We often get asked why some 50p coins cost more than their denomination and there are a number of reasons why this occurs.
There are two types of coins: those which go into circulation and those which don’t. The latter includes commemorative coins and bullion coins.
Many of these coins are available in a range of editions, including Gold Proof, Silver Proof Brilliant Uncirculated and Bullion editions. These are minted to the size and shape of an official UK coin but their greater value is found in their composition – a precious metal, a superior finish or both.
For example, a Silver Proof 50p coin is worth a lot more than a 50p you will find in your change and it will not be as common as a 50p coin in circulation.
Brilliant Uncirculated coins are struck to a higher standard than circulating coins, but they retail at less than Proof coins; ideal if you’re thinking of starting a collection or marking a special occasion.
Like Proof coins, a coin that is ‘uncirculated’ will not have the wear or scratches that a circulated coin usually has. Uncirculated coins are made using the same method as circulating coins, but are struck multiple times with greater force. They also have enhancements such as early strikes, special cleaning and special packaging which make them an attractive purchase.
Why Spend More on a Coin?
The Quality of the Metal
Depending on the metal a coin is struck in, its cost may be more than the denomination in which it appears. A gold Proof 50p coin is minted to the shape and diameter of a circulating 50p but its metal is far more valuable than the circulating, cupro-nickel 50p coins you will find in your change.
Circulating coins are struck once, giving a complete finish. Any scratches and imperfections are not removed and remain as part of the unique appearance of the coin. Bullion coins have a similar standard of finish, but are made from precious metals and all minor blemishes are removed. They are bought for their intrinsic cash value and kept as a financial asset. Commemorative Brilliant Uncirculated coins are struck twice. This extra strike gives much more definition and makes the details of the design really stand out. Proof coins are struck several times and due to the extra time it takes to produce them, there are usually fewer Proof coins minted which often makes them more sought-after by collectors.
Gold and silver Proof commemorative coins are minted in limited numbers. This makes them valuable and more collectable as there are less of them produced, and many collectors are keen to add them to their collections.
Our commemorative coins come with an assurance of authenticity. Brilliant Uncirculated coins have the full specifications printed on the packaging and Proof coins come with a Certificate of Authenticity, including the Maximum Coin Mintage and Limited Edition Presentation figures. With their high-quality presentation and limited numbers, Proof sets are often sought-after by collectors and generally speaking, Proof coins have a higher mark-up than Brilliant Uncirculated coins.
There is no right or wrong way to collect. It all depends on your motivations and preferences. If you are willing to pay the extra cost for coins that are more attractive and scarce, or you are looking for a coin gift for someone, then commemorative coins and sets could be the best option for you.