A Half Term Activity for All Ages Which Won’t Break the Piggy Bank

23 May 2014

Parents looking for an affordable, educational and engaging activity to keep their kids entertained this half term holiday don’t realise that they may already have the answer lying in their pocket or purse.  The Royal Mint is encouraging the nation to embark on a ‘Great British Coin Hunt’ which is free of charge, not weather dependant and is 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.  The Royal Mint is encouraging children and adults alike to take a closer look at the coins in their pockets over the half term holiday 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 short 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 within, particularly on 50pence pieces, £1 and £2 coins.  In current UK circulation there are 15 different 50p designs, 21 different £1 coin designs and a further 23 £2 designs to be found, collected, swapped or treasured.

The rarest 50p design is the Kew Gardens (above left - 210,000 mintage), rarest £1 coin is the 2011 Edinburgh badge design (above middle - 935,000 mintage) and rarest £2 coin design the Irish variant of the Commonwealth Games in Manchester (above right - 485,500 mintage).

There are also six definitive circulating coin designs ranging from 1p to 50p to collect which each contain a different element of the ‘Royal shield of arms’. When all six coin denominations are assembled together they create a striking shield design.

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 59 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

Further information about the different UK circulating coin designs and collector folders to store them in can be found at www.royalmint.com