The Rarest 50p Coins

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Few coins have captured the public’s imagination quite like the humble 50p coin. Its instantly recognisable shape makes it the ideal coin for commemorative designs that celebrate Britain’s most historic events. A select few of these superb coins have become some of the rarest 50p coins ever struck by The Royal Mint.

The famous 50p coin was introduced in 1969 as part of the new decimal series of coinage and displayed the traditional image of Britannia that represents the spirit of our nation. While its design was traditional, the shape of this new coin was revolutionary. The equilateral curve heptagon made it easily identifiable by sight and touch, and the constant breadth of the coin made it practical for use in modern society.


Due to the size and shape of this bold new coin, it was immediately used to introduce commemorative designs into circulation. In 1973, The Royal Mint produced a special edition to celebrate the United Kingdom’s accession to the European Economic Community. To honour the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings, the 1994 coin featured a stunning design by John Mills that depicted the Allied forces moving towards Normandy. Many stunning designs have excited the public and collectors, and the 50p continues to be the coin of choice for commemorative editions.

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It is not only the original reverse designs that make a special few 50p coins significant. A select few have incredibly low circulation numbers, making them extremely sought after. Let’s take a look at the rarest 50p coins produced by The Royal Mint.



9. Olympic Goalball 2011

1,615,500 Minted

To celebrate the London 2012 Olympic Games, The Royal Mint produced a series of coins that commemorated the third time the historic games had been held on British soil. Many of the sports on show in London and around the country were immortalised in a series of 29 designs. It proved a very popular collection with many people seeking out these iconic coins to complete their set.

The Royal Mint held a competition to design the coins that would make up this unique collection and the winning designer for the goalball coin was Jonathan Wren. The reverse features the distinctive arc of an athlete in mid-throw during the Paralympic Games. Many of the 2012 Olympics 50p pieces have a mintage below two million, but the 1,615,500 goalball coins produced make this one of the rarest 50p coins to date.



8. Olympic Tennis 2011

1,454,000 Minted

The Olympic tennis 50p coin took on greater significance when, weeks after losing the Wimbledon final to Roger Federer, Andy Murray secured Olympic gold for Team GB by beating Federer in the men’s singles Olympic final. Murray produced a sensational performance to win in straight sets and go down in British Olympic history. The beautiful coin has become a magnificent memento of a standout moment in British sport.

The coin was designed by competition winner Tracey Baines, a sculptor and jewellery designer from Peterborough. Her reverse design features the unmistakable image of a tennis ball sailing over a net. It is an elegantly simple design that captures the essence of this historic sport. The design’s fine details show off the movement of the net and the texture of a classic tennis ball.

The low mintage for this rare 50p makes it one of the most prized coins from the iconic 50p collection.


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7. Flopsy Bunny 2018

1,400,000 Minted

The Beatrix Potter coin collection was created in celebration of the beloved tales that have enchanted children since 1902. The quaint stories of the world’s most mischievous rabbit and his charming family were written and illustrated by Helen Beatrix Potter. They went on to become some of the bestselling children’s books of all time, with films and original stories still being produced to this day.

The collection of Peter Rabbit™-inspired coins proved incredibly popular when they were entered into circulation in 2018. They were designed by Emma Noble and drew inspiration from Potter’s original illustrations that accompanied the stories. The Flopsy Bunny coin is the first and only time Peter Rabbit’s sister has appeared on UK coinage. She takes centre stage on the reverse in her characteristic cape that will be familiar to all fans.

Only 1,400,000 coins were struck, making this one of the rarest 50p coins today.


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6. Peter Rabbit 2018

1,400,000 Minted

The star of the Beatrix Potter collection is undoubtedly Peter Rabbit™. He hopped onto British coinage in 2018 for another adventure that endeared the plucky rabbit and his family to the public once again. The collection saw Proof and Brilliant Uncirculated coins struck as well as the circulating coins you can find in your change today.

The rare Peter Rabbit 50p coin features the famous bunny munching on radishes after another near miss in Mr. McGregor’s garden. It was designed by The Royal Mint designer, Emma Noble, and the playful image brings Peter’s personality to life in all his mischievous glory. As an officially recognised product, endorsed by Frederick Warne & Co., the reverse of this beautiful coin boasts an unmistakable image from many people’s childhood.

Like the Flopsy Bunny coin, just 1,400,000 were struck, ensuring Peter sits alongside his sister as one of the rarest 50p coins ever produced in Britain.



5. Olympic Triathlon 2011

1,163,500 Minted

The third coin from the 2012 Olympic Games collection to make it onto the list of the rarest 50p coins features the Olympic triathlon. Its distinctive design was created by Sarah Harvey and depicts three figures in poses from the three events of the sport: running, swimming and cycling. Lines sweep across the coin to cleverly portray the water and track that the athletes compete in, and on.

