Out of pocket

Out of pocket

Not since decimalisation in 1971 have so many commemorative coins been hoarded, collected and saved.

The Official London 2012 50p Sports Collection AlbumThere are 29 designs of the Sports 50p, one for each of the Olympic and Paralympic sports. All of the coins are available to buy in both base metal and silver from this very website, but even the circulating coins have proven to be collectable.

Each coin was designed by a member of the public, and over the last 20 months, design-by-design, they have been launched into circulation and design-by-design they have been squirreled away.

Of course, The Royal Mint plans for around 2 to 3% of new coins to be pocketed by collectors or simply to be lost down the back of sofas. So while it’s not unusual for special commemorative coins to be collected, the sheer volume of Sports 50ps disappearing has broken records.

When the commemorative Victoria Cross 50p was issued in 2006, of the 22 million released more than 10 million disappeared from circulation – 48% above the expected normal levels.

However, a recent audit suggests that of the 29,363,613 Sports 50ps issued into circulation to date, more than 70% - or £10,277,264 have disappeared.

That’s 67% above the usual level of removal which makes the Sports 50p one of the most popular and most treasured keepsakes of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

If you're collecting the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic 50p coins from your change, you can share tips with other 50p collectors on The Royal Mint blog! You can also keep your collection in a specially commissioned folder that we provide for free, you only pay the price of postage and packaging.