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Do you collect rare coins?

Coin collecting is an incredibly popular hobby – and one that could prove quite fruitful if you get some valuable pieces. Do you enjoy finding rare coins? Are you building a collection?

With the Royal Mint’s decision to release several new collections and its rise in popularity on social media, coin collecting has made its way into public consciousness more than ever before.

From 50p coins dedicated to Beatrix Potter characters, to 10 pence pieces celebrating everything from A-Z that’s archetypically British, and £2 coins commemorating the 2002 Commonwealth Games, there’s now a coin to mark many historical events and characters.

But how can you tell which ones are valuable, and which should you collect?


A coin’s mintage refers to the number of that particular coin that The Royal Mint released into circulation.

Revealed: the rare 50p coins worth more than £80

A low mintage means relatively few coins were ever made, instantly making the coin rarer than those where several million were produced.


Coins that are part of a set – such as the London 2012 Olympics or Beatrix Potter – are often more sought after, simply because coin collectors are looking to complete a full coin set.

Both the mintage and the collectability are taken into account in coin collecting site Changechecker’s scarcity index, which gives an indication of how valuable a coin might be.

Condition of the coin

Once coins have been in circulation for a long time, their appearance can deteriorate and – from a collector’s point of view – they can reduce in value.

If, for example, you have a pristine 20-year-old coin that has a high mintage, but very few are in good condition, the condition of your coin will make it rarer, and therefore it’s likely to be worth more.

So, if you have a rare coin that’s part of a collection, and it’s in good condition, it’s likely you’ll be able to sell it for more than its value.

With so many rare coins out there to find, collecting has become an increasing popular hobby.

Your stories

We’ve been featuring some of our readers’ collections on our Which? Money Facebook page, and one of our readers told us about their experiences:

‘I’ve been collecting 50ps and £2 coins for approximately eight years now,’ she says. ‘When the Olympic 50p coins came out I was ready for a challenge and decided to collect them.’

I eventually got a full set within six months, mainly collected from the change given at my sandwich shop, and then odd ones I swapped with people I knew, who were also collectors.’

Our reader also found that coin collecting is on the rise: ‘I have noticed a lot more people now have the same hobby as me, including some customers I have shared my passion with.’

If you want to start collecting yourself, our reader has some tips:

‘The main tips I have are to just save one of each rare coin that you find. I have made the mistake of having multiple swaps of different coins, and I can’t let them go back into circulation. That makes it a very expensive hobby!’

It’s worth noting that coins are really only worth what someone is willing to pay for them. We’ve previously carried out an investigation on the dark side of the coin investment craze, so do keep your wits about you.

Would you consider collecting rare coins to be one of your hobbies? What’s the most enjoyable part about it?


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Specially-produced gold coins are rarely worth the gold they are minted on so are unlikely to be good investments. This is all reminiscent of the craze for thematic postage stamps that were simply a way of a small country like Andorra getting a bit more income. The British largely abstained from this until, I think, the ’60s (was it?).

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I’ll turn your thumb over, duncan.

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I don’t collect coins as a hobby, though I have some old pre-decimal ones that are interesting to look back at. There are a three silver threepenny coins (not sure what happened to the fourth) and a few farthings that I was given as a child, several sovereigns and a half-sovereign. I have a few foreign coins from travels abroad including Japanese ones with holes, that might be useful as washers. My collection is stored in a Maxwell House coffee jar without a lid, dating from the sixties or seventies.

I remember the days of holes in my trouser pockets from carrying the weight of shillings and pence. Woolworths sold new iron-in pockets in those days. I liked the threepenny bits that would buy you a bag of chips.

I do collect money, but not as a hobby.

What about foreign coins? I have a tin full of foreign coins given to me when I was young (about 80 years ago!) and a lot of then were old then.

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I received one of the Battle of Hastings 50ps from a vending machine a few months back so I kept hold of it. A quick Google has revealed that it could be worth anything from 50p (obviously) to £5,000 (not so obvious).

Should I hit the jackpot on eBay with it I’ll buy everyone on Convo a round.

@gmartin Did you really mean “around” which might best limit your expenditure?

Ha, nope, I was just feeling that generous. I know Wavechange will have an ale, so you’ll have to let me know your tipple of choice, Malcolm.

On both subjects…. a Latvian coin featuring a mug of beer was accused of hidden alcohol advertising a few years back: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/latvia/8591994/Latvian-coin-featuring-beer-mug-amounts-to-hidden-alcohol-advertising.html

Others of us could join in George’s good fortune and buy up to 3 each from:
The Westminster Collection, a trading division of 288 Group Ltd
2016 UK Battle of Hastings Circulation 50p
Price £5.00 (+ £0.00 p&p)

and sell on ebay:

Rare 1066 Battle Of Hastings 50p Coin Collectable Collectables 2016
8 product ratings
5 viewed per hour
Seller information
the-universaltempleoflight (2514 )
100% Positive Feedback

That could provide a lot of rounds for those around.

@gmartin, thanks George, mine’s a large G&T with a slice of lime, please.

I’ve been collecting £1 old, £2 and 50p coins for some time now. I have to get them in my hand, I will not buy them. Pointless really. For a small sum I could easily buy every coin that I do not have… what do I do then?


Yesterday I made the decision to sell them all. I went to a Bric a Brac shop in Ramsbottom and there are hundreds of coins, some I have and many that I am looking for…

There has to be hundreds of this type of shop over the UK and even more stashes in people’s homes.

The mintage of my ‘collection’ are all in the millions…. hardly exclusive is it??

I will still look out for collectable coins in my change, but will not collect them anymore…

duncan says:
14 August 2020

Classic use of attractive but totally irrelevant illustrations? I try to collect gold sovereigns, so really liked the image… but was there *anything* here about sovereigns? >Sigh<