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Check Your UK Change

The coins in your pocket could be worth more than you think.

If you live in the United Kingdom or are just visiting, the next time you walk out of a shop with coins jingling in your pocket or purse, it could be worth checking them before you pass them on. Here's why:

2009 Undated 20-Pence Piece

Following a redesign of the 20-pence coins commencing in 2008, in June 2009, the Royal Mint put into circulation a number of undated 20-pence coins. Apparently, the error occurred when the mint decided to move the date from the reverse to the Queen's head side, and due to an error in the manufacturing process and the mismatch of the old and new designs, a significant number of 20p coins were produced with no date on either the front or reverse. See the illustration below:

Undated 20 Pence Coin

Undated 20 Pence Coin

So how much are they worth?

The Royal Mint cannot put an exact figure on the number of the coins put into circulation, but they estimate that there were between 50,0000 to 200,000 released before the error was noticed, so there is a reasonable chance that a number of these coins are still in use and being passed on by unsuspecting members of the public. When it became public knowledge in June 2009, the error coins (or Mules) started appearing on eBay, and the earliest entries attracted bids of £1000s of pounds. However, when it became known how many were out there, the price steadily dropped to around £40.00-£50.00 ($64-$80) (however, some coin dealers are still offering £100.00 for one), which is still a pretty good return on 20p investment! They are still very heavily sought after, just check out eBay. However, as more of the coins disappear into collections and are squirrelled away as investments, no doubt they will grow in value. As of April 2017, the undated 20p coins are regularly appearing on eBay and reaching £50-£60, proving that there must be some still out in circulation and there is a strong demand from collectors.

**Caution—Buyers Beware!!** If you are looking to purchase an undated 20p coin on an auction site, such as eBay, carefully check the listing before placing a bid, as there are a number of individuals who list 20p coins as "undated" but on closer inspection have included the text "on tail side only", which is just a regular 20-pence coin! Yet some of these auctions attract a number of bids from unwary buyers who could end up paying quite a lot of money for a regular 20-pence piece, many of which, they undoubtedly already own. They may recover their money from the auction company, but I would imagine this would be a protracted and frustrating process.

1993 5 Pence (5p) Issue

In 1993, the Royal Mint took the unusual step of not issuing any 1993 dated five-pence coins into circulation, believing that there were sufficient coins in circulation and an additional general circulation issue was not required. There were, however, proof and the annual collector's sets issued for this year, and estimates are that there were around 100,000 coins produced for this purpose. Due to this fact, any 1993 5p is considered very collectible and valued around £7-£10, which is a considerable increase on its face value. Although it’s unlikely that there are too many of these coins in circulation, I wouldn’t consider it impossible, although to lengthen the odds even further, the Royal Mint has, since January 2013, initiated process of phasing out the pre-2011 cupronickel coins, in favour of the newer nickel-plated steel.

2005 Guy Fawkes £2.00 Error Coin

The two-pound coin is regularly reissued with different designs and inscriptions on the edging. In 2005, the Royal Mint issued a £2.00 coin commemorating the 400th anniversary of the gunpowder plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament. However, on a number of coins put into circulation, the edge inscription read "Pemember, Pemember the Fifth of November" (instead of "Remember, Remember the Fifth of November". Recently, these coins have sold for around £16.00 on eBay, although in 2014, prices dropped considerably to around the £5 mark, sometimes slightly lower.

2005 Two Pound Guy Fawkes Error inscription

2005 Two Pound Guy Fawkes Error inscription

2011 Mary Rose and King James Bible and other collectible Two Pound Coins **Updated April 2017**

Also, in 2011, the Royal Mint released into circulation limited numbers of Mary Rose 500th Anniversary (1,040,000) and 400th Anniversary of the King James Bible Two-Pound coins (975,000). These are collectible, with buyers willing to pay £6-£7 for the Mary Rose and around the same for the King James Bible coin.

In 2012, a £2 coin was issued to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens. It features on reverse a detailed face profile made up of the names of the author's books. In early 2013, these were fetching up to £8, however the Royal Mint issued details of mintage of 8,190,000, which is lower mid-range for an issue and the value has reduced to around £2.50-£3.00. There have been a number of reports of a minting error in the spelling of the edge inscription reading "We" instead of "Will", however, similar to the Gunpowder Plot coin, this does not appear to be anymore adding to the overall value of the coin.

Other rarer sterling two-pound coins worth looking out for are the 1996 Tenth European Championship from 1996 and 2002 Commonwealth Games coins, although as both are of the older £2 coin design, they are unlikely now to be in circulation (although they could be sitting in coin jars!).

Of the more modern design, the two versions of the 2013 London Underground (one featuring an underground train/tube and one featuring the London Underground logo) both had relatively low mintage figures - 1,690,000 for the Tube Train Design and 1,560,000 for the LU Roundel Design. There will be a much lower amount still in circulation, so will be hard to come by, as of April 2017, generally worth £4 for the Train and £5 for the Roundel Design.

The Rio 2012 Handover £2 had a fairly low mintage of 845,000, issued to commemorate the closing of the Olympics.There was some confusion as to the mintage numbers of this coin, with the Royal Mint for some time stating is was 65,000. However as of April 2014, it has confirmed that 845,000 copies of this coin were minted. Despite the low mintage and it being the 8th rarest in circulation, the coins, as of April 2017 are valued at around £5-£6

The 2015 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta coins had a relatively low mintage of 1,495,000 and are in demand from collectors, regularly selling over £4-£5. T

2014/2015 Sought After Two Pound Coins L-R 2013 Guinea Anniversary, 2014 WW1 Outbreak Anniversary & 2014 Trinity House

2014/2015 Sought After Two Pound Coins L-R 2013 Guinea Anniversary, 2014 WW1 Outbreak Anniversary & 2014 Trinity House

2015 WW1 The Royal Navy £2 Two Pound Coin

I read with interest the November 2, 2015 press release from the Royal Mint and subsequent press reports indicating that the Royal Navy World War One Centenary Two-Pound coin was the rarest coin in circulation after the Royal Mint had passed 100 of the coins to HMS Belfast, located on the River Thames in London, to be handed out in change to lucky visitors. Whilst the 100 coins that the Royal Mint have passed to the Imperial War Museum are technically the official “rarest” coins in circulation, and the press release/reports have no doubt fuelled a price inflation in this coin, which, as of mid February 2015, was selling in the £25-£35 price range (and there were even some being offered for £1000!), what has only been mentioned in a few articles is that the same coin is available to buy direct from Royal Mint in a commemoration pack for £10 (+ £3 p&p)!

