Easter coin collecting

15 Apr 2014

One In Five Unaware of Queen’s Presence on UK Coinage as The Royal Mint Launches the Nation’s Treasure Hunt

Parents looking for an affordable, educational and engaging activity to keep their kids entertained this Easter holidays don’t realise that they may already have the answer lying in their pocket or purse.

Along with the traditional Easter Egg Hunt, The Royal Mint is encouraging the nation to embark on a treasure hunt which is free of charge and open to all.  Coin collecting offers an ideal way to get children interested in an entertaining new hobby which helps them to appreciate art, learn more about history and improve their numeracy skills at the same time.

With the news that a staggering 17% of people recently questioned by The Royal Mint didn’t realise that an effigy of Her Majesty the Queen appears on all of the United Kingdom’s coins, The Royal Mint is encouraging children and adults alike to take a closer look at the coins in their pockets over the Easter period to learn more about the rich variety of stories that are told on our coinage.

For instance, there are currently three different portraits of The Queen in circulation in the UK, which themselves tell the story of her reign and her maturing role as our Head of State.

Coin collecting is an easy hobby for children of all ages, one which won't break the (piggy) bank, doesn't require expensive equipment, spare time, new clothing or warm weather and is an activity which can take place at home, on a journey or away on holiday – perfect for the forthcoming Easter break.

All you need to do to get started is empty out your purses, piggy banks or coin jars and discover the huge variety of designs and stories which appear on the UK’s circulating coins.  In current UK circulation there are 45 different 50p designs, 21 different £1 coin designs and a further 27 £2 designs to be found, collected, swapped or treasured.  Research conducted by The Royal Mint indicates that 48% people don’t know that there were eight different coin denominations in current circulation, whilst 68% couldn’t name the design that features on the current 1p coin.

Astonishingly, 17% of people (or 10.7 million people in the UK) had no idea that Queen Elizabeth II appears on every current British circulating coin, despite her face having appeared on United Kingdom coins for more than 60 years. 

Of the 50p, £1 and £2 commemorative coin designs currently in circulation, those with the lowest mintage figures to find are the Kew Gardens 50p (210,000 mintage – pictured far left), 2011 Edinburgh badge design £1 coin (935,000 mintage – pictured middle left) and the Irish variant of the Commonwealth Games in Manchester £2 coin (485,500 mintage – pictured near left).

There are also six definitive circulating coin designs ranging from the 1p piece to the 50p piece to collect which each contain a different element of the ‘Shield of the Royal Arms’. When all six coin denominations are assembled together they create a striking shield design (right), complemented by a £1 coin which features the shield in its entirety (right).

Shane Bissett, Director of Commemorative Coin at The Royal Mint said, “Despite the fact that coins are found in almost every British household, and seen by most of us on daily basis, many people just don’t pay any attention to them. A recent survey revealed that half of adults have no idea what is depicted on the coins in their pockets. But we want to encourage the nation to take note of what is in their pockets and purses, and realise that there are a great number of coins that are worth looking out for.

“Coin collecting offers parents and their children a fun way to find out more about our currency and some of the great events which have been commemorated on coins in recent years. There are 93 different 50p, £1 and £2 designs in circulation at the moment, and some of them are relatively rare and a real bonus to find in your change. The Royal Mint’s 50p, £1 and £2 Collector Albums are the perfect way for people of all ages and abilities to start enjoying the coins that are in circulation and appreciating the beautiful works of art that are part of our everyday lives.”

If you are new to coin collecting, or have collected all of the designs in circulation, please let The Royal Mint know by sharing a photo on The Royal Mint Facebook page or posting it on Twitter using the hashtag #coinhunt