There are some modern coins which, just like antique coins, are very rare and so can be surprisingly valuable. Some are rare because they were mistakes that somehow found themselves in circulation (known as mint error coins), whilst others were issued as limited editions (the number of coins released is called its mintage). If you’re very lucky you may just come across one of them in the change in your pocket or purse, so keep an eye out. Here are a few of the ones to look out for.
Valuable limited edition coins
To celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the Royal Botanic Gardens in 2009, the Kew Gardens 50p was released with the Kew Gardens pagoda stamped onto the back and the dates 1759 and 2009. Having a mintage of just 210,000 makes it the rarest coin across all denominations that are still in circulation. They have sold for up to £150 on eBay but generally sell for £30 to £50 currently. The EC Commemorative 50p coin was rarer with a mintage of 109,000 but is no longer in circulation.
Another rare modern coin is the Northern Ireland 2002 Commonwealth Games £2. It has a mintage of only 485,500, making it the rarest £2 coin that exists. Considering that there are 417 million £2 coins in circulation, it’s not surprising that they can be worth around £20 to £40. There were actually four versions of the 2002 Commonwealth Games £2 produced, one for each of the UK’s teams, each with its own flag on it, but the Northern Island version is the most rare.
The 2012 London Olympics led to the launch of a series of commemorative coins, each with one of twenty nine different designs on the back. The London Olympics Handover £2 was the last coin to be released. It features the two hands with one handing the Olympic relay baton to the other. The mintage was 845,000 and it sells online for around £12 but uncirculated versions are selling for significantly more than this.
At Easter this year the Royal Mint released a limited number of Beatrix Potter 50p coins, however they haven’t yet revealed what the precise mintage is. Featuring a picture of Peter Rabbit, they’re the first coins to depict a fictional character. They were released to a limited number of attractions and National Trust properties and are selling for £5 to £20 pounds online.
Mint error coins
In 2016 a 2p coin was sold for nearly £1,400 at auction because it was silver instead of copper so, although you’re unlikely to find something quite that rare, it does demonstrate how a mint error can increase the value of a coin.
The dateless 20p is one such mistake. The Royal Mint made an error with a 2008 run of 20p coins which resulted in the date missing from the coin altogether. This was part of the Royal Shield of Arms series of coins whereby the shield was printed on the reverse of 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p and 50p coins which, when placed together, revealed the complete shield. It is estimated that 50,000 to 200,000 of these coins were released into circulation before the mistake was realised and in mint condition the undated 20p coins can sell for around £100.
The New Pence 2p was created in 1983 when there were a small number of 2p coins mistakenly stamped to say “new pence” instead of “two pence”. They are only valuable if stamped with the 1983 date but can be worth over £500.
An even rarer coin was created by mistake when a blank 10p somehow ended up in the 2p mint and a silver 10p-sized 2p was created. It’s highly unlikely you’d find one of these though, with only two instances being recorded in recent years. If you do, however, it is a fantastic find, being worth around £1,400.
If you think you have found a particularly rare coin, then you can contact Boningtons for a valuation. We offer expert advice and appraisals for coins, medals and stamps and regularly hold auctions for these items.