Interestingly though, the version of the coin that is being struck up until (I believe!) March 2015 will feature the observe design of the current Queen’s portrait by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS. However, when the coin is released into general circulation later in the year, the obverse will feature the new “Fifth” Portrait (the design is due to be announced in March 2015), so it will make the current batch of Royal Navy 2015 WW1 Centenary coins unique. This means the current batch may prove a worthwhile investment whilst they are currently available, which may not be for much longer.

In October 2016, the Royal Mint issued their official mintage figures for 2015 and confirmed that only 650,000 of the coins were minted, making it the joint fourth rarest of all circulating coins. There are two versions of this coin, the first features the 4th Portrait of HM The Queen by Ian Rank-Broadley, which is the version issued to HM Belfast, as mentioned above and in the BU Presentation packs. The second version, which was issued into general circulation features the 5th portrait of HM The Queen by Jody Clark. It is assumed at the moment that the mintage figure of 650k includes both versions, however the Royal Mint have yet to clarify.

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In December 2016, it came to light that there was a small production error on some of the coins produced and put into circulation, the Royal Mint confirmed that there was an error on the "die" which produced, at least what a appears to be a Naval "Pennant" flying from the mast. It is quite a curious error as the definition of a "Pennant" is a elongated flag flown from the mast of commissioned warships! There appear to be two distinct versions of this error, the first appears to take the form of a fully fluttering pennant, as illustrated below, whilst others have a less distinctive and more minor "Line" along the top right of the horizontal "Royal Yard" See the photo below for examples.

As of April 2017, circulated versions of the coin are regularly selling for around £6-£7, whilst the version with the Flag/Pennant Error are around £10-£15 for circulated and "Line" errors, whilst the Full Flag errors can sell for anything between £15-£22.

The Royal Navy 2015 £2 Coin

The Royal Navy 2015 £2 Coin

The standard production coin is on the right and the "error" Pennant mast flag is on the left

The standard production coin is on the right and the "error" Pennant mast flag is on the left

2015, 2016 & 2017 £2 Two Pound Definitive Britannia

July 2015 saw the first release of the "Definitive Britannia" Two Pound coin, featuring the new 5th portrait of Her Majesty, the Queen by Jody Clark and a stunning obverse portrait of Britannia. This coin replaced the "History of Technological Achievement" £2 coin, as the standard "definitive", which had been issued since 1997. The iconic "Britannia" has been a feature on British coins dating back to the Roman occupation by Hadrian over 2000 years ago! The coin features a stunning reverse portrait by Anthony the somewhat empirical edge inscription "QUATUOR MARIO VINDICO", which translates as "I will claim the four seas". In October 2016, the Royal Mint confirmed the coin had a mintage of only 650,000, which along with the £2 "100th Anniversary of the First World War - Royal Navy" (See Above), made it the joint fourth rarest of all coins in current circulation. Values in early November 2016 are surprisingly low at £5-£6, but this will likely rise as the information as to the coins "rarity" starts to spread! Watch this space!

In early 2016, collectors reported a number of error coins appearing in which the reverse and observe where misaligned, believed due to a die (part of the image stamping mechanism), working loose during the production process. The Royal Mint confirmed the error and it is estimated that 3-3500 error coins made it into circulation and collectors have previously been paying up to £300 for these coins.

2016 saw a mintage of just 2,925,000 of the Definitive Britannia, making it the smallest circulated coin issue for that year (which was an exceptional year for the volume of coin releases), however this still placed it outside the "top 20" overall. However, collectors are still willing to pay £4-£5 for a good circulated copy.

2017 had no versions of the coin issued into circulation, according to the Royal Mint's latest circulation figures, however a small number were produced for the annual set's issued by the mint, however you would be looking at a value of £40-£45 for either the 2017 set or just the individual coin!


50-Pence Piece: Many Designs, But Some Are Rarer Than Others

The heptagon-shaped fifty-pence piece has been issued with more commemorative designs than any other UK coin, and as designs are issued in variously sized batches, this can make the rarer designs much more collectible (and valuable) than others.

Prior to its reduction in size in 1997, a 1992/1993 issue to commemorate the completion of the EC single market and British presidency of the council of ministers had an issue of just 109,000 coins (compared to the usual 5-12 million!) and is therefore quite collectible. One of these commemorative coins reached around £30 on eBay as of December 2014. The coin is fairly distinctive, with a conference table with a 12-star design and the dates 1992 and 1993 written at the top. As it's of the larger variety, this 50-pence piece wouldn't be in circulation, but it might be worth checking your penny jar to see if you have one!

