How to spot rare and valuable 50p coins

50p’s came into circulation in 1969. Since then, some 50 pence pieces have sold for thousands with many also becoming keen collectables. Coins like the Battle of Hastings 50p, which can sell for over £2000 and the Peter Rabbit collection, which easily sells for £500. But how can you spot if a 50p is rare or valuable?

Date doesn’t count

The date that the coin entered circulation isn’t always the biggest factor in value. Just because it is old, does not make it more valuable (although my grandmother would strongly disagree).

Appearance does matter

Coins that show the least amount of wear are going to give you a better return. This is why many coin collectors buy from the Royal Mint, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t deals and money to be made in open circulation.

There could be a particular treasure out there as there have been cases where some coins have entered circulation that were never intended to.

Mintage

Mintage refers to the amount that were made and put into circulation. In the UK there are over one billion in current circulation. Anything under twenty million could be classed as rare. The rarest 50p coin is the Kew Gardens (2009) where only 210,000 were made.

Is it a fake?

It’s a sad truth, but there is still a fair amount of fake money in circulation. The Royal Mint and other authorities tries its best to remove fake money out of our pocket, but sadly it does exist. Including 50p coins.

So before you start jumping up and down and planning what you’ll spend your money on when you see a Peter Rabbit or Kew Gardens coin, be sure to do some simple checks.

  • Clarity – Does the image look of poor quality? Specialists describe fake images as frosted in texture.
  • Depth – Is the coin thicker than normal? Fakes like this are easily picked up but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist
  • The Edge – the edge or the ridge, which sits around the coin, can be a big giveaway. Is it too deep? Is it pronounced more than normal?
  • The Queen – potentially the most widely changed, but the easiest to spot. How?  Compare it against your other 50 pence pieces. The details should be identical.
The Queens Head on a real 50p vs a fake 50p

Different from the norm

What is ‘the norm’ first of all – or the most common 50p in circulation? Well, it’s normal to have the Queen on one side, after all, it is the Royal Mint. On the other side, the most common 50p has a segment of The Royal Shield on the back of it. As this 50p is so common, at no point will this be of value. But something different might possibly. 

Below are some common high value coins to look out for.

Olympics

In the run up to Olympic Games in 2012, the UK produced 28 different types of Olympic Game inspired 50ps: football, judo, wheelchair basketball, swimming, badminton, boxing, sailing and many more. Any Olympic Game 50p is worth more than the average 50p; maybe £50 ore more.

Olympic Games coins are distinguishable due to the Olympic Games logo at the top of the coin. Remember that weird 12 with the Olympic Rings in it? You can also keep your eyes out for the date which will most likely be 2011 or 2012.

Many of these 50p’s were made in the low millions (one or two) which makes them considered rare.

Beatrix Potter

What do Flopsy Bunny The Tailor of Gloucester, Peter Rabbit and Tom Kitten all have in common other than be adorable children book characters? You guessed it, they all got made into 50ps and can be worth a fair amount of money. The biggest fan favourite being Peter Rabbit.

Of these, the most expensive Beatrix Potter coins are from 2016, because less were put into circulation in comparison to other editions in the Peter Rabbit range.

You can buy Beatrix Potter coins directly from the Royal Mint, however, this is limited to the most recent editions. Whilst you may find some in circulation, most are found in auctions or coin collections already.

What other expensive 50p’s are there?

Be sure to look out for anything that is different. Kew Gardens, NHS, Battle of Britain, Girl Guides, these are all rare and valuable coins. Typically the most value coins were not made back in 1969, rather its the ones that were made anywhere from 1998 (with the NHS and Entry to The EEC) right up to 2017 with Peter Rabbit and Sir Isaac Newton.

Keep your eyes out

Look out for anything out of the ordinary and watch out for the main contributors like Olympics Games coins and some of the other coins mentioned above.