be worth much more than face value. However, this coin did suffer from a small minting error where the Queen’s head was printed with an almost 180-degree rotation. It’s unclear how many of these coins carry the error, but estimates range from 3,000 to 4,000.

But how much is it worth? Well, eBay has seen this coin sell for well over £100, although other examples have gone for far less.

Single European Market Fifty Pence Coin 1992-1993

Single European Market 50p

Only 109,000 of these coins were minted, making them very rare. Released to celebrate the UK’s Presidency of the Council of Ministers and the completion of the Single European Market, the coin was withdrawn in 1997 with the introduction of the smaller 50 pence pieces.

These coins generally sell for between £45 and £55.

And the not so rare

Finding rare coins can be challenging, but working out which coins are common can be even harder. The fact is, how often do you look closely at your change? And then, one day, you see something new and think it might be worth quite a bit.

Mrs Tittlemouse Fifty Pence Coin 2018

mrs tittlemouse 50 pence

You would be forgiven for thinking this is a very valuable coin. It was released in 2018 to celebrate the Beatrix Potter books. And in 2019, it was reported that one of the coins was sold on eBay for £430. Whether the buyer paid, we will never know. We do know that there were 1.7 million of these coins minted, which means that although it’s limited, it isn’t a particularly rare coin. Yet.

Estimated value: £4

Charles Dickens Two Pound Coin 2012

charles dickens £2

This £2 coin was released to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens. There can be some very slight differences, such as in some versions, Queen Elizabeth’s head disappears halfway around, and the milled wording around the coin is upside down. But this isn’t very rare and can be caused by the mass printing process. In total, there were 8 million coins released, so it is very common.

Estimated value: £2

Benjamin Britten Fifty Pence Coin 2013

benjamin britten 50 pence

Benjamin Britten was a famous English composer and this 50p piece was made to celebrate 100 years since his birth. In total, 5.3 million of these coins were minted, meaning it’s not rare at all.

Estimated value: Change Checker believes that if you can find a collector, you may be able to get £10.

Where to sell your valuable coins

If you think you have a rare coin that might be worth selling, then are several places you can try and sell.

Online auction sites

You can take a bit of a gamble by selling on an auction site like eBay. If your coin is rare and worth quite a bit of money and a couple of people notice, you should be able to get a decent selling price. Or, people might be mistaken into thinking your coin is far rarer than it is and you might get even more.

Alternatively, bidders may not find your item and it will sell well under market value.

You can get a good idea of how much coins are worth by looking at previous sale prices on eBay. However, you will notice that almost every coin on eBay will be described as rare – whether it is or not.

Coin Fairs

Coin fairs happen across the UK and are a great place to buy and sell coins. If you have a valuable coin you could even get buyers to bid against each other.

The only issue with the fair’s option is finding one close to you.

Take a look at when the next Coin Fair is.

Coin dealers

If neither of those options takes your fancy, why not contact a numismatist (aka a coin dealer to you and me). There should be some local to you; you don’t need to visit. You can send photos of your coin and they should be able to value them via email or video call.

Ensure you get a couple of valuations to get an idea of the average price.

If you like making money from rare coins, why not look to see how much you can make from rare stamps?

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Wednesday 29th of March 2023

I have a 50p coin with Diversity built britian on one side of the coin, is it worth anything?

Money Saver Pete

Wednesday 29th of March 2023

Sorry Debbie, this 50p only sells for just over £1.


Friday 15th of April 2022

Much appreciate your advice if it's worth getting some very old UK coins valued and whether I can gain any value from coins dating back 18th century?

Money Saver Pete

Friday 15th of April 2022

Hi Susanna. It’s always worth getting them valued as it’s free to do.

Julie durham

Sunday 27th of February 2022

l found a 2p coin with new pence on the back how much is it worth


Friday 16th of September 2022

Where is the best place to go in london to get value of rare coins because i dont trust ebay

Money Saver Pete

Sunday 27th of February 2022

If it’s from 1971-1981, then it will be worth around 2 pence. If it’s from 1983, it could be worth considerably more.


Wednesday 19th of January 2022

Hi, my name is alfie and i found a 3 pence coin from 1943 is it worth anything

Money Saver Pete

Wednesday 19th of January 2022

Hi Alfie. Unfortunately, this coin often only sells for between 5 pence, up to around £9 depending on the condition.


Thursday 9th of December 2021

How can i find out the value of one penny coins mainly of George V ranging from 1914 to 1930s. I do not live in the UK and do not wish to get involved with ebay. Would appreciate your advise. Thanks Debby

Money Saver Pete

Thursday 9th of December 2021

Hi Debby. With you being outside of the UK, this could be very difficult to do. You can send them to dealers, but that isn't the easiest thing to do when you're abroad. But in my experience, the George V pennies are still fairly common and aren't often worth much.

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