**Update April 2017** Of the current smaller 50p coins in circulation, the 2009-issued 250th anniversary of Royal Botanical (Kew) gardens design is the most sought after, as it had a small issue of only 210,000. During 2009-2013, many were available on eBay, and they were generally selling for up to £10 each. However during February 2014, there was a massive upsurge in interest in this coin due to the Royal Mint issuing a press release on 20th February 2014 citing this coin to be the rarest of all 50p issues. This information was then picked up by the UK press, and as a result, values soared up to the £50-£60 region, and on some occasions, even higher! Some dealers on eBay were even listing fixed price sales of £200 for this coin! There is still a good chance that the odd one may turn up in your change (I got handed one in change in February 2013 and then another in July 2013, so they are still definitely out there in circulation!). After the excitement of Royal Mint's press release died down, in early January 2015, prices for the Royal Botanical (Kew) Gardens 50p dropped down to the £30-£35 level, depending on condition. However, due to the phenomenal interest now in collecting circulating coins along with regular articles in the UK Press, prices are now regularly reaching £80-£90. *Caution*" - Due to the soaring values, there has, in late 2016 and early 2017, appeared a very large number of Fake and Copy versions, with the forgers keen to cash in on the high values, many of which appear to be originating from China, eBay is now awash with them and although many are being marketed as "Collector's Copies" and often feature the word "Copy" next to the "IRB" Initial on the obverse, even these are selling for £10-£15, however I think it will be very difficult to tell which are genuine and which are fake, as many of the sales descriptions attest, some sellers are reselling them on advising that they bought them in good faith, or marketing them as copies and "gap fillers", less scrupulous sellers are selling them as originals. As always, it is a vase of "Buyer Beware" and if you are looking to obtain a 50p Kew for your collection, if the price it too good to be true, then it most likely is! it may also be wise to purchase from a reputable seller with a good track history.


2012 London Olympic Commemorative 50-Pence Coins

The 2012 London Olympics commemorative coins are already proving popular with collectors and dealers alike. A total of 29 different designs have been issued, some in smaller numbers than others. The full sets are now commanding auction prices of around £50.00 (After the original issue in 2011, the sets were selling for £45-£50, these did drop to around £35 in 2014 but have since bounced back) . Individually, the coins probably most desirable, based on issue numbers, are likely to be the:

  • Football (issue of 1,125,500) - Selling for £5-£6
  • Wrestling (1,129,500) -Selling for £2.50 -£3.00
  • Tennis (1,454,000) - Selling for £3-£3.50
  • Wheelchair Rugby (1,765,500) - Selling for £2-£2.50

All other coins in the series were issued in numbers between 800K and 1.1 million. Some of these coins are in general circulation and currently going for £3-4 on eBay.

The Royal Mint confirmed in August 2012 that the amount of Olympic 50p coins "disappearing" out of circulation was their highest ever recorded since decimalization. Whilst they would normally expect 2-3% to be removed by collectors, an audit suggested that a huge 70% of the coins have been hoarded by collectors as a London Olympic's Souvenir.

The Royal Mint produced a Completer's Medal, that was available to purchase from the Royal Mint and Post Office's for £2.99, however these are quite difficult to find and are regularly selling for £23-£25.00, with the sealed version's in original hanging bags, selling for around £60!

All the designs for the 2011 Olympic Sports series were designed by the British public, but one of the first to be chosen was from a competition run by the British Children's Television Programme - Blue Peter. 9 Year Old Florence Jackson was chosen as the winner for her "Athletics" design and in 2009, a special presentation pack was created with the newly designed coin and dated 2009 (all other Olympic coins are dated 2011) and the pack was sold by the Royal Mint and Post Office's. It is estimated that around 100,000 of the packs were produced, which means it's one of the rarest 50p coins's produced. Today the packs are regularly sold for around £85-£90

There is a very rare Olympics 2012 Aquatics 50p coin that was issued initially, which featured the water passing directly over the swimmer's face. A small release of 600 coins were put into circulation. However, the design was withdrawn, and an altered design was issued with the swimmer in a cap and goggles and the face being clearly visible. So if you have collected the Olympic 50p coins, it's well worth checking your aquatics design 50p, some of the original version have appeared in circulation and versions of the original coin have been up for sale for anything between £900 & £3000! However, similar to the 2009 Kew Garden 50p, as of July 2017, there are increasing numbers of "forged copies" appearing and being offered for sale for anything between £10-£60! These appear to be excellent quality copies, so as always, in nearly all circumstances, if such a coin is being offered for sale, caution should be exercised, as unless the seller can provide a full and frank history, it is most likely a counterfeit.

Good luck in finding any of the rarer ones!

The rare, original design is shown on the left and the generally released design is on the right.

The rare, original design is shown on the left and the generally released design is on the right.

2002 Commonwealth Games Two-Pound Coins

These 2002 coins were issued to celebrate the XVII Commonwealth Games held in Manchester that year and are officially the rarest £2 Coins in circulation. The coins were issued in four designs, all very similar but with the small flag changed on each of designs to represent each country in Britain, and each had slightly different mintage figures:

  • Scotland (771,750)
  • England (650,500)
  • Wales (588,500)
  • Northern Ireland (485,500)

Northern Ireland is most sought out, for obvious reasons (around £28.00 as of April 2017, up from £15.00, as of June 2014), although the others are collectible with Wales around £12-£13, Scotland around £8-£10, and England around £10-£12. These coins are still about, as I was passed an England one very recently. The price estimates are based on circulated condition; uncirculated versions would hold a higher value. Circulated sets of all four coins are selling for around £40-£45 for circulated sets and up to £55 for good quality sets with little marking

2002 Commonwealth Games £2 coin with English flag

2002 Commonwealth Games £2 coin with English flag

British Crown Dependency Coins

A number of British Crown Dependencies such as the Isle of Man, Jersey, and Guernsey and British Overseas Territories such as Gibraltar or the Falkland Islands, along with many others, issue their own currency, which is fully exchangeable with the British sterling coinage. In most cases, the size and denomination of the coinage is also identical to that of the UK sterling coins.

The coins are usually produced by local or contracted mints rather than the Royal Mint, under licence, and it is not unusual for these coins to come into circulation in the UK. Some of these coins are quite collectible, often for their unique or unusual designs. For example, the Isle of Man coins (which are produced by Pobjoy Mint, who took over production from the UK Royal Mint in 1972) feature a huge range of designs, particularly in the 50 pence range, of which the T.T and Christmas designs from the early 1990s are popular with collectors. Circulated coins with these designs frequently sell for around £12-£15 on auction sites such as eBay. Gibraltar have also produced a number of Christmas-themed 50-pence, and these are also quite collectible, although some designs such as the "carolers" are more collectible than others.

