Have you checked your change recently for any rare coins? With the population rapidly heading towards a cashless society, certain UK currency is becoming more and more sought after.
But how do you know what’s valuable?
Whenever I have a handful of change on me, it normally ends up in the savings jar (have you tried the 1p savings challenge) or in our spare change pot.
I don’t even give it a second thought that they could be worth a mint!
But how do you realise one of the coins doesn’t look quite like other UK coins?
Read ahead for the current list of UK coins that could very well see you in the money.
If you’ve got a 50p coin, its legal tender value is worth at least 50p.
However, there are things that can make a coin far more valuable:
- How many were created and put into circulation?
- What is the coin’s condition? Is it shiny and look new, or does it have scratches and appear dirty?
- Does it have an error? If there is a printing error, it will get a higher price than a “perfect” coin.
- Is it in a collection? If the coin is part of a series, collectors want to finish their set so it may be more sought after.
Rare coins UK
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Let’s take a look at some of the most expensive coins in the UK that you could get in your change.
Or you may find rare pennies hiding at the bottom of your piggy bank :)
These coins are considered some of the rarest coins in the UK, based on how sought after they are.
With the release of the new King Charles III coins, these coins will reduce in circulation more, which means their price may go up more over time.
New pence 2p coins
The 2p coin used to read “new pence” up until 1982.
After that time, all coins read “two pence”. (Are you rummaging in your pocket to check?)
However, there was a little mistake in 1983. The Royal Mint released some coins that said “new pence”.
They are not sure how many are out there, but if you find a 1983 “new pence” 2p then you could potentially sell it for £500!
Kew Gardens 50p coin
The Kew Gardens 50p coins, issued in 2009, have been in the top spot of highly sought-after coins for some time.
There were only some 210,000 coins issued, and the 50p coin can sell for around £97 – £160!
However, with a 2019 reissue of the Kew Gardens 50p, the original may go up in value more.
Olympic 50p football coins
You could get around £156 for the 50p.
The coin features a simple design showing the offside rule.
There were around 1.125 million circulated, but it’s the rarest of all the Olympics coins issued in 2011.
The Olympics in Wrestling, Judo and Triathlon are also worth keeping an eye out for.
Find out about the rarest 50p coins and how much they’re worth.
Jemima Puddle-Duck 50p coin
The Beatrix Potter set of coins is a fun one to collect as it features many of the characters in the Peter Rabbit collection.
However, the Peter Rabbit coin had a higher circulation from the Royal Mint and Jemima Puddle-Duck only saw a circulation of around 2.1 million, meaning it’s a lot scarcer.
If you wanted to collect the coin it make it a lot harder, meaning you can now get around £12 for the coin.
There are more Beatrix Potter coins – do you have a valuable Peter Rabbit 50p?
Sir Isaac Newton 50p coin
Potentially the (new) rarest coins in the UK is the Sir Isaac Newton 50p, issued in 2017.
There are potentially less than 210,000 coins that were made, which could make it more valuable than others.
People are paying around £59 on eBay for a 50p coin, according to Change Checker!
1992/1993 EEC 50p
You won’t likely find this one handed out in change as it is no longer in legal circulation, but that won’t stop you from finding old coins worth money in an old, dusty box.
The European Economic Community coin was withdrawn when the slimmer 50p was introduced back in 1997.
This EEC Single Market design represents capital cities in the EU and can get you around £56.
Brexit may make the coin go up in value further.
In 2008, the coat of arms on the back of our current coins was released (see the photo below).
However, due to an error, some 250,000 rare 20p coins were minted and misprinted!
There are coins without a date on them that were issued between 2008 and 2009 (although you obviously won’t see this date :) )
At the moment, you’ll likely get £50-£100 for an undated 20p.
Error coins don’t happen too often, which is why the coins could fetch a bit more than others.
Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games £2 coins
Issued in 2002 to commemorate the Games in Manchester, there were just 485,000 Northern Ireland coins minted.
There were more issued in England, Wales and Scotland, but it’s the NI coin which is more sought after.
This rare old British coin is not easy to find in your change, which means their value goes up, so you could make around £31.
You’re looking for coins where the flag is embossed, whereas the England flag is indented.
Guy Fawkes 50p coin
It was the 400th anniversary of the Gunpowder plot in 2005.
Remember, remember the 5th of November, Gunpowder, treason and plot!
While we may remember the riddle, someone had a little trouble with spelling as there was a typo and the side of the coin which reads “pemember, pemember” instead!
You may be able to get £5-7 for the coin.
2015 Britannia £2 coin
The Britannia £2 coin had a mintage of just 650,000, which means they are hard to come by in everyday change.
For this reason alone, you can usually get more than face value if you try to sell it on.
