Rarest QE2 circulation coins revealed


13 October 2023
The Royal Mint has revealed some of the rarest coins to enter circulation during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The list has been compiled after the 2022 figures were made available. Rare coins to look out for include the 2009 Kew gardens 50p and a selection of special alphabet 10p coins from 2018 and 2019.

Last year marked a new era for British coinage as the last coins bearing Queen Elizabeth II were struck, and the first coins featuring King Charles III entered circulation.

The Royal Mint has now announced the volume and variety of coins produced during this pivotal year, including special 50 pence pieces to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee, 50 years of Pride and to commemorate the passing of Britain’s longest serving monarch.

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Queen Elizabeth II appeared on more UK coins than any other British monarch, with approximately 27 billion coins still in active circulation. The nation’s most collectable coin is the 50p, and over 100 different designs have appeared on the 50p piece since its introduction. These included special designs for the Platinum Jubilee, the London 2012 Olympics and a series of characters from Beatrix Potter’s classic tales.

Mark Loveridge, director of UK currency at The Royal Mint said: ‘2022 marked one of the biggest changes in coinage since decimalisation as we moved from the reign of Queen Elizabeth II to King Charles III. The coinage of Queen Elizabeth II spanned 70 years and special designs issued into circulation celebrated some of the biggest events in history. Although the 2022 mintage figures mark the last time that Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait will appear on new coins, over 27 billion of her coins will remain in circulation.

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‘Coin collecting remains a popular hobby in the UK and the coins of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign are particularly coveted. By sharing the list of rare designs, we hope people will look closely at their coins – if they’re lucky they might find a piece of history.’

The rarest British coins

With a mintage of 63,000, the letters ‘W’, ‘Y’ and ‘Z’ from a 2019 A–Z set of 10p coins celebrating Britain have been declared the rarest circulating coins of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.

These are closely followed by the letter ‘R’ from the set, which had a mintage of 64,000. All other letters in the 2019 set of 10p values had a mintage of 84,000.

The rarest 50p coin based on circulation figures is the one issued in 1992 and 1993 to celebrate the UK’s presidency of the European Council of Ministers and the completion of the single market. Its mintage of 109,000 is the lowest circulation of all the 50p coins issued.

However, members of the public will not find the 1992 Single Market 50p in their change as these coins were removed following a requirement for a smaller version of the 50p.

The next rarest coin in circulation is the 2009 Kew Gardens 50p, which had a mintage of 210,000.