Rare circulating 50p coins that could turn up in your change are now selling online for nearly £100 – some 200 times their face value.
The Kew Gardens 50p, minted in 2009, have long been sought after by collectors thanks to the rarity factor – a relatively small number of 210,000 coins were put into circulation.
This is far smaller than a run of any other circulating coin and as such, This is Money wrote back in September 2016 about how they frequently sold for £30-50 on marketplaces such as eBay in our round-up of valuable coins.
Popular: The Kew Gardens 50p coins are often selling for nearly £100 on eBay
However, fast forward to today, and the coin – featuring the iconic Kew Gardens pagoda – now sells for nearer the £100 mark, including an auction this week in which the coin sold for £91.
This is Money kept an eye on the bidding, which saw a late surge in people attempting to snap up the coin, with other active examples on the website showing bids on coins priced £70 or higher.
The frenzy over the coin is due to the fact that usually, when a new 50p is minted, more than five million are struck.
For example, there were 19million 50p coins minted in 2017 featuring Peter Rabbit as part of a four coin Beatrix Potter series.
Pagoda: The Kew Gardens 50p coin in all its glory
Even the Jemima Puddle-Duck 50p coins, which many collectors need and want to complete the set of the fictional characters as it is the rarest, had 2.1million minted – and usually sell online for less than £10.
The second rarest ‘new’ style 50p coin – one in the 2012 Olympics series featuring wrestling – had a run of more than a one million, highlighting just how low the Kew Gardens mintage figure is.
There are currently around 1billion 50p coins currently in circulation and this means the Kew Pagoda coins can be incredibly hard to spot.
The majority have already likely to have been snaffled out of circulation.
The coin shows the pagoda – which is currently undergoing restoration works at the popular gardens in South West London – encircled by a vine and accompanied by the dates ‘1759 and ‘2009’, with the word ‘Kew’ at the base of the pagoda and was designed by Christopher Le Brun.
Watch out for the fakes…
Counterfeit Kew Gardens 50p coins, sadly, are known to exist. Scammers have cottoned onto the fact that collectors are willing to pay top dollar for the coin.
In fact, one expert says that they can be easily purchased direct from a Chinese auction website, which could then end up on legitimate marketplaces.
With many sales of these coins happening online, it can be hard to spot the fakes as you cannot feel and intrinsically inspect the coin before committing.
How to spot a fake: The Fake Pound Coin Database has a handy list of signs to look out for when it comes to fraudulent Kew Gardens 50p coins
There are a number of ways to spot a fake. According to experts, one giveaway is the that eye of the Queen on the obverse usually does not look right on a fake.
It is also said that forged coins tend to be around 10 per cent lighter than the real thing, which should be eight grammes, while the diameter should be 27.3mm – and the fakes can also be smaller than this.
Website The Fake Coin Database has put together a handy checklist of some of the Kew Gardens fakes known to be out, with other tale-tale signs being the Queen’s hair being too straight and even the word ‘copy’ next to the initials of the designer.
If you believe you have bought a fake Kew Gardens 50p coin, get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
WW1 £2 COIN IS NOT RARE
Each day, This is Money is contacted by readers sending in photographs of their coins asking if they are rare and worth a pretty penny.
A large proportion of these are over Lord Kitchener £2 coins, minted in 2014. As we have pointed out before, the coins are not rare.
There were 5,720,000 minted, a high run for a £2 coin.
The Royal Mint has a section on its website which shows how many coins are in circulation.