While rare 50p coins often have sky-high asking prices on eBay, that doesn’t mean you’ll actually get that much. We asked the experts what collectors will really pay for the most valuable 50p coins still in circulation.
There's a new rare 50p coin due to appear this year, and already coin collectors are rubbing their hands in anticipation.
The Representation of the People Act 1918 50p commemorates 100 years since women over 30 – as well as servicemen aged over 19 and all men over 21 – gained the right to vote.
Meanwhile, there's been a lot of talk over the last week about the new 2018 Sir Isaac Newton 50p (pictured above), which is only available from the Royal Mint Experience in person.
It's identical to the 2017 coin, apart from the date, and has been causing something of an eBay frenzy.
"They cost a few quid on the day, but as usual, people that probably should know better by now have been bidding like mad on eBay and prices have shot up while everyone tries to make money off them," says Christopher Perkins of the Check Your Change website.
"People that actually want one to keep are probably better off waiting a little while."
So how can you tell whether your 50p piece is actually worth more than its face value?
Don’t believe the hype
Be wary of both tabloid articles and asking prices online, says Luke Hearn of the Change Checker website.
Both can give a very over-inflated idea of what a coin is really worth.
"To be honest, there is a lot of misinformation written in the press regarding coins," he says.
"The first and most obvious example of this is when people list coins for a ridiculous amount on eBay when actually nobody is ever going to pay that much.
“I think the reason behind this is nothing more complicated than people chancing their arm on the off chance they may get lucky."
It's best, then, not to be too optimistic – and, if you're checking prices out on eBay, make sure you look at the prices coins have actually sold for, rather than the asking price.
What collectors are looking for
If you do find a rare coin, it'll need to be in good condition with little sign of wear and tear if you're to get any more than the face value.
Collectors are particularly keen on ‘Brilliant Uncirculated’ coins, which are made with a special superior finish.
However, it's still worth checking your change for 50p coins that were never intended for circulation but somehow have slipped out.
"This sometimes happens when some poor soul is robbed of their coin collection and the thieves simply break them out of their packaging and spend them," says Perkins.
"Some of these coins are valuable: for example, the 2011 Olympic Aquatics coin with extra lines on the swimmer's face, which was a design that was withdrawn, not adopted and shouldn't have seen the light of day.
“They are rarely offered for sale as they are rarely encountered. The withdrawn 50p in its original packaging is worth £1000-plus."
But it’s not all about the super-rare coins. There are many for more common 50p versions that are worth a few quid to collectors.
So if you've got a spare couple of minutes, you may want to fetch your purse or wallet right now.
Check Your Change has put together a list for loveMONEY of some of the 50p pieces in circulation that are genuinely worth more than their face value.
The 2009 Kew Gardens 50p: up to £70
The Kew Gardens 50p was released in 2009 to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the Royal Botanic Gardens. It's the rarest coin of any denomination currently in circulation, with only 210,000 ever issued.
The 2011 Olympic Football 50p: around £8
Of the 29 50p coins issued to mark the 2012 Olympics, the Football version is the most valuable.
The 2016 Puddle-Duck 50p: £6 – £8
The Jemima Puddle-Duck 50p is the rarest of the five coins in the Beatrix Potter series. Only 2.1 million are in circulation.
The 2011 Olympic Triathlon 50p: around £6
There are 2.18 million of these in circulation, depicting a runner, a cyclist and a swimmer.
The 2011 Olympic Judo 50p: around £6
With 1.16 million in circulation, this is one of the rarer Olympic coins.
The 2011 Olympic Wrestling 50p: around £5
Designed by Roderick Enriquez, this shows two wrestlers in action.
Other Olympic coins
In fact, all of the 2011-dated Olympic coins are harder to find now and can find buyers for between £1 and £2.
But, says Perkins, "Obviously if you take selling fees into account and the hassle of posting them, it's a lot of effort to make £1 or so!"
The 2003 Suffragette 50p: around £1.50
This is worth three times its face value.
The 2011 WWF 50p: around £1.50
Again, this 50p is only just about worth selling, once you've taken fees and postage into account.
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