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31 Dec 2019

The 15 rarest and most valuable coins of 2019

Find out which 10p, 50p and £2 coins were worth the most this year

With the Royal Mint launching eight new 50p coins this year, and some coins fetching large sums on eBay, 2019 was a big year for checking your change.

Whether you're starting a collection from scratch, or looking to add to your overflowing treasure chest, it's important that you know what you're looking for.

Here, we reveal the coins that proved the most valuable and rarest of 2019 and the change you should look out for next year.

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Which rare coins sold for the most in 2019?

We've used coin site Change Checker's 'scarcity index' to find the most in-demand 10p, 50p, and £2 coins of the year, and checked out how much they have sold for on eBay.

Change Checker's 'scarcity index' is based on mintage figures plus how many of each design is listed as 'collected' by members and the number of times a design has been requested as a swap. This is meant to give an indication of the current level of collector demand.

The prices we've found are an average of what each of the five circulating coins most recently sold for at auction on eBay.

Collectors tend to be more interested in buying scarcer coins, often paying more for them. There are a number of factors that affect a coin's value, however, as we'll explain later.

The rarest and most valuable 10p coins

The Great British Coin Hunt series of 10ps was launched in 2018, along with an accompanying app.

Though the initial buzz has died down, the coins still proved popular in 2019, with collectors doing what they could to secure coins in the alphabet-based series.

The zebra crossing coin is the only 10p to remain in the top five from 2018; the others are all new entries.

All of these coins are quite scarce, with only 220,000 of each of them entering circulation. That's only 10,000 more than the infamously scarce Kew Gardens 50p, which can sell for upwards of £100.

There's no guarantee that the A-Z 10ps will ever sell for that much, however, and at the moment they're considered much less valuable.

The rarest and most valuable 50p coins

Though a number of new 50p coins have been launched this year, mintage figures for these coins are not yet available, so they aren't on the scarcity index.

The big winner is the Kew Gardens 50p. It's still the scarcest coin ever to be circulated and can now sell for more than £100.

Only 210,000 Kew Gardens 50p coins were minted. To put that into context, every single other circulating 50p has a mintage of more than one million.

The rarest and most valuable £2 coins

Most of the in-demand £2 coins in 2019 were related to the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

How rare are 2019's new 50p coins?

Since mintage figures haven't been released, there's no way to know exactly how rare any of the new coins released this year actually are.

Still, we've covered the launch of several new 50p coins to tell you everything you need to know about them.

Read our rare coin coverage here:

It's worth keeping in mind that not all of these coins entered circulation, meaning they won't turn up in your change. Instead, you'll have to buy them online from the Royal Mint or a licensed seller, such as the Westminster Collection.

However, commemorative coins that never entered circulation tend to be less collectable and there's evidence that they can actually fall in value.

A silver proof Stephen Hawking 50p, for example, retailed at £55 on the Royal Mint website. Six months later, one of them sold for £54 on eBay.

Peter Rabbit and Flopsy Bunny: nearly the rarest 50ps

In October this year, the Royal Mint released mintage figures for 2018 coins.

The big news was that the Peter Rabbit and Flopsy Bunny coins each had just 1.4m mintages, making them the tied second-rarest 50ps in circulation.

The 2018 Mrs Tittlemouse coin is the third most-scarce in circulation, with just 1.7m minted.

What makes a coin valuable?

There's no guarantee any coin will ever sell at more than its monetary value. However, collectors might be willing to buy it for a number of different reasons.

1) It's rare

Coins with lower mintages are harder to come by, meaning collectors are more likely to resort to paying for them.

The Kew Gardens 50p sells for so much because there is almost no chance of finding it in your change today. If you want one for your collection, purchasing one is the most effective way to get it.

2) It has an error

Coins with errors on them are extremely rare and hard to find, so they tend to fetch higher prices than their 'perfect' counterparts.

A 20p coin released into circulation without a date (it was actually minted in 2008) has proven very popular with collectors.

3) It's part of a collection

Serious coin collectors are dedicated to completing collections. That's partly why the A-Z 10ps and the Olympic 50ps can be valuable. If a collector has 25 out of 26 A-Z coins, they might pay a little more for the last one just for the sake of completion.

4) It's in good condition

Even if your coin meets all of these other criteria, collectors are unlikely to shell out for it if it's scratched or in generally poor condition.

Should you invest in rare coins?

Even though the coins we've mentioned above have increased in value over time, there is absolutely no guarantee that this will happen with any coin.

In fact, looking at coin sales on eBay isn't necessarily a great way to determine value, as sellers could seek to inflate prices by creating fake listings or placing their own bids.

A series of experts warned against buying coins purely to make money on an episode of The Which? Money Podcast. They encouraged listeners to buy coins because they're interested in them, not because they see them as an investment.

Listen to the episode below to hear how dangerous investing in rare coins could really be.