The "Legend" of the 1983 Two-Pence (New Pence) Coin

The British two-pence coin was introduced during decimalisation in 1971. Between 1971 and 1981, all two-pence minted between 1971 and 1981 had "New Pence" on the reverse. In 1982, the Royal Mint decided to replace the wording "New Pence" with "Two Pence". In 1983, the Mint produced approximately 640,000 two-pence coins, which only went into special collector's sets and not into general circulation. However due to an error, a small number included the old-style "New Pence" on the reverse, instead of the new "Two Pence". Obviously, these are highly sought after and could reach anything between £250 to £650 depending on condition. However, the Collectors packs occasionally feature for sale, including a special promotional collector's pack from the drinks Company Martini, which include the "error" coin and these sell for around £600-£700, despite only having a face value of £1.85 & a Half Pence! However as with all exceptionally valuable rare coins, I would recommend caution if looking to add one of these sets to your collection, as have seen, as recently as May 2017, original sets offered for sale, but with obvious fake "New Pence" 2p included.

Royal Mint's First £20 Coin Issued in October 2013

Whilst it is unlikely (although not impossible!) that you'll be passed one of these back as change, On 31st October 2013, the Royal Mint minted a limited edition 20-pound coin for the first time. It was only available direct from the Royal Mint's website (unfortunately only available to UK residents with a maximum order of three per household), and there were just 250,000 produced. The coin was struck in .999 fine silver and featured Benedetto Pistrucci's George and the Dragon illustration on the reverse and Ian Rank-Broadley's Queen's head design on the obverse. The coin has proved to be popular with collectors and as of April 2014, the Royal Mint sold out all remaining coins.

The coins then started to appear on auction sites above their face value (£20-£25) with "for sale" values up to £35!

So it looks like these are now very collectible. Although they are legal tender, they are unlikely to appear in loose change, as most shops, I would imagine, we be unlikely to accept them. The Royal Mint also announced a second £20 coin issue in July 2014 with a design based around the anniversary of the First World War, which I would think is also very collectible.

New £20 sterling coin being issued October 2013

New £20 sterling coin being issued October 2013

Royal Mint Issuing "Lucky" Silver Pennies

This story caught my eye recently: The Royal Mint offered all babies born on the same date as Prince George (22nd July 2013) a limited-edition silver sterling penny! The coin is struck in .925 sterling silver. The first coin was presented to Prince George by the Mint and remaining coins were offered to parents of all babies born on the same day. The application for the coin had to be made via the Royal Mint's Facebook page (so 21st Century!) and closed on 20/09/13. The Royal Mint claims it only produced 2013 (although I'm not sure if this refers to the free give away or the overall mintage) of these coins and has confirmed that it had received 1,768 valid applications. The good news however, is that, as of 27/09/13, the Royal Mint is still advertising the coins as available to buy. However, based on the number minted and those claimed, I'd imagine there are very few left. They are on sale for £28.00 each (with either a pink or blue pouch), and I believe they accept international orders. I'd imagine these will become very sought after once they sell out. As of March 2014, the coins were available on eBay for around £27-£30.

When the Coins in Your Pocket Aren't Worth as much as you think!

A few questions raised by readers of this article have made me think it might be worth raising the issue of counterfeit coins. The most forged of all UK coins was the "Round" £1 coin, although now no longer in circulation, with the Royal Mint in November 2013 advising that they estimate that 3.04% of all one-pound coins in circulation are forgeries, which is an increase on their previous estimate of 2.74%. So, with an estimated 1.5 billion £1 coins in current circulation, it’s possible that as many as 45 million are fake! Which is a huge amount! The Royal Mint suggests that fakes can usually be spotted with close scrutiny. The most obvious sign is poor quality with the detailing not being sharp or well defined on either the reverse, observe, or edge milling, or that the characters are unevenly spaced. Also, as the designs are changed each year, the date may not correspond with the design that year, the weight may feel different, or the sound may differ from a genuine coin when dropped. Other signs to look out for are that the colour does not match that of other one-pound coins or that the coin appears shinier or newer than would correspond to its year of issue, as genuine £1 coins should lose their lustre in general circulation.

It’s worth mentioning that it’s illegal to pass on fake coinage and that the Royal Mint advises that any coins that are deemed forgeries should be handed in to the local Police Station (although, even with 45 million potential fakes in circulation, I doubt many are handed in!).

To combat this huge amount of counterfeiting, the Royal Mint has announced in March 2014 that it will issue a new £1 coin design, which will be released into circulation in 2017. The new 12-sided coin, similar in styling to the old pre-decimal three pence, is to be the world's first to have three-level security (overt, covert, and forensic), which the Royal Mint hopes will make it very difficult to counterfeit, or at least very easy to detect fakes. There have been some reports that since the introduction of the new £1 coin in March 2017, that there are what appear to be counterfeits surfacing, however the Royal Mint have been quick to deny such accusations, however there has been conclusive evidence of a number of production error coins, which i possibly where the confusion has arisen?

View of new £1 coin released 28th March 2017

View of new £1 coin released 28th March 2017

Spot the Fake? Hard to tell, but the coin on the left is almost certainly counterfeit

Spot the Fake? Hard to tell, but the coin on the left is almost certainly counterfeit

The Great British Coin Hunt

In the last couple of years, the Royal Mint has issued a series of four “Collectors” folders under the “Great British Coin Hunt” banner. These folders broadly follow the same format, in which there is space for all the available coin designs at the time of issue, along with one space for a “completer’s medallion”, which can be purchased directly from the Royal Mint online, or from usual online site’s and generally retails at UK£5.00 for the folder and £2.99 for the medallion.

