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15 Aug 2019

Paddington Bear rare 50p: how much is it worth?

Paddington visits two London landmarks on the new 50p coin designs

Two brand-new 50p coins with Paddington Bear designs are entering circulation, meaning much like Mr and Mrs Brown, you too could discover the lovable marmalade-muncher unexpectedly.

The new 50p coin designs feature Paddington visiting the Tower of London and St Paul's Cathedral.

If you do find them, they may end up being worth more than face value. But at the moment there's no way of knowing how rare they truly are.

Here, we look at how much some of the rarest 50p coins can fetch from collectors, and how the new Paddington Bear coins might stack up beside them.

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How can I get a Paddington Bear 50p?

There are two new coins entering circulation. One depicts Paddington clutching a sandwich (presumably marmalade) in front of the Tower of London. The other sees him tipping his hat outside St Paul's Cathedral.

The new designs follow 2018's Paddington 50p pieces, which saw our furry friend visit Buckingham Palace and the train station that gave him his name.

If you want to get the new coins, you could wait in hope that they will turn up in your change: the first few have already entered circulation in the tills of The Royal Mint Experience in South Wales.

There are also several Paddington coins available to buy from The Royal Mint. Each coin can be purchased in 'brilliant uncirculated' quality for £10, silver proof for £65 and gold proof for £850. There are 25,000 of the silver coins and just 600 of the gold.

See what the new coins look like below:

How much are the new Paddington 50p coins worth?

The honest answer, for the coins that will enter general circulation, is 50p. That's what every circulated 50p is worth, and there's no guarantee you'll ever be able to sell one for more than that.

There are, however, certain circulated 50p coins that collectors do pay larger sums for. Usually these are coins which were circulated in lower numbers. These coins are referred to as having a 'low mintage'.

The Kew Gardens 50p, for example, has a 210,000 mintage, making it the rarest coin in circulation. It has been sold on eBay for more than £100.

The Royal Mint doesn't usually release circulation figures for new coins until long after they have been introduced. The new Paddington coins are no exception.

As a result, we don't know exactly how rare, or common, the coins will actually be - so there's no way to predict how much they'll be worth.

10 rarest 50p coins by mintage

It could be helpful to compare them with the Paddington Bear coins that came out in 2018. In August 2019, circulated versions of these coins have fetched sums ranging from 55p to £1.45 at eBay auction.

You can still buy a 'Paddington at the Station 2018' silver proof from the Royal Mint for £60, which is the same price they were when they came out.

Nine months later, in July, a second-hand silver proof of this coin sold for £31 on eBay.

Similarly, a silver proof of the 'Paddington at the Palace' coin - originally £60 - sold for £36.35 in August. Looking at all finished eBay auctions for both of these coins, neither of them have ever sold for more than their original price.

The price increases and decreases indicated by these sales aren't necessarily definitive. But they do suggest that you should be careful if you're thinking of buying the coins as an investment.

Other rare 50p coins to look out for

The Royal Mint has released several commemorative coins and coin sets this year, including the Sherlock Holmes 50p. Several coin collectors from up and down the country have told Which? they have found it.

A Stephen Hawking 50p was released in March, as was a Peter Rabbit 50p, although neither of these entered circulation.

News also broke last week that the previously announced Brexit 50p is going ahead.

According to The Sunday Telegraph, chancellor Sajid Javid asked officials if it would be possible to put millions of these coins into circulation before the UK's currently scheduled EU exit date of 31 October. The date will reportedly feature on the coins' design.

The Brexit 50p was originally meant to coincide with the UK's first planned exit date of 29 March, although the Treasury told us that no 50p coins with that date were produced for sale.

The rarest 50p coins to keep your eyes out for, aside from Kew Gardens, are certain coins from the 2012 Olympics series: specifically those featuring football, triathlon, wrestling, judo and tennis designs.

These coins top Change Checker's 50p 'scarcity index', which takes into account mintage figures, collector demand and the ease of finding a coin.

If you're thinking of paying money to buy a rare 50p yourself, be careful. As the Which? Money Podcast found out, investing in coins can be dangerous. Listen to the episode to hear more: