The NHS 10p coin has been revealed as the most scarce of its kind. But how much is it worth?
Long before the weekly clap for carers, the Royal Mint paid tribute to our National Health Service heroes with a special 10p coin.
Coin site Change Checker has placed this coin at the top of its latest 10p ‘Scarcity Index’, meaning it’s now one of the most sought-after coins in circulation. But how valuable is it really?
What is the NHS 10p?
Adorned with a large ‘N’ with a stethoscope wrapped around it in the shape of a heart, the NHS 10p coin entered circulation in 2018.
It was part of the Royal Mint’s ‘Great British Coin Hunt’ series, which featured 26 10p coins – one for each letter of the alphabet – celebrating British society and culture.
Other designs in the series include T for Tea, L for Loch Ness Monster and, of course, Q for Queuing.
- Find out more: rare A-Z 10p coins released – can you collect them all?
What makes the NHS coin so scarce?
Change Checker’s ‘Scarcity Index’ ranks every 10p, 50p and £2 coin based on mintage figures (how many of a coin was created), along with estimates of collector demand based on Change Checker users.
All of the alphabet 10p coins are considered hard to come by as just 220,000 of each design was released in 2018, and 2.1m came out overall in 2019.
To put that in perspective, more than 33 million ‘normal’ 10p coins (with the two lions on them) were minted in 2017.
But these numbers don’t tell the whole story. As people take these coins home from the shops and add them to their collections, the numbers in circulation decline, making them even harder to come by.
How much is it worth?
No doubt the nation’s renewed appreciation for the hard work of our National Health Service during the coronavirus crisis has fuelled this coin’s popularity.
But even the most popular coins in the world are only really worth their monetary amount. There’s no guarantee you’ll be able to sell a 10p coin online for anything more than 10p.
Still, NHS coins have sold for more than this on eBay in recent days. As you can see below, one sold for £6.50 last Monday.
This was the most an NHS 10p sold for this month, the lowest being £1.00. So some sellers have been much luckier than others.
Which? has spoken to several numismatists (expert coin collectors), all of whom advise that you should never buy a coin as an investment, as you can’t guarantee whether its value will rise or fall.
Instead, you should only buy coins that you like and personally want in your collection. Of course, since the NHS coin is in circulation, there’s a chance you could find it in your change one day. But that might be more difficult for the foreseeable future.
Hear more about the risks of coin investment on the Which? Money Podcast:
Is it safe to find an NHS 10p under lockdown?
The World Health Organization (WHO) has advised people to wash their hands after handling money, but according to Full Fact, it hasn’t issued a warning about using banknotes.
Despite this, many retailers are moving away from cash payments, as a way to be extra cautious.
Retail union Usdaw and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) have issued social distancing guidance that urges shops to ‘encourage cashless purchases’.
Many supermarkets now only allow cash payments at self-service checkouts. B&Q, which reopened all its stores recently, doesn’t allow cash at all.
This may make life difficult for the millions of people who rely on cash in their everyday lives, many of whom are vulnerable. And it’ll make it harder to come by 10p coins, too.
- Find out more: COVID-19 cash crisis puts millions at risk