The collector's folders issued so far are:

  • The “UK 50p Sports Edition Coin Collector's Album”, designed for collecting the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This folder can accommodate the 29 London 2012 50p coin designs, plus one space for the “Completer” medallion.
  • The “UK 50p Coin Collector's Album”, which accommodates 16x 50p coin designs (plus 1x completer’s medallion).
  • The “UK £1 Coin Collector's Album”, which accommodates 21x £1 Coin designs (plus 1x completer’s medallion)
  • The “UK £2 Coin Collector’s Album”, which accommodates 31x £2 Coin design’s (plus 1x completer’s medallion).

The interesting thing is that the completed sets are unsurprisingly very collectible and generally offer a value way over the face value of the coins that are in the folder. Generally, the rough value of each, (including the folder and completer’s medal) would be:

  • UK 50p Sports Edition Coin Collector Album—£35-£50 (Coin’s Face Value + Folder & Completer’s medal = £22.49)
  • UK 50p Coin Collector Album—£50 (Coin’s Face Value + Folder & Completer’s medal = £15.99!)
  • UK £1 Coin Collectors Album—£55 (Coin’s Face Value + Folder & Completer’s medal = £28.99)
  • UK £2 Coin Collector’s Album—£130 (Coin’s Face Value + Folder & Completer’s medal = £71.99)

The value of the 50p set is quite remarkable, but then half of its value is probably made up of the Kew Garden, which around July 2014 was worth about £20-£25! Nonetheless, the coin collector’s folders are a great product and a fantastic place to store those elusive coins! As of July 2014, all the collector's folders and completer's medallions are still available to buy directly from the Royal Mint.

The Great British Coin Hunt 2018

On 1st March 2018, the Royal Mint announced a new series of Ten Pence Pieces were being issued, initially via the UK Post Office network, consisting of 26 coin series featuring an A-Z of everything that is "quintessentially" British! The details of each coin are as follows;

A - Angel of the North
B - Bond James Bond
C - Cricket
D - Double Decker Bus
E - English Breakfast
F - Fish and Chips
G - Greenwich Mean Time
H - Houses of Parliament
I - Ice Cream
J - Jubilee
K - King Arthur
L - Loch Ness
M - Mackintosh
N - National Health Service
O - Oak
P - Post Office
Q - Queue
R - Robin
S - Stonehenge
T - Tea
U - Union Jack
V - Villages
W - World Wide Web
X - Marks the Spot (Pirates!)
Y - Yeoman Warder
Z - Zebra Crossing

Similar to the Beatrix Potter and Olympic Series, these have proved to be much sought after by collectors. After an initial 100,000 mintage of each design, the Royal Mint advised more would be produced, to meet demands. A further 2.6 million were announced to be issued in October 2018. Ultimately, 220,000 of each were minted, however they remained elusive, with many collectors never actually finding any in change and only able to pick them up by purchasing them at a premium in the secondary market. Values have fluctuated, dependant on availability, however as a rough guide, as of early 2022, values range from around £2.00 - £13.50, the most sought after, in early 2022, being the A-Angel of the North.

In February 2019, the Royal Mint announced that 2.1 million 2019 dated versions of the 26 coins would enter circulation. Subsequently, most of the 10p's saw a mintage of 84,000 , with the exception of R-Robin which had 64,000 and W-World Wide Web, Y-Yeoman, Z- Zebra Crossing, which each had just 63,000. Similar to 2018, despite not having the lowest mintage, the A-Angel of the North is (as of early 2022), the most popular with coins averaging between £2.50-£16.00

Interestingly, the Australian Post have in September 2019 launched their own series of A-Z $1 coins. In their own take, they've launched the "Great Aussie Coin Hunt" featuring an A-Z of Australian Icons!


2013/2014 Floral One Pound Designs

Towards the end of 2014, there has been a lot of interest from collectors in the 2013/2014 Floral Emblem One Pound Coin’s. The “England” and “Wales” versions were issued in 2013 with relatively low mintage levels of 5,270,000 each. The “Northern Ireland” and “Scottish” versions were issued in 2014 and although the Royal Mint haven’t yet released mintage figures, I would suspect the levels to be equal or slightly lower than the 2013 issues. There appeared to be few of the 2014 versions yet in circulation and collectors towards the end of 2014 and moving into 2015 were keen to add to their collections and were happy to pay a premium for these, as of December 2014, the “England” & “Welsh” designs were selling for £2-£3 and for the 2014 designs, the “Northern Ireland” design was fetching £3-£4, but it’s was “Scottish” design that appeared to be most in demand, with buyers willing to pay up to £10 (incl P&P). The "Round" Pound ceased to be legal tender on 18th October 2017, as such demand has dropped for these coins, however there is still some interest and demand as of April 2018, however a full set of 4x circulated condition is worth around £8-£9.

2013/2014 £1 Floral Emblem Designs L-R England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland

2013/2014 £1 Floral Emblem Designs L-R England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland

Collectible One-Pound Coins

When the "Round" Pound was due to disappear from circulation in on October 2017, collectors were keen to complete their collection and this was the peak period for values of the coin, however demand has no lessened, since they are no longer in circulation. The collecting potential of the mono nickel-brass one-pound coin has invariably overlooked in favour of its slightly more glamorous neighbour, the £2 coin. It may surprise some to learn that the one-pound coin, in its current format since 1983, has had 24 separate designs. However, on the whole, pound coins have generally had a large annual mintage figure of tens of millions and for some years even hundreds of millions. As of March 2014, over 1.5 billion were in circulation, making them perhaps less desirable to collectors. However, with the introduction in 2013 by the Royal Mint of its “Great British Coin Hunt” collector’s folders, it appears this perception changed.

