THE spare change in your pocket could add up to a fortune if you find you have a rare 50p in the mix.
Coins we find in general circulation can be worth hundreds more than their face value, and sellers on eBay are cashing in on that.
In general, the rarer the coin, the more valuable it is.
And if it’s scarce – which means it’s high in demand – its value could be pushed up even further.
Rare coins with errors can be worth thousands of pounds each too.
Experts at Changechecker.org have created a scarcity index that tracks circulating 50p coins.
The most recent update is from May showing that the Kew Gardens 50p piece once again tops the charts as the rarest and most sought after.
It’s stayed top of the leader board for years, sparking bidding wars amongst collectors on eBay desperate to get their hands on the coin.
Here’s a list of the top 10 rarest and most valuable coins according to Changechecker.org – including how much they could be worth.
This week The Sun put a list together of the rarest and most valuable Olympic 50ps you should keep an eye out for in your spare change.
Here, we’ve also rounded up which other coins you should keep an eye out for, and how to find out what it’s worth.
What are the top 10 rarest and most valuable 50p coins?
1. Kew Gardens – £707
The rare Kew Gardens 50p remains top of the charts in Changechecker.org’s scarcity index.
The 50p coin features the Chinese Pagoda at the famous London landmark and is one of the rarest coins out there because there’s so few of them.
Only 210,000 of them were released into circulation in 2009.
That’s far fewer than most coins – for example, there were nearly half a billion of the 1997 Britannia 50p put into circulation.
There was also a very rare gold proof version that sold for a whopping £2,751.00 on the site last month, and only 1,000 of these exist.
2. Olympics Football – £20
The Royal Mint struck a number of designs celebrating the London 2012 Olympics which featured on 50p coins.
Of all the coins created to commemorate the games, the 50p Football is among the rarest and features an explanation of the offside rule on it.
This year, the rare coin has been more in demand among collectors and has been pushed up Changechecker.org’s scarcity index.
There were just over one million put into circulation.
If you find one, it could be bought for £20 on eBay, like this one did.
3. Wrestling – £14
There were nearly 1.13million of these 50p Wrestling coins made in 2011 to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The coins picture two athletes wrestling in front of a crowd, with one being thrown to the ground.
These 50ps can go for much more than its face value, this one went for £14 on eBay recently.
4. Judo – £16
Over 1.16 million of these Judo coins were put into circulation in 2011 to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The coin shows two athletes locked in a judo fight, with one throwing their opponent to the floor.
If you find one in your spare change, it could be worth as much as £16 like this one was when it sold on eBay recently.
5. Triathlon – £15
This Triathlon 50p shows athletes doing the three sports which form the triathlon – swimming, cycling and running.
Only 1,163,500 were put into circulation in 2011 to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic Games.
You might want to check your pockets to see if you’ve picked one up.
We spotted one going for £15 on eBay in May.
6. Tennis – £6
This Olympics 50p coin shows a tennis ball flying over a tennis net.
Over 1.45million of these coins were put into circulation.
If you’re lucky enough to find one, you could fetch £6 for it – like this one which was sold on eBay earlier this month.
7. Pentathlon – £5
This coin shows athletes doing the five sports that make up the pentathlon – fencing, swimming, horse riding, shooting and running.
Over 1.68million of these coins were put into circulation.
They’re sold for as much as £5 on eBay.
8. Shooting – £6
Nearly 1.66million of these Shooting coins were put into circulation in 2011 in the run-up to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
An athlete in shooting gear – complete with an eye guard and ear muffs – is pictured on the coin.
Find one of these down the back of the sofa and you could get up to £6 for it, as one user sold theirs for £5.50 plus postage in April.
9. Goalball – £5
Just under 1.62million Goalball 50p coins were put into circulation in 2011.
The coins show a Goalball player, wearing eyeshades, in the middle of a game.
We spotted one of these coins being sold for £4.50 on eBay.
10. Sailing – £5
There were 1.75million of these Sailing coins put into circulation in 2011.
The coins was created to celebrate the London Olympics, and show three sailing boats racing each other.
We saw this one going for £4.70 recently.
How much are other 50p coins worth?
Many coins can be worth much more when sold on eBay as part of a collection.
Although sometimes you’ll get better individual prices if another collector needs your coin to complete their collection.
Most recently, a rare Olympics swimming 50p was sold for almost £1,000 in May, but other designs can sell for hundreds too.
Other coins sought after by collectors include the Beatrix Potter 50p coins.
But the original 2016 Peter Rabbit coin did once sell for up to £840 on the auction website.
If you’re looking to sell one today, you’d be lucky if you get that much.
Last month, a rare Blue Peter Olympic 50p was flogged on eBay for £205.
The coin shows an athlete doing the high jump and was drawn by nine-year-old Florence Jackson after winning a competition on the kids TV show.
Coins with mistakes tend to be among the highest values because of their extremely limited numbers.
A rare error coin from the 2012 Olympics set sold for £590 on eBay last August.
We’ve seen a similar coin listed that sold for over £10,000.
Newer versions that could be worth a mint too
You might think that old coins go for the most – but new ones can go for some big sums too.
In 2019, the Royal Mint re-released sets of five of the rarest and most popular 50ps to celebrate half a decade of the coin.
The new coins are made with old designs including Kew Gardens, Girl Guides and Scouts, but are stamped with the 2019 date which could make them super valuable among collectors.
An entirely new 50p coin came out in 2019 too, to celebrate Team GB.
You can buy it for roughly £4 currently but it’s value may increase in years to come.
What makes a coin more valuable?
Generally, collectors look at the mintage figures of a coin to assess its value.
Rather than just basing a coin’s value on the rarity, Changechecker.org looks at two other key pieces of information.
What do you do if you’ve got a rare coin?
FIRSTLY, you need to make sure the coin is legit and not counterfeit.
Around one in every four old £1 coins were thought to be fake, according to The Royal Mint, so there are probably more fakers in your spare change then you realise.
The Royal Mint is unable to value a coin but it can confirm whether it is real or not. They will usually supply you with a letter to confirm this.
Once you’ve found out whether the coin is real or not, you have a number of options – either selling it through a coin dealer, at auction or on eBay.
You can look at eBay’s recent sold prices to get an indicator of how much your coin usually goes for on the site.
This includes how many of each coin are listed as “collected” by members of the site, which indicates the relative ease of finding a particular coin.
The experts also track the number of times a design has been requested as a swap over the previous three months, showing the current level of collector demand.
While the index doesn’t necessarily correspond to value, it is an effective indicator.
The Sun has also published a £1 scarcity index, so you can find out the value of each of the 24 £1 coin designs.
How do I find out what my coin is worth?
If you’re lucky enough to pick up a rare coin in your spare change, it could go for hundreds of pounds depending on how rare it is.
You should check how much the coin is selling for on eBay.
Search the full name of the coin, select the “sold” listing and then toggle the search to “highest value”.
It will give you an idea of the amount of money that the coin is going for.
You can either choose to sell the coin on eBay or through a specialist such as ChangeChecker.org.
You can also use an online tool that gives you an estimate of how much it could be worth on eBay, as well as any other rare coins you have.
Coin Hunter gives you an estimated valuation of your coin based on the average of the most recent sales, as well as a range of how much you can expect it to fetch.
We have also previously shown you which error coins can bag you the most dosh, including the 2012 London Olympics Aquatics 50p coin.
Error coins are also high in demand among collectors, and this £2 with a minting mistake on it sold for £138.
A rare HG Wells £2 error coin could be worth up to £1,000 according to experts – here’s how to spot if you have one.
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