A new commemorative 50p has entered circulation to celebrate 70 years of Queen Elizabeth II's reign.
Some 1.3 million coins entered Post Office tills across the UK today (Monday 7 February), the Royal Mint said.
That makes the Jubilee 50p one of the rarest ever to enter circulation - though this could change if more of them are minted over the course of the year.
Here, we take a closer look at the 50p's design and whether you should hang onto one if it turns up in your change.
The Jubilee coin features a large number 70 design with the Royal Cypher and the dates of Queen Elizabeth's reign inside the zero. The Queen's usual profile portrait appears on the other side.
The coins entered circulation via the Post Office, so your best bet is to head to your local branch and see if it has any.
The uncirculated commemorative version costs £7. It has the same '70' design on the 'tails' side, but it features a different design on the 'heads' side of the coin. Instead of the portrait of the Queen's profile, it depicts the monarch on horseback.
Here's that horseback design as displayed by commemorative coin production manager Gav Elliot, who showed us the coin when we visited the Royal Mint earlier this month.
Elliot told us from the loud factory floor: 'I've got to say I think this coin - and I'm not just saying it - I think it's an absolutely wonderful coin. It's a fantastic job that's been done on this.'
'This isn't just a once in a lifetime event,' he said. 'God knows when the next Platinum Jubilee arises.'
Clare Maclennan, director of consumer coins, is also excited about the new 50p:
'This year as there's no surprise we will be really focusing on the Platinum Jubilee for Her Majesty the Queen,' she told us. 'Which includes a fifty pence piece - which for the first time has a royal history theme - and also a £5 crown to celebrate the epic service that Her Majesty has given us since her ascension to the throne in 1952.'
The Royal Mint doesn't usually reveal how many of each coin it makes until the year after they're minted. This time, it's made it clear that at least 1.3 million have entered circulation.
If it was to stop there, that would make the Jubilee coin one of the most scarce 50ps in a decade. You'd have to go way back to the iconic 2012 Olympics 50ps (minted in 2011) to find a coin with a lower mintage.
However, it's worth pointing out that the Royal Mint has said it could create more Platinum Jubilee 50ps over the course of the year. This, of course, would make it less rare.
The Mint has set a maximum mintage at 5,000,070 - the final 70 as a nod to the Queen's time on the throne. That would still make it one of the rarest we've seen in a while, comparable to the Paddington at the Station coin from 2018, which had a 5,001,000 mintage.
The table below compares the new 50p to the rarest 50ps already in circulation.
|Kew Gardens (2009)||210,000|
|Queen's Platinum Jubilee (2021) - MINIMUM||1,300,000|
|Flopsy Bunny (2018)||1,400,000|
At the moment, the answer's simple: it's worth 50p.
But the Mint's UK currency director Mark Loveridge said he expects it to become 'one of the nation's most collectible coins.' Of course, that might not necessarily mean in terms of monetary value. It could just be that people really want them.
Collectibles are only ever worth as much as a collector is willing to pay. So the best way to check a 50p's value is to see how much they've been selling for.
It's not an exact science, but we can compare new 50ps to old 50ps to get an idea of how much they could be worth in the future.
Let's take the Flopsy Bunny 50p, which has a mintage similar to the Jubilee coin's minimum. Based on recent 'Sold' eBay listings, that one usually goes for around £4 to £5.
So if only 1.3 million Jubilee coins are minted, there's a chance it'll sell for similar sums in a few years.
This is far from guaranteed, though, as there are other factors at play. The Flopsy Bunny coin is part of the Beatrix Potter set, which means collectors might pay more for it so they can complete their collection. The Jubilee coin is a one-off, so might not be as sought after.
What if 5 million end up being minted? That would make the Jubilee 50p more similar to the Paddington at the Station coin from 2018. Going by recent eBay sales, you're looking at closer to £1.50 for that one. And this one is also part of a set, so the Jubilee coin could end up selling for less.
The truth is it's hard to know exactly how valuable the Platinum Jubilee 50p will be in the future, especially since we don't know how many will be minted. But for many people who find them, it'll still be a nice memento of this royal anniversary.
Editor's note: This story was originally published on 27 January 2022 and has been updated since. The latest update was on 7 February 2022 to reflect the coin entering circulation that day.