THE spare change in your pocket could add up to a fortune if you find you have a rare 50p in the mix.
Coins we find in general circulation can be worth hundreds more than their face value, and sellers on eBay are cashing in on that.
In general, the rarer the coin, the more valuable it is.
And if it's scarce – which also means it's high in demand – its value could be pushed up even further.
Rare coins with errors can be worth thousands of pounds each too.
Experts at Changechecker.org have created a scarcity index that tracks circulating 50p coins.
They'll update this index every three months.
The latest update came this November.
The Kew Gardens 50p piece has once again topped the charts, and it's gone unmoved for years.
It is the rarest and most sought after 50p, so much so, it's sparked bidding wars amongst collectors on eBay desperate to get their hands on the coin.
Here's a list of the top 10 rarest and most valuable coins according to Changechecker's latest outlook – including how much they could be worth.
What are the top 10 rarest and most valuable 50p coins?
1. Kew Gardens – £707
The rare Kew Gardens 50p remains top of the charts in Changechecker.org's scarcity index.
The 50p coin features the Chinese Pagoda at the famous London landmark and is one of the rarest coins out there because there’s so few of them.
Only 210,000 of them were released into circulation in 2009.
That’s far fewer than most coins – for example, there were nearly half a billion of the 1997 Britannia 50p put into circulation.
The most the Sun has spotted it going for is £707, which we saw on eBay back in February.
The most recent we've seen however was for £250.
There was also a very rare gold proof version that sold for a whopping £2,751.00 on the site in June, and only 1,000 of these exist.
2. Triathlon – £16
This Triathlon 50p shows athletes doing the three sports which form the triathlon – swimming, cycling and running.
Only 1,163,500 were put into circulation in 2011 to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic Games.
You might want to check your pockets to see if you've picked one up.
A triathlon coin in mint condition went for £18 on eBay in September.
But a circulated version which will be more likely for you to spot in your change sold for £16.
3. Wrestling – £16
There were nearly 1.13million of these 50p Wrestling coins made in 2011 to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The coins picture two athletes wrestling in front of a crowd, with one being thrown to the ground.
These 50ps can go for much more than its face value – this one went for £16 on eBay recently.
4. Judo – £18.25
Over 1.16 million of these Judo coins were put into circulation in 2011 to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The coin shows two athletes locked in a judo fight, with one throwing their opponent to the floor.
If you find one in your spare change, it could be worth much more than its face value.
One sold for £18.25 on eBay recently.
5. Olympics Football – £25
The Royal Mint struck a number of designs celebrating the London 2012 Olympics which featured on 50p coins.
Of all the coins created to commemorate the games, the 50p Football is among the rarest and features an explanation of the offside rule on it.
There were just over one million put into circulation.
If you find one, it could be bought for as much as £25 on eBay.
6. Tennis – £6
This Olympics 50p coin shows a tennis ball flying over a tennis net.
Over 1.45million of these coins were put into circulation.
If you're lucky enough to find one, you could fetch £6 for it – like this one which was sold on eBay back in August.
7. Goalball – £5
Just under 1.62million Goalball 50p coins were put into circulation in 2011.
The coins show a Goalball player, wearing eyeshades, in the middle of a game.
We spotted one of these coins being sold for £5 on eBay back in September.
8. Hockey – £5.60
There were 1,773,500 Hockey 50ps minted in the collection of Olympic coins.
The design was by Robert Evans who works as an engraver and sculptor for the Royal Mint.
He took a number of photographs of two university hockey players to base his design on.
One copy of the coin sold for £5.60 in early September this year.
9. Rowing – £5.50
The Rowing 50p was designed by David Podmore, and reflects one of Britain's most successful sports.
1,717,300 of these were minted in 2011 leaving it to rank with a score of 52 on the scarcity index.
It's also moved up 10 places since the last update.
Despite the higher demand, you'll find you can only cash in as much as £5.50 for the coin based on the latest listings we've seen.
10. Table Tennis – £5.58
Another coin which has become more in demand by collectors is this Table Tennis 50p.
It shows two people playing a game, with the ping pong ball soaring over the other side of the net.
Over 1.7million coins were put into circulation.
We found one going for £5.58 on eBay a few months back.
How much are other 50p coins worth?
Many coins can be worth much more when sold on eBay as part of a collection.
Although sometimes you'll get better individual prices if another collector needs your coin to complete their collection.
A rare Olympics swimming 50p was sold for almost £1,000 in May, but other designs can sell for hundreds too.
Other coins sought after by collectors include the Beatrix Potter 50p coins.
They usually go for around £10, but a few have sold for £11 and £13 in the past.
But the original 2016 Peter Rabbit coin did once sell for up to £840 on the auction website.
If you're looking to sell one today, you'd be lucky if you get that much.
In April, a rare Blue Peter Olympic 50p was flogged on eBay for £205.
The coin shows an athlete doing the high jump and was drawn by nine-year-old Florence Jackson after winning a competition on the kids TV show.
In the past, we've revealed the most valuable sought after coins after one seller pocketed £63,000 from flogging his Battle of Hasting's 50p.
Coins with mistakes tend to be among the highest values because of their extremely limited numbers.
A rare error coin from the 2012 Olympics set sold for £590 on eBay last August.
We've seen a similar coin listed that sold for over £10,000.
Newer versions that could be worth a mint too
You might think that old coins go for the most – but new ones can go for some big sums too.
In 2019, the Royal Mint re-released sets of five of the rarest and most popular 50ps to celebrate half a decade of the coin.
The new coins are made with old designs including Kew Gardens, Girl Guides and Scouts, but are stamped with the 2019 date which could make them super valuable among collectors.
The £90 collectors' proof sets sold out in February 2019, but you can still get uncirculated sets for £45 directly from the Royal Mint.
An entirely new 50p coin came out in 2019 too, to celebrate Team GB.
You can buy it for roughly £4 currently but it's value may increase in years to come.
What makes a coin more valuable?
Generally, collectors look at the mintage figures of a coin to assess its value.
Rather than just basing a coin's value on the rarity, Changechecker.org looks at two other key pieces of information.
This includes how many of each coin are listed as "collected" by members of the site, which indicates the relative ease of finding a particular coin.
The experts also track the number of times a design has been requested as a swap over the previous three months, showing the current level of collector demand.
While the index doesn't necessarily correspond to value, it is an effective indicator.
The Sun has also published a £1 scarcity index, so you can find out the value of each of the 24 £1 coin designs.
How do I find out what my coin is worth?
If you're lucky enough to pick up a rare coin in your spare change, it could go for hundreds of pounds depending on how rare it is.
You should check how much the coin is selling for on eBay.
Search the full name of the coin, select the "sold" listing and then toggle the search to "highest value".
It will give you an idea of the amount of money that the coin is going for.
But remeber a buyer could always pull out so the coin may not have gone for the price it says it has.
You can either choose to sell the coin on eBay or through a specialist such as ChangeChecker.org.
You can also use an online tool that gives you an estimate of how much it could be worth on eBay, as well as any other rare coins you have.
Coin Hunter gives you an estimated valuation of your coin based on the average of the most recent sales, as well as a range of how much you can expect it to fetch.
Rare coins and valuable notes – is yours worth a mint?
- Five rarest coins – do you have one?
- The 13 most valuable £2 coins in circulation
- How valuable are the rarest £1 coins?
- Most rare and valuable 50p coins in circulation
- Rare and most valuable 20p coins that could be worth up to £750
- Rarest 10p coins in circulation
- Rare 2p coins revealed
- How to check if you have a rare and valuable banknote
Rare £1 coin with error on it sells for £155 – check if you have one
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