If you are counting up change received in a charity collection, keep an eye out for a rare 50p coin. The Royal Mint says that the Kew Gardens 50p coin is the rarest commemorative UK coin design that has been released into circulation.
Although they have a face value of 50p, some are selling on eBay for up to £120.
The coins marked the 250th anniversary of the Royal Botanic Gardens in 2009. Only 210,000 of the coins were released into circulation, compared to the 22.7 million of the shield of the Royal Arms design 50p released in 2008. Other limited editions were released in much higher numbers: 7.5 million of the Girlguiding 50p, for example, were released in 2010.
Kew Gardens 50p design
The coin, designed by Christopher Le Brun, features a design of the pagoda at Kew encircled by a vine. The dates ‘1759’ and ‘2009’ accompany it, with the word ‘KEW’ at the foot of the pagoda.
Shane Bissett, Director of Commemorative Coin at The Royal Mint said: “Whilst we’re urging everyone to check their change to see whether they could have one of these exceptional coins in their pockets, we also want to encourage the nation to look more closely at all of the coins we use every day”.
There are two versions – the ‘circulated’ one is worth much more than the shiny ‘uncirculated’ coins, the latter selling for around £10-20 one eBay.
If you find a Kew Gardens 50p coin in your charity’s collecting tins, do take a photo of it and share below in the comments.
2012 Olympics 50p coins
If you’re not lucky enough to spot a Kew Gardens 50p, then try keeping an eye out for the 50p coins issued to mark the London Olympics in 2012. Depending on the sport featured, some of these can be worth £3-4.
About the 50p coin
The 50p coin entered circulation on 14 October 1969, in the run-up to 15 February 1971 when the UK switched to a decimal currency.
The Royal Mint issued 120 million of the coins at that point, the largest ever issue of a new coin to that date. As such, even 1969 coins are worth very little these days – about 75p or so on eBay.
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