About me My work Contact me

What is the rarest modern British coin? It is not Kew Gardens 50 pence but…

Posted on Saturday 11th June 2016

I have been reading a lot of online articles and seeing a lot of claims on eBay saying the 2009 Royal Mint Kew Gardens 50 pence coin is the rarest coin in the UK, but is that true?

If the argument is based on the mintage figure and the coin must be still in circulation, perhaps it is. But from a collector’s point of view, calling a coin the rarest coin, it is NOT based on whether the coin itself is in circulation or not, but the total amount of the coins were minted.

It is really fascinating to see all media claiming the 200 Kew Gardens 50 pence coin is the rarest coin in the UK, a total of 210,000 were minted by the Royal Mint. But if you take a look of the mintage figures table from the Royal Mint website or go through the shop section on the Royal Mint website, there are plenty of other coins that the Royal Mint has minted are under the 210,000 mintage mark, so in truth the 2009 Kew Gardens 50 pence coins are not the rarest coin in the UK.

Going back to the Royal Mint’s mintage figures table. In 1992, the Royal Mint produced and issued some special dual date 50 pence coins with the EEC single market design. This coin has a total mintage of 109,000, nearly a half less than the 2009 Kew Gardens 50 pence coins. To make the 1992 EEC 50 pence coins more special, the coin itself is no longer in circulation due to the fact that the Royal Mint has changed all 50 pence coins to a smaller size in 1997. So with a coin has just a half of the mintage of the 2009 Kew Gardens 50 pence coin and no longer in circulation, surely that is the rarest!

If people call the 2009 Kew Gardens 50 pence coin is the rarest coin in the UK, then the 1992 EEC has got to be rarest of the rarest coin in the modern British coins history.

It seems very sad to me that a coin truly is the rarest has been forgotten and unloved, while many people would pay silly amount of money for a coin which has a higher mintage. It is just hard to understand. What is the real meaning and definition of coin collection these days? Is it based on a half story that the media have told the public, or the true facts of the coin itself?

The rarest coin was issued in 1992 to mark the EEC Single Market and the UK presidency of the Council of Ministers – perhaps not the most popular of topics, which maybe was the reason so very few were pushed out into circulation. But of course, its lack of popularity at the time, is the very thing that now makes its Britain’s rarest 50p coin.

Just 109,000 were minted, many of them were demonetised in 1998 because it is one of the old-sized 50p coins. Although the true figure of the remaining EEC Single Market 50 pence coins is unknown, without a doubt this is gotta be the most collectable coin in the British numismatic history.

The coin itself was designed by Mary Milner Dickens and pictures the UK’s place at the head of the Council of Ministers’ conference table. The stars represent each of the nations’ capital cities placed in their relative geographical position.


Source: The Royal Mint Limited