Two new Paddington 50p coins will be released into circulation this month, according to The Royal Mint, meaning one could soon turn up in your spare change.
We explain what designs to look out for and round up the rarest and most valuable 50p coins in circulation right now.
New Paddington 50p coin designs
The Royal Mint will be releasing two new Paddington 50p coins into circulation by the end of the month.
One coin will feature the much-loved bear sitting on his suitcase at Paddington station, while the other shows Paddington on a day out at Buckingham Palace.
Designed by David Knapton, the coins are based on the CGI live-action film version of Paddington which first hit cinemas in 2014.
The release of the coins celebrates the 60th anniversary of the marmalade-loving bear that was brought to life in Michael Bond’s 1958 book entitled ‘A Bear called Paddington’.
Several special edition Paddington 50p coins are available for purchase, too.
These coins differ from the coins you’ll find in your spare change, as they are not released into general circulation.
Silver collectors’ edition Paddington 50p coins can be bought from The Royal Mint and range from £10-£60 per coin. Gold proof Paddington 50p coins, priced at £780 each, are currently sold out.
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Are the new Paddington 50p coins valuable?
While the Paddington Bear 50p coins are likely to be sought after, their value will also be influenced by the number of coins released (known as the mintage).
As a general rule of thumb, the fewer coins of a particular design are in circulation, the more valuable it is likely to be.
The official mintage figures of the new Paddington Bear coins are yet to be confirmed.
- Find out more: revealed: rare 50p coins in the Olympic series
What affects the value of a coin?
The value of a collectible coin is difficult to quantify, as it depends on how much a coin collector is willing to pay. The following factors, however, can give you an indication of what you might be able to sell your coin for.
The mintage of a coin indicates how many of a particular design was created and released into circulation. As we explained above, the lower the mintage figure, the less likely it is for that coin to pop up in your spare change, making it harder for collectors to find.
This means that collectors are more likely to pay a higher sum for that particular coin to complete their set.
Older coins can often be seen as more valuable as they can be more difficult to collect. This is because they can become worn, damaged or lost over time.
Most collectors are looking to buy coins in ‘mint condition’, meaning no wear and tear, dings or scratches.
Some coins might be particularly in demand from collectors, or even kept by the public for sentimental reasons. This can drive up the scarcity of that design, even if the mintage is comparatively large.
Resources such as Change Checker’s Scarcity Index can help give an indication of what a coin’s value could be. Change Checker is an online platform that allows you to trade rare coins and notes with other collectors.
The Scarcity Index takes into account:
- How easy it is to find a coin, which is based on how many of each coin design is listed as ‘collected’ by collectors registered on the platform.
- How ‘in demand’ a coin is, which is based on how many times collectors request to swap for a certain design.
Coins are given a score out of 100 and the higher the score, the rare and potentially more valuable a coin is.
The rarest 50p coins in circulation 2018
There are now over 35 different 50p coin designs in circulation in the UK and the 2009 Kew Gardens 50p is the rarest and most valuable of them all.
Only 210,000 were minted in 2009 to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the London Kew Gardens.
The coin was designed by Christopher Le Brun and could fetch up to £140 on eBay. In the Royal Mint’s first ever coin auction in London last month, a gold proof Kew Gardens 50p sold for £400!
You can see the full list of rare 50p coins in the graph below.
- Find out more: the rarest 50p coins of 2018
What to do if you find a rare coin
If you think you’ve stumbled across a rare coin, the first thing to do is get in touch with the Royal Mint to make sure it’s real.
They’ll usually send you a letter to confirm the coin’s authenticity. Once you have confirmation that your coin is legitimate, you’ll be able to sell it online or via a coin dealer.
Check out the video below for a run-through of the different types of coins you can collect. And for more information on how to spot a fake coin, take a look at our investigation into the dark side of the coin investment craze.