There are a few one-pound coins that are rarer than others, with relatively low mintage figures. These are definitely worth looking out for. These are the:

  • 2011 one-pound “Edinburgh” design from the Capital Cities Series. This coin had a mintage of only 935,000, which is the lowest of all of the current one-pound coin designs in circulation, and collectors were willing to pay around £12-£14 for these coins, occasionally more during the early part of 2017, however as of 2018, this value appears to have halved to around £5-£6 at best.
  • In the same Capital Series is the 2011 “Cardiff” one-pound design, with a relatively low mintage figure of 1,615,000, making it the second rarest circulated one-pound design. Again, collectors were willing to pay around £7-£8 for the coin in 2017, but similar to the "Edinburgh", the price has dropped to around £3-£4.

The "Badge of London" (2,635,000) Pound was generally around £5 (as of 2018, maybe £2) and the Belfast (6,205,000) was worth around £2 (but now maybe £1) . Sets of all four were selling for £22-£25, as of April 2017, but as of 2018, now around £15-£18 for a good set, which is still not too bad!

The 2011 Edinburgh & Cardiff One Pound Coins

The 2011 Edinburgh & Cardiff One Pound Coins

2015’s £100 Pound Coin!

In late December 2014, the Royal Mint announced the release of their first ever one-hundred-pound coin! Featuring two ounces of .999 fine silver, the Royal Mint are issuing a limited release of 50,000. The coin will be one of the last to feature Ian Rank-Broadley’s Queen’s Head portrait, and on the reverse, the coin features London’s iconic “Big Ben”. The coin is a brilliant silver and 40mm in diameter, which makes it just slightly larger than one of the commemorative silver crowns. Although full legal tender, the issue is designed for collectors rather than general circulation (unfortunately!), so the chances of finding one in your change are pretty much zero. Nonetheless, it is a stunning coin in every sense. However, there has been a fairly significant drop-off in the collector's value's of non-standard and non-circulating coinage issued by the Royal Mint, possibly not helped by the Royal Mint's edict to Banks and Building Socities not to accept such coins, as they are intended as collectors items, rather than as currency, and therefore perhaps these are not considered the investment, they once were. While these coins increased up to £150 soon after release, but as of 201, were regularly offered for sale for £110-£115 but there doesn't appear to be a huge interest. The Royal Mint have since released further two editions of the coin, each representing a London Landmark; 2015's Buckingham Palace and 2016's Trafalgar Square. As of April 2018, the average value for each of the coins is £60-£70, well below face value.

2015 One Hundred Pound Coin

2015 One Hundred Pound Coin

2016 proved to be an extraordinary year for UK coinage, with a number of new designs featured on Two Pound and Fifty Pence coins, including new £2 coin series released, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. the coins issued were - Shakespeare Histories/Crown & Dagger (4,615,000), Shakespeare Tragedies/Skull & Rose (5,695,000) & Comedies/Jesters Cap (4,355,00). Interestingly, there was a minting error that appeared on a small number of Tragedies (Skull & Rose) £2, in that some had the incorrect edge inscription, with the WW1 Army "FOR KING AND COUNTRY" appearing on some, instead of "WHAT A PIECE OF WORK IS A MAN", whilst the regular coins would worth between £3-£4, the error coin would be worth around £30-£35.

The set that so far appears to be creating the most interest is the five separate Fifty Pence design’s, that are being released to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter. Four of the coins feature reverse illustrations by Royal Mint designer Emma Noble of Beatrix Potter’s much loved characters – Peter Rabbit (9,600,000) Mrs Tiggy-Winkle (8,800,000), Beatrix Potter Anniversary (6,900,000) Squirrel Nutkins (5,000,000) & Jemima Puddleduck (2,100,000).

A small number of Peter Rabbit coins were initially released at Easter 2016 in England’s Lake District, at locations which had links to the author. The other designs should go into circulation in April to June 2016 and the Royal Mint are also producing a collectors album, so they will certainly will be in demand from collectors wishing to complete the set. As of April 2016, collectors were paying up to £14 to obtain the coin. Whilst not circulated coins, the Royal Mint also produced limited edition Silver Proof versions of these coins with the characters coloured-in. Limited to 15,000 of each design and retailing direct from Royal Mint at £55, the coins sold-out almost immediately and the initial Peter Rabbit design was selling on eBay for over £500 in early April 2006, slipped back to around £300, but are back up to £450 for the Peter Rabbit and slightly less for the other designs.

At the beginning of April 2017, The Royal Mint surprised nearly everybody, by announcing a further four additional coin designs in the Beatrix Potter Series. Once again, beautifully illustrated by Emma Noble, the first is another Peter Rabbit, this time a full figure illustration, along with Mr Jeremy Fisher, Tom Kitten and Benjamin Bunny. Similar to the first wave, these will be released into circulation at approximately two monthly intervals during 2017. As was the case with the first coins in the series, the Royal Mint produced limited edition Coloured Silver Proof version of the new Peter Rabbit, this time with an issue of 30,000, So popular was this offer, that there was a four hour queue to get onto the Royal Mint website and the announcement they were sold out later the same day. The proof coins immediately started to appear on eBay, selling up to £120, however they have dropped back to around £90, as of mid April 2017.

In May 2017, Royal Mint confirmed mintage figures for the Beatrix Potter series, which didn't offer too many surprises, but is as follows; Peter Rabbit , Mrs Tiggywinkle, Beatrix Potter Anniversary (6,900,000), Squirrel Nutkin (5,000,000) and finally and putting it in as the second lowest generally circulated 50p (excluding the 2011 Olympics!) - Jemima Puddleduck (2,100,000).

A couple of days after the start of 2018, the Royal Mint took the unusual step of releasing the mintage figures for the 2017 50p's, which revealed that the second wave had a much higher mintage that the first set with the 2017 Adventures of Peter Rabbit 50p has a surprisingly high 19,300,000, Tom Kitten (9,3000,000), Benjamin Button (11,300,000) and Mr Jeremy Fisher (9,700,000) which is more the unusual, in that as of January 2018, the final coin has yet to be issued into circulation.

