Could you have the UK’s rarest coin in your pocket?

20 Feb 2014

The Royal Mint has today revealed that the Kew Gardens 50p coin is the rarest commemorative UK coin design to be released into current circulation– with just over 1 in every 300 people in the UK, or 0.32% of the population, likely to find it in their change.*

Only 210,000 of the coins were ever released into circulation to mark the 250th Anniversary of the Royal Botanic Gardens in 2009, compared to 22.7million of the shield of the Royal Arms 50p design in 2008 and 7.5million of the Girlguiding 50p in 2010.

The coin was released to celebrate the historic anniversary of the London institution, and features a design showing the famous pagoda of the Royal Botanic Gardens encircled by a vine and accompanied by the dates “1759” and “2009”, with the word “KEW” at the base of the pagoda.

Kew Gardens is the rarest commemorative coin design to be introduced into current general circulation.
Shane Bissett, Director of Commemorative Coin at The Royal Mint said: “Whilst we’re urging everyone to check their change to see whether they could have one of these exceptional coins in their pockets, we also want to encourage the nation to look more closely at all of the coins we use every day.

“They really are miniature works of art worth looking out for, admiring and collecting – and keeping hold of them is a great way for us to build our own private art galleries. Now that people know just how rare this particular coin is we expect them to disappear from circulation fast.

“The Royal Mint’s 50p, £1 and £2 Collector Albums are the perfect way for people to start appreciating the beautiful works of art that are in our pockets and enjoying the coins that are in circulation.”

The striking coin was designed by Christopher Le Brun, and the reverse includes the famous pagoda surrounded by a twisting vine plant. Christopher chose the pagoda as an instantly recognisable symbol which is intrinsically linked to London.

Have you found a Kew Gardens 50p coin in your change? If so, let The Royal Mint know by sharing a photo on The Royal Mint Facebook page or posting it on Twitter using the hashtag #strikingstories.

Rarest Coin

* Calculation based on the UK population of 63,700,000 (ONS Statistical Bulletin. Annual mid-year Population Estimates, 8 August 2012). Exact figure is 210,000 of a population of 63,700,000 - or 1 in every 303.

** Calculation based on latest Mintage figures released by The Royal Mint (released 31 March 2013): http://www.royalmint.com/discover/uk-coins/circulation-coin-mintage-figures. 28.9 billion coins estimated in circulation.