The coin’s reverse is an energetic design that encapsulates everything about the historic games. Each aspect of the triathlon is on show with clearly defined motion in a fitting tribute to this endurance sport. The 2012 London Olympics logo presides over the action in celebration of this special occasion – one of only three times when Britain hosted the historic games.

Just 1,163,500 of these spectacular coins were struck in honour of the London Olympic Games, making it rare to find one in your change.



4. Olympic Judo 2011

1,161,500 Minted

Of the 29 Olympic 50p coins, few can compare to the judo coin in terms of action. It captures two athletes in mid-throw with exquisite detail. This incredible design was created by David Cornell who infused the scene with his personal experience. This shines through in little details like the wave of the judogi and the form of the competitors. It is one of the most detailed coins in the Olympic collection, giving the reverse a real sense of action in its accomplished portrayal.

Cornell has skilfully captured the movement of the throw and the effort of the opponents, further adding to the coin’s popularity. With only 1,161,500 coins struck, and many taken out of circulation for collections, this is one of the rarest UK 50p pieces.



3. Olympic Wrestling 2011

1,129,500 Minted

The wrestling coin is another piece in the Olympic 50p collection that immortalises an all-action sport. Its designer, Roderick Enriquez, created a futuristic look for a historic sport. It captures the moment a wrestler is thrown onto the mat in a modern stadium representation. Individual raised dots represent the watching crowd, and the purposely undersized mat emphasises the close-range nature of the bouts. The action silhouettes highlight the strength and technical skill involved in wrestling.

This design brings a respected, ancient sport into the modern world and only 1,129,500 coins entered circulation. This is the second rarest coin in the Olympic collection, and it is unlikely you will find it in your pocket today, but it remains one of the most collectable 50p pieces in circulation.



2. Olympic Football 2011

1,125,500 Minted

Football is the most popular sport in the world with over four billion players and fans across the world. The Olympic Games bring together emerging stars and the biggest names in the sport to compete for the pride of their nations, and the small matter of the gold, silver and bronze medals. The tournament lasts two weeks with teams representing 12 nations taking to the field to tackle, shoot and score their way to a podium place. The 2012 gold medal was won by Mexico.

The Olympic football coin was created by sports journalist, Neil Wolfson. Its unique design attempts to answer the question that has been asked since 1863: what is offside? The playful look depicts a classic football tactics board to demonstrate in an easy-to-understand way when a player would be considered on- and offside.

For football fans and collectors, this is a fabulous coin, but with just 1,125,500 minted for circulation, they are not easy to score.


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1. Kew Gardens 2009

210,000 Minted

The famous Kew Gardens 50p still holds its place as the rarest 50p coin in circulation today, 13 years after it was created. Its beautiful design celebrates the famous royal botanical garden with the iconic Chinese pagoda taking centre stage.

The renowned design was created by Christopher Le Brun RA and depicts decorative leafy vines climbing in and around the pagoda. This coin was an immediate favourite and many went straight into private collections, making them even rarer than the low mintage suggests. There was not a high demand for the 50p denomination in 2009 which was the main reason for the unusually low number of coins struck. A mintage of 210,000 is remarkably low, making this coin highly sought after almost as soon as it was created.

There was a re-mintage in 2019 that celebrated this recognisable design, but it is the original 2009 edition that holds its place as a rare and valuable coin. It is not uncommon for this fabulous 50p to sell for as much as £700 today, with numismatists desperate to add it to their collection.



An Extra Rare 50p

Mintage Unknown

There is one more extra-special 50p coin that gets collectors excited. The first design of the 2011 Olympic Games aquatics 50p is arguably the most highly prized 50p in existence.

The design was created by Jonathan Olliffe, and it depicts a swimmer in action with fluid lines struck into the metal representing the waves. In the rare first design, these lines covered the swimmer’s face. Soon after its release, the coin was tweaked to make the face more visible, but not before the first design made it out into the world.

One of the most exciting aspects of this special 50p is that no one knows exactly how many entered circulation before the changes were made, only that numbers are extremely limited. This is often the case with error coins, and they immediately become a collectable piece. Few have ever been sold and many take pride of place in private collections, but there’s always a chance this valuable coin could find its way to you.

Remarkably Rare: 50p Coin Edition

These are the rarest UK 50p coins for 2023, but with new editions being released every year, there is always a chance you could find something to treasure in your next handful of change. If you want to start your collection without relying on luck, our coin collections offer an excellent starting point for budding numismatists.

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