In February 2018, the Royal Mint announced a further four coins being released in the series, taking the total in the set to 13. The releases for the year are Peter Rabbit (eating carrots), Floppsy Bunny, The Tailor of Gloucester and Mrs Tittlemouse.

Early 2019 saw the announcement that fourth design of Peter Rabbit would appear, taking the total number of coins in the series to 14! As in previous years, the forthcoming releases were announced together, it would seem likely this will be the last in the series.

2016 - 2017 Beatrix Potter 150th Anniversary 50 Pence Designs


2017 Royal Mint Coin Releases

Whilst 2017 hasn’t quite lived up to 2016’s bumper release schedule for new coins, 2017 has seen both significant and beautifully designed coins coming from the Royal Mint. All announced at the beginning of 2017, as well as the four new 50p Beatrix Potter designs, described above, there is one new 50p design featuring Sir Isaac Newton and two new £2 coin, one featuring Jane Austen and the other, a further addition to the WW1 centenary series, this time featuring WW1 Aviation. Somewhat oddly though, despite the Royal Mint releasing 8 new coin designs for 2017 and all them being available as BU Presentation and special editions, so far, as of the end of September 2017, only the new One Pound and 50p Sir Isaac Newton appear to be in general circulation.

Much of the values of all the coins are at a premium to face value, as present, as with the exception of the two mentioned, all of the coins mentioned have been available within Annual Sets, Presentation Packs or Pre-release uncirculated from Royal Mint or it’s resale distributors, see at the bottom, for more info.

The first monumental coin was inevitably the new 12-sided Pound coin, the first major design change in 34 years, driven predominately by reasons of security, to counteract the huge amount of forgeries of it’s predecessor, that has been in circulation since April 1983. An estimated 1.5Billion of the new coins have been minted, so other than the non-circulated proof, Piedfort and premium presentation packs, there has been little interest from collectors, however a number of mint error’s have appeared, particularly with misalignment with the core and outer ring, or even the inner core removed, and some of these have been of interest, however it is difficult to discern whether these have been deliberately manipulated, the latter option appears to be the view taken by Royal Mint. A pre-release trial One Pound Coins featuring a 2015 date and portcullis reverse were produced by the Royal Mint intended for the likes vending manufacturers/operators and other interested parties, to allow equipment to be updated for new machines to be changed. These are very much sought after and you never know, a few could have made it into circulation, and these are worth £90-£100!

The 50p Sir Isaac Newton was initially publicised to be released in September and caused some surprise when it started appearing, particularly in the West of England in June 2017. There had been some speculation that this could be a low mintage, but late early September 2017 has seen a large amount of these coins being issued into circulation, Personally think this is a stunning design, although with it’s intricate and delicate features, not sure if it will stand up to the rigours of circulation, would recommend a BU or presentation version to appreciate the coins quality. Brilliant Uncirculated versions are generally £8-£10, with circulated versions around £2.50. The Royal Mint have confirmed, in an unprecedented early release of information in January 2018, that the coin has a mintage of 1,801,500. This does make it the lowest minted 50p since 2011 and ranks it the 2nd rarest non-sport related 50p, narrowly beating 2016's Jemima Puddleduck, however, including the 2011 Olympic 50p's, it would rank it 20th rarest! In a surprise update to the mintage figures, it transpired that the Sir Isaac Newton was not the rarest 50p released in 2017, with the accolade awarded to the "definitive" 2017 Royal Shield, with just 1,800,000 being released, making it the second rarest in circulation, after the much vaunted "Kew Gardens".

The £2 Jane Austen coin was announced with much fanfare and a very limited release was issued in July 2017 to areas that had a link with Jane Austen , such as Winchester and Basingstoke, and is also interestingly perhaps the only coin to also feature on a circulating bank note at the same time, as Jane Austen appears on the new polymer £10 note. It was mentioned at the time that the £2 Jane Austen would be introduced into wider circulation at the same time as the new £10 note, released on 14th September 2017, however this didn't happen and towards the end of 2018, it appeared that this coin, along with the WW1 Aviation £2, would not in fact enter circulation, which is unusual. Can only assume that the decision was based on demand from the cash centres, which perhaps were holding a £2 surplus and therefore did not require the issue of the £2 coins. Whilst there are no mintage figures released yet for the year, it now seems certain it's mintage will be low, the the coin is currently selling for £12-£15 uncirculated,

The £2 WW1 Aviation coin features another stunning design from Dan Flashman from Tangerine Design (who was also jointly responsible for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games 50p design). The coin has been available in Annual Sets and Presentation Packs for some time and no official general release date as yet, however with the current backlog, wouldn’t be surprised to see an early November release. As before, still only available (as of September 2017) as a BU Pre-Release or in a presentation pack and available for around £12-£15.As mentioned already,this coin will not appear in circulation.

2018 Royal Air Force formation Centenary

At the start of 2018, The Royal Mint announced that they would be releasing a new £2 coin to mark the Centenary of the Royal Air Force, the new coin would feature the badge of the R.A.F. on the reverse. They further trumped this in early March 2018, by announcing a series of new £2 coins, to be released throughout 2018 and five in total, to mark the occasion. As well as the first announced coin, the additional four coins are to feature iconic aircraft of the R.A.F. and include ; The Spitfire, one of the most iconic aircraft of WW2, coin released in April 2018, The Avro Vulcan , the UK's long range bomber from the Cold War Period, coin to be released May 2018. The Sea King Search and Rescue Helicopter, coin to be released in August 2018, and finally the last coin to be released in September 2018 will feature the latest addition to the R.A.F's air power - the Lockheed Martin F-35 , to be known as the Lightning II. A great series of coins (although a couple of design choices may raise some eyebrows!). Due to demand and the withdrawal of the old style Pound Coin and transition to the new 12-sided coin (with just over a Billion released into circulation between 2017-2018!) , the Royal Mint took the decision to halt the release of new £2 coins into circulation and due to this, these coins are sadly, only available in £10 Presentation Packs (or BU versions from distributors, primarily Westminster Collection, about £1 cheaper) and likely to have a far lower mintage than if they were to be issued into circulation (however, as of summer 2019, they are still widely available). This move also forced The Royal Mint to withdraw the sale of the RAF Centenary Collectors Albums, and this are quite scarce and would cost around £35-£40 to purchase one on the secondary market.


