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29 Oct 2020

Diversity Built Britain 50p - how rare is it?

The coin is the first in a new series and will enter general circulation
Designer Dominique Evans with the new 50p

The Royal Mint has released a new 50p celebrating British diversity, with 10 million of the coin set to enter circulation.

The design by Dominique Evans (pictured with the coin above) features the words 'Diversity Built Britain' in block capitals.

It's the first in a planned series of coins paying tribute to the contribution people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities have made to the country.

Here, Which? takes a closer look at what the coin represents and ask how valuable it'll be on the collectors market.

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The story behind the 'Diversity Built Britain' coin

Released during Black History Month, the new coin comes after years of work from the Banknotes of Colour campaign, led by Zehra Zaidi and Dr Patrick Vernon.

No BAME individual has ever been featured on a British banknote or coin in general circulation. Banknotes of Colour campaigned to address this, advocating for figures such as Second World War secret agent Noor Inayat Khan and Crimean War nurse Mary Seacole to be featured on our currency.

In July this year, after the global Black Lives Matter protests, The Sunday Telegraph reported that Chancellor Rishi Sunak was considering Banknotes of Colour's proposals.

This new coin still doesn't feature a BAME historical figure's image, but it is intended to highlight the importance diversity plays in Britain. The Royal Mint did not respond when we asked if future coins would picture individuals.

Mr Sunak said: 'This coin, and the rest of the series, will act as a fitting tribute to the very profound impact ethnic minority communities have made on Britain.'

What does the Diversity Built Britain coin look like?

You can see the design across each available edition of the coin in the gallery below. The version in circulation will look identical to the 'brilliant uncirculated' version, but it could be in worse condition depending on how it's been handled.

The coin's designer Dominique Evans said: 'When designing this coin, I began by thinking about the people who inspire me and what diversity has meant in my life. I believe that no matter where you are born, we all belong under the same sky and this was the starting point of the design.

'The background of the coin features a geodome with a series of interconnecting lines and triangles that form a network. Each part is equal, and symbolises a community of connection and strength.'

How rare is it?

As with most Royal Mint releases, the diversity coin will be available for purchase in 'brilliant uncirculated', silver and gold versions through the Royal Mint website. Or you can just keep an eye out for a circulated version in your change.

The Royal Mint says 10 million of the coin will go into circulation. Figures for coins released in 2019 and 2020 haven't been released yet, but 10 million is relatively high for a recent 50p design.

In fact, it's possible the only other 50p coin to have a mintage of the same number or higher in the past five years is January 2020's Brexit 50p, which also had 10 million. Though we might find this isn't the case when more recent figures become public.

Often, new 50ps are released in much lower quantities. In 2018, the Peter Rabbit and Flopsy Bunny 50ps each had 1.4 million mintages, making them the second and third most scarce 50ps in circulation. Only the extremely uncommon 2009 Kew gardens coin is rarer, with just 210,000 produced.

Rarest 50p coins by mintage

The 2018 coin with the closest mintage to the diversity coin is the Representation of the People Act 50p, which had nine million circulated.

Looking at recent eBay listings, the circulated version of that coin can fetch upwards of £1 two years after its release. So it's not unreasonable to expect the diversity coin to sell for a similar amount in 2022.

The silver proof edition of the Representation of the People Act coin still retails at £100 via the Royal Mint shop, but its recent eBay sales hover around the £30 to £40 mark.

We've warned before that commemorative coins like these shouldn't be treated as investments, as their value is not guaranteed to increase over time.

However, with the diversity coin in particular, that doesn't seem to be the point. The Mint says the 10 million mintage figure was chosen to make sure the coin was accessible to all, therefore spreading the design's message across the country.