The Royal Mint has teamed up with Aardman Animations to create a Wallace & Gromit 50p coin, celebrating 30 years of Britain’s favourite modelling clay duo.
Three versions of the coin are available to buy online, all starring a doting Wallace embracing his loyal, but slightly bemused, pet beagle, Gromit.
We take a look at how to get the Wallace & Gromit 50p, what it could be worth and the rarest 50p coins in circulation right now.
How to get a Wallace & Gromit 50p
There are no plans to put these coins into circulation, so the only way to get one at the moment is to buy it online.
Three versions of the coin were available from the Royal Mint website upon launch:
- a ‘brilliant uncirculated’ metal coin in a sealed folder, priced at £10
- a silver proof coin for £65, limited to 25,000
- a gold proof coin costing £980, limited to 630
At the time of writing, the gold proof coins have sold out and The Royal Mint is ‘awaiting stock’ of the brilliant uncirculated coins. There are still silver proofs available, though.
Uncirculated coins are also being sold without the folder by the Westminster Collection – an official distributor of the Royal Mint – for £4.50.
And you can ‘strike your own’ Wallace & Gromit 50p at the Royal Mint Experience in Llantrisant, Wales.
How much is it worth?
Some people who did buy these coins are already reselling them on eBay, but they don’t appear to be fetching much more than their retail value. Some have even sold for less.
You might think that these coins will grow in value over time, but that’s not necessarily the case.
In March, the Royal Mint released a Stephen Hawking 50p, which also didn’t enter circulation. Six months on, a limited-edition silver proof version sold for £54 – £1 below its original retail value.
The Which? Money Podcast explored how much limited-edition commemorative coins are really worth in a recent episode. Multiple experts told us that coins like these shouldn’t be seen as investments as there’s no guarantee they will ever increase in value.
- Find out more: why your rare 50p might be worthless
Why is the coin being released?
The new range celebrates 30 years since Wallace & Gromit’s first adventure ‘A Grand Day Out’ in November 1989.
Since then, the duo has starred in three more 30-minute specials and a feature film, becoming international icons in the process.
This coin is the latest of many British pop culture coins The Royal Mint has released this year.
August saw two new Paddington Bear 50p coins enter circulation. There was a Sherlock Holmes 50p launch in May, which has also been circulated. Other coins that didn’t go into circulation include a Gruffalo coin and a Peter Rabbit coin.
The Royal Mint’s latest annual report shows that its commercial arm, which includes the sale of commemorative coins such as these, actually made a bigger profit than its currency arm – which produces coins for circulation. So it’s no wonder we’re seeing this number of releases.
A Brexit-themed 50p was due to enter circulation on 31 October, but it was cancelled when the Brexit deadline was extended to January 2020. Since the coins were engraved with the 31 October date, the Royal Mint has said it is melting them all down to reuse the materials.
What is the rarest 50p coin?
While you won’t find the Wallace & Gromit 50p coin in your change there are a number of circulating 50p coins that could sell for more than their face value.
The 2009 Kew Gardens 50p is the most desirable to collectors. Only 210,000 were minted, making it the scarcest design to ever be circulated. They now often sell for more than £100 on eBay.
The next rarest are two coins from 2017 – the Sir Isaac Newton coin and the Royal Shield coin. You’ll find a lot of Royal Shield 50p coins in your change because millions of them have been minted over the years. In 2017, though, an unusually small number (1,800,000) were circulated.
Rarest 50p coins by mintage
Should I buy a rare 50p?
Generally, coins are considered valuable if there are fewer of them in circulation. But it’s important to remember that a coin is only worth what a collector is willing to pay for it. And you can only ever be sure that it’s worth, in this case, 50p.
Last year, we explored the dark side of the coin investment craze to highlight the potential risks. You can find out more by watching the video below.