2018 50p The Snowman

To commemorate 40 years since the original publication of Raymond Briggs "The Snowman", The Royal Mint announced the release, just after midnight on 5th November 2018, that the much anticipated 50 pence piece was available from it's website. Although the coin is not entering general circulation, it is worthy of mention here, due to the high interest in the coin. A BU presentation pack is available from usual sources (Royal Mint, Post Office etc) for £10, non-presentation pack coins are available from the RM's primary dealer - Westminster Collection - for around £3.99 each (at last check, although the slightly hefty £2.99 postage charge tends to reduce any savings, unless ordering in bulk, I think there is a limit on 9 coin purchases, as of November 2018). Similar to the Beatrix Potter series, The Royal Mint, also issued colour silver proof & Gold proof, with the £60 silver versions being with a limited mintage of 15,000 & 400, respectively. The Silver proof retailed at £60 and the Gold £725! Unsurprisingly, these all sold out in around 14 hours! The colour silver proof versions, quickly appeared in the secondary market and as of November 2018, are already selling for up to £130-150!! Surprisingly, this isn't the first Raymond Briggs related 50p's to be issued. In 2015, Isle of Man released their own Snowman (and snow dog!) 50p and Gibraltar have released a 50p featuring Raymond Briggs's Father Christmas in 2004 and a newer version in 2018!


2019 Royal Mint Releases

Not long after the stroke of midnight, the Royal Mint announced details of a number of coins to be released in 2019. Including £2 Samuel Pepys, £2 WW2 Normandy Landings, £2 Wedgewood, a Sherlock Holmes 50p and a £5 Crown to mark the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria. These would be available in annual collector sets almost immediately, however as appeared to be the case for most of the previous two years, most of the coins would not be entering circulation and would only be available in BU presentation packs (retailing at £10 each), in annual collector sets, or loose from primary suppliers, with the explanation that the main reason's are demand from the "cash centres", however this did not appear to diminish the mint's release schedule, which perhaps could be explained due to the drop in demand/revenue from their primary income streams, with a requirement to increase sales via the collector's market, although this doesn't appear to be offering a huge appeal to the casual collector.

One "Silver" lining is that the 50p Sherlock Holmes has entered circulation and should be a possibility that this will appear in your change, with some luck!


February 2019 saw the release of the much anticipated "The Gruffallo" 50p. Offered in standard cupro-nickel presentation packs (unlimited), coloured silver proof presentation (30,000 total - 25,000 Royal Mint presentation/10,000 alternative presentations) and gold proof (600), although it was confirmed on release, somewhat unsurprisingly, that the coin would not enter general circulation. The proof coins proved popular, selling out within hours.

2019 Stephen Hawking 50p

2019 Stephen Hawking 50p

12th March 2019 saw the release of a new 50p to mark the life and achievements of the late Professor Stephen Hawking. Featuring a striking black hole illustration and his & Jacob Bekenstein's Entropy Equation, (the equation describes how black hole's not only pull in light, but also emit sub-atomic particles, known as "Hawking" radiation).

Remarkably, he coin is only the third to be produced in history that has been released within a year of the death of an individual (along with Sir Winston Churchill and H.M. The Queen Mother) and is believed to be the first in a series of four coins being marked to achieve British Innovators in Science.

Seems unlikely at this stage that the coin will enter circulation, as some design's such as the 2019 Sherlock Holmes, have been released after and have actually gone into circulation, however, they can still be purchased from Royal Mint and other distributors. This particular coin did have an unusually low silver proof mintage of 5,500, so this may give some indicator as to how many BU cupro-nickels will be produced

2019 - Paddington Bear Series

During 2018 and 2019, the Royal Mint have released a series of coins celebrating another children's favourite, Paddington Bear. Each of the coins feature Michael Bond's Bear from Darkest Peru, outside an iconic London building. 2018 saw the release of the first two coins, with Paddington at Paddington Railway Station, the second, at Buckingham Palace. 2019's release feature Paddington at The Tower of London and the fourth at St.Paul's Cathedral. Unlike many of 2018 & 2019's coin releases, the coins have been issued into general circulation.

Clockwise Top Left - 2018 50p Paddington at the Station, 2018 Padding at the Palace, 2019 Paddington at St.Pauls, 2019 Paddinton at The Tower.

Clockwise Top Left - 2018 50p Paddington at the Station, 2018 Padding at the Palace, 2019 Paddington at St.Pauls, 2019 Paddinton at The Tower.

The Future for UK Coinage?

Since 2019, whilst the Royal Mint have continued to release "commemorative" coins for collector's, and only issue the occasional coin now annually, into circulation (the last circulated coin release was the 2022 50p "Platinum Jubilee" coin, (before that, the 2020 Brexit and Diversity 50p's). The use of cash in the UK has fallen dramatically in the last decade, in the most part due to contactless and card payments, but this has been further escalated during the global pandemic. In 2020, the Royal Mint announced that they have no current intention of releasing any further £2 or 2p coins into circulation for at least a decade, as there is estimated to be enough already produced to cover this period. This, as well as the Bank of England's current consultation in 2021, of it's own cryptocurrency, this all seems to be bad news for the casual coin collector and the future of finding exciting coins in change, here in the UK.