The Royal Mint has revealed some of the rarest coins to enter circulation during the reign of the late Queen Elizabeth II - and some are worth hundreds of pounds. Some of the most desirable coins include one released to mark the death of the monarch, who died in September 2022.
The Queen appeared on more UK coins than any other British monarch and approximately 27 billion coins bearing her likeness are still in active circulation. Other pieces to make the list include coins that mark events in her life such as the Platinum Jubilee and the opening of Kew Gardens along with 50 years of Pride.
The list from the Royal Mint was compiled in terms of how many coins were minted. The coins with the fewest in circulation are letters W, Y and Z from the A to Z 10p collection, with each being minted just 63,000 times.
The A to Z collection was released in 2018 and 2019 to celebrate “all things British”. A quick scan of Ebay reveals the letter W coin (for World Wide Web) has recently sold for £9.50 earlier this month, while the Y coin (for Yeoman) fetched £3.90 and the Z coin (for zebra crossing) sold for £12.99. While these may be the rarest coins in terms of circulation, it is the Kew Gardens 50p that collectors consider the most valuable.
The coin was launched in 2009 to mark 250 years since Kew Gardens opened in 1759, and there are only 210,000 in circulation. Coin Hunter says this coin usually sells for between £150 and £161, but there are examples of the piece switching hands on Ebay for over £240.
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. 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.”
Royal Mint’s full list of rarest coins
A-Z 10p Coins (2019) (Letters Y, W and Z) - 63,000 minted (each)
A-Z 10p Coins (2019) (Letter R) - 64,000 minted
A-Z 10p Coins (2019) (All other letters minted in 2019) - 84,000 minted (each)
UK EC Presidency 50p (1992/93) - 109,000 minted
Kew Gardens 50p (2009) - 210,000 minted
A-Z 10p Coins (2018) - 220,000 minted (each)
First World War (Navy) £2 Coin (2015) - 650,000 minted
Britannia £2 Coin (2015) - 650,000 minted
Britannia 50p Uncirculated Coin (1985) - 682,103 minted
Commonwealth Games £2 Coins (2002) - England: 650,500 minted, Scotland: 771,750 minted, Wales: 588,500 minted, Ireland: 485,500 minted
Olympic London to Rio Handover Ceremony £2 (2012) - 845,000 minted
London Olympic Games of 1908 £2 Coin (2008) - 910,000 minted
Olympic Handover London Beijing £2 Coin (2008) - 918,000 minted
King James Bible £2 Coin (2011) - 975,000 minted
Beatrix Potter 50p Coins (2018) - Peter Rabbit: 1,400,000 minted, Flopsy Bunny: 1,400,000 minted
London 2012 Olympic Games 50p Coins (2011) - Tennis: 1,454,000 minted, Goalball: 1,615,500 minted, Football (offside rule): 1,125,500 minted, Judo: 1,161,500 minted, Triathlon: 1,163,500 minted, Wrestling: 1,129,500 minted
Capital Cities Badges £1 Coins (2010/11) - Edinburgh: 935,000 minted, London: 2,635,000 minted, Cardiff: 1,615,000 minted
Royal Coat of Arms Round £1 Coin (2008) - 3,910,000 minted