However, you’re not going to make a fortune as they sell for around £4. Still, £4 is better than £2 :)
One reason it continues to be popular is that some coins were released with “Inverted Effigy”, where the Queen’s head is upside down!
However, there is only a handful of these so it’d be unlikely you’d ever find one.
If you do, it’d be worth a LOT – may be worth up to £1,250.
Have stamps instead of coins? Check out these rare stamps.
1996 Football European Championships Gold Proof £2 Coin
There were only around 2,100 on the gold proof football coin made.
With the pattern of a football, with 16 small circles to represent the countries who took part in the European Championship tournament and 1996 in the middle, it’s a fun collector’s coin for a football fan.
But, as so few were made, it’s also a pretty valuable coin, if you manage to find one.
Older rare UK coins
You will likely not find this lot in your spare change, but you may find these old coins wanted by collectors in a button tin or in the attic.
1917 George V Sovereign
The George V was a gold sovereign coin from before the First World War.
It was a luxury to have gold, but production stopped in 1917 as it seemed to be a waste of money. They wanted to use funds for the world war, rather than for making coins.
A lot of the George V Sovereigns were sent to America to pay off debts.
Probably one of the most famous and most valuable coins ever made.
There are records of only six 1933 Penny being made, with three being placed in the foundation stones of the building.
But, it looks like a few more were made and accidentally got into circulation – the value is potentially unknown.
The Coinage of Edward VIII
King Edward VIII wasn’t on the throne for long before he abdicated.
The Mint had started to trial patterns, but none officially went into circulation.
Want to find out if you’ve got rare and valuable British coins?
In the same way as rare and valuable coins, some bank notes are considered more valuable than others.
Again, there are a few things you want to look out for:
- Serial number: Look at the prefix. You are looking to get the very first prefix or early number which will start with AA01.
- Chief Cashier signatures: Each note is signed by the Chief Cashier, and some collectors want a set with each signature over history, mainly if there are first or last editions of the note.
- Quality: Make sure to look after the note and don’t crease or rip it.
- Errors: Check for printing errors or miscut paper.
- Something else: This is a little up in the air, but you’re looking for something that will make the note unusual. For instance, look for meaningful numbers like “123456”.
Don’t just consider new band notes, but have a rummage in the attic or in old boxes to see if you can find any valuable old banknotes too.
AA01 polymer £5 banknote
We got a new £5 note in September 2016 featuring Sir Winston Churchill.
While the legal tender is £5, some collectors could pay around £10 for a note with a very early prefix.
There are just under 60 million notes printed that begin with ‘AA’, so you may well have a chance of finding one!
AA01 polymer £10 banknote
A year later, in September 2017, we got the first polymer £10 note.
These early notes, with a low prefix like AA01, can earn you around £15.
Polymer £20 banknote
Similarly to other newly printed notes, the new twenty with lower prefix serial numbers will fetch far more money.
Every so often there is a craze about potentially valuable coins, and a story may go viral on social media with tales of coins being sold for ridiculously high prices.
The best way to initially find out how much a coin is worth is by checking the Change Checker scarcity index.
This way you can see how sought after your coin is.
Once you know it’s a rarer coin, head to eBay, do a search and filter by completed listings.
You’ll then be able to filter out what has been sold, how much for, and what wasn’t sold, rather than just seeing the listing prices.
You can also use the Change Checker eBay price tracker.
This tool takes the last nine sold prices to give a median sale price.
However, this is only updated every six months so may not be fully up to date with trends.
Check with the Royal Mint
If you’ve found expensive or valuable coins, it can be easy to put your coins on eBay, hoping someone will bid, but it could be losing out.
It may be a good idea to get some coinage advice about the scarcity index.
The Royal Mint Museum Services does not provide valuations. Although, they do offer the service for pre-decimal coins. Visit their Collector Services for more information.
While this service is run by the Royal Mint Museum, the museum itself doesn’t provide valuations (although the museum is still worth a trip as it’s a free day out in London, and it’s awesome!)
Well, after all that, I’m off to look down the back of the sofa for any rare coins!
FAQs about rare coins UK
The rarest coins are a mix of ones that have a general low circulation as well as coins that have minting issues and entered circulation.
If you get a coin that is both low circulation and has a printing issue, then it can be worth a lot more. A good example is the 2015 Britannia £2 coin which has a circulation of 650,000, but also an error means a number have an “Inverted Effigy”, where the Queen’s head is upside down!
You are less likely to find some of the older British coins in your change as they may have already been found. However, never say never. I always check my change for 2ps to look out for a 1983 2p New Pence which are worth around £500.
There are around 30 billion coins estimated to